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We recognize that there is some doubt whether the Commission has the legal authority to require the Postal Service to file periodic reports, since the Postal Reorganization Act does not explicitly grant this power. Congressional clarification is therefore desirable.

RECOMMENDATION TO THE CONGRESS

In order to enable the parties to obtain needed information easily and quickly, the Congress should amend the Postal Reorganization Act as follows.

SEC.

Title 39, United States Code, is amended by redesignating section 3604 as 3607 and by inserting immediately after section 3603 the following new section:

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"(a) The Postal Service shall file with the Postal
Rate Commission such annual and other periodic reports
or special reports as the Commission may by rules
and regulations prescribe as necessary or appropriate
to assist the Commission in the proper administration
of this chapter. The Commission may prescribe the
manner and form in which such reports shall be made,
and require from the Postal Service specific answers
to all questions upon which the Commission may
need information. Such reports shall be made under
oath unless the Commission otherwise specifies.

"(b) It shall be unlawful for any employee of, or
any person acting on behalf of, the Postal Service
willfully to hinder, delay or obstruct the making,
filing or keeping of any information, document,
report, memorandum, record, or account required to
be made, filed or kept under this section or any
rule or regulation thereunder.

" (c)
The Commission may investigate any facts, con-
ditions, practices, or matters which it may find
necessary or proper in order to determine whether
any person has violated or is about to violate any
provision of this section or any rule or regulation
thereunder.

"(a)
Whenever it shall appear to the Commission that
any person is engaged or about to engage in any acts
or practices which constitute or will constitute a

violation of the provisions of this section or of
any rule or regulation thereunder, it may in its
discretion bring an action in the proper district
court of the United States to enjoin such acts or
practices and to enforce compliance with this section
or any rule or regulation thereunder, and upon a proper
showing a permanent or temporary injunction or decree
or restraining order shall be granted without bond.
Further, upon application of the Commission, the
district courts of the United States shall have
jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus commanding
any person to comply with the provisions of this
section or any rule or regulation thereunder.

"(e) The District Courts of the United States shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all suits in equity and actions at law brought to enforce any liability or duty created by, or to enjoin any violation of, this section or any rule or regulation thereunder. Such suit or action may be brought in the district wherein any act or transaction constituting the violation occurred or in the district wherein the defendant is an inhabitant, and process in such cases may be serviced wherever the defendant may be found. Judgments and decrees so rendered shall be subject to review as provided in sections 1254 and 1291-1294 of Title 28."

POSTAL RATE COMMISSION COMMENTS

The Commission states that while it "strongly favors the GAO's conclusions with respect to periodic reporting legislation," it believes that "the authority to require such reporting already exists" in view of the Commission's general powers to "establish procedures *** and take any other action they deem necessary and proper to carry out their functions and obligations." (39 U.S.C. Section 3603.) While we respect this advocacy position of the Commission, we believe, and the Commission concurs, that its statutory outlines on this point should be further delineated. (See p. 41.)

POSTAL SERVICE COMMENTS

The Postal Service, in commenting on our report, stated that the Commission and the Postal Service have established a periodic reporting system through a rulemaking process and, therefore, no reason exists for legislative action.

The Service, however, believes that periodic reporting will not reduce the number of interrogatories and thereby shorten the hearing process. In addition, the Service stated that we should have made an attempt to evaluate the reasonableness and relevance of the data requests made by the Commission and the intervenors and the cost of developing such data.

As previously stated, we believe there is some doubt whether the Commission has the authority to require periodic reporting. In addition, the Postal Service while now cooperating with the Commission in establishing a periodic reporting system, has given no indication that it has reversed its position that the Commission does not have the jurisdiction to impose such a reporting system. Therefore the need to provide clear authority for periodic reporting exists.

With respect to reducing the number of interrogatories, we believe that it is logical to assume that basic ratemaking data, available for public inspection, separate and apart from any proceeding pending before the Commission would have the effect of reducing to some extent the number of interrogatories in a proceeding.

Concerning the relevancy and cost of data requests, the Postal Service can appeal to the courts in any case where it feels a request is unreasonable. We see no value, at this point, in our commenting on past requests where reasonableness and relevance was determined by the administrative law judge. (See p. 51.)

NEED FOR AUTHORITY TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS

Large numbers of interrogatories can be expected in each ratemaking proceeding particularly before the establishment of an effective periodic reporting system. In order that proceedings may be expeditiously concluded, it is essential that the parties promptly answer interrogatories--written questions--addressed to them. The interrogatories are part of the procedure called "discovery" whereby the parties are allowed to elicit information from each other, before the hearing begins as well as while it is going on, to assist them in preparing their own cases and rebutting the arguments of opposing parties. The present Commission rule regarding the failure of a party to comply with rules of discovery is inadequate.

We note that the Commission's Rules of Practice does provide in part that:

"Presiding officers shall have the authority,
within the Commission's powers and subject
to its published rules *** (3) To issue
subpoenas authorized by law; * *."
(Underscoring supplied.)

*

However, this is but a paraphrase of the authority given
a presiding officer under the Administrative Procedure
Act, and its delimiting provisions--"within the Commis-
sion's powers" and "authorized by law"--may effectively
preclude exercise of the power, since the Commission does
not have explicit statutory authority to issue subpoenas.

The Commission and the Service disagree as to the present existence of subpoenaing authority by the Commission. The importance of this issue in the presence of disagreement over what information the Commission can rightfully demand is obvious. is obvious. We believe that the Commission, like other regulatory agencies, should have such authority, regardless of whether its role is narrowly or broadly defined.

RECOMMENDATION TO THE CONGRESS

In order that all the information necessary for the Commission to make an equitable decision in its proceedings will be made available, the Congress should amend the Postal Reorganization Act by adding the following section to Title 39, U.S. Code:

"S 3605. Attendance of witnesses; production of
documents; subpoena.

"(a)
For the purpose of any investigation or any
other proceeding under this chapter, any member of
the Postal Rate Commission, or any officer designated
by it, is empowered to administer oaths and affirma-
tions, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance,
take evidence, and require the production of any books,
papers, correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements,
or other records which the Commission finds relevant
or material to the inquiry.

Such attendance of witnesses and the production of
any such records may be required from any place in
the United States or at any designated place of hearing.

"(b)
In cases of contumacy by, or refusal to obey
a subpoena to, any person, the Commission may invoke
the aid of any court of the United States within the

jurisdiction of which such investigation or proceeding
is carried on, or where such person resides or carries
on business, in requiring the attendance and testimony
of witnesses and the production of books, papers,
correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements,
and other records. Such court may issue an order
requiring such person to appear before the Commission
or member or officer designated by the Commission,
there to produce records, if so ordered, or to give
testimony touching the matter under investigation
or in question; and any failure to obey such order
of the court may be punished by such court as a
contempt thereof. All process in any such case may
be served in the judicial district whereof such person
is an inhabitant or wherever he may be found or may
be doing business. Any person who willfully shall
fail or refuse to attend and testify or to answer
any lawful inquiry or to produce books, papers,
correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements,
or other records, if in his or its power so to do,
in obedience to the subpoena of the Commission, shall
be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall
be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to
imprisonment for term of not more than one year, or

both.

"(c) The testimony of any witness may be taken
by deposition upon authorization by the Commission
or the presiding officer on application of any party
in any proceeding or investigation pending before
the Commission. Any person may be compelled to appear
and depose, and to produce documentary evidence, in
the same manner as witnesses may be compelled to appear
and testify and produce documentary evidence before
the Commission, as hereinbefore provided."

POSTAL RATE COMMISSION COMMENTS

A majority of the Commissioners endorse the proposal to provide specific subpoena power. Nevertheless, although the Commission agrees that the Postal Reorganization Act does not expressly confer authority on the Commission to issue subpoenas, it states that it "would expect to contend successfully for the enforcement of a subpoena on the grounds that its issuance was statutorily authorized both by the Act's general powers provision (39 U.S.C. Section 3603) and an expressed authorization (which arguably encompasses issuance of subpoenas), found in Section 3624 (b)(3) of the Act that 'the Commission may (without limitation) adopt rules which provide for * * * discovery both from the Postal

Service and the parties to the proceedings.'"

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