About the Postal Regulatory Commission
The Commission is an independent agency that has exercised regulatory
oversight over the Postal Service since its creation by the Postal Reorganization
Act of 1970. Initially, that oversight consisted primarily of conducting
public, on-the-record hearings concerning proposed rate, mail classification
or major service changes, and recommending decisions for action by the
The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act
on December 20, 2006, significantly strengthened the Commission's authority
to serve as a counterbalance to new flexibility granted to the Postal Service
in setting postal rates. The Act requires the Commission to develop and
maintain regulations for a modern system of rate regulation, consult
with the Postal Service on delivery service standards and performance
measures, consult with the Department of State on international postal policies,
prevent cross-subsidization or other anticompetitive postal practices,
promote transparency and accountability, and adjudicate complaints.
The law also assigns new and continuing oversight responsibilities to
the PRC, including annual determinations of Postal Service compliance
with applicable laws, development of accounting practices and procedures
for the Postal Service, review of the Universal Service requirement,
and assurance of transparency through periodic reports. New enforcement
tools include subpoena power, authority to direct the Postal Service
to adjust rates and to take other remedial actions, and levying fines
in cases of deliberate noncompliance with applicable postal laws.
The Commission is composed of five Commissioners, each of whom is appointed
by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for
a term of six years. A Commissioner may continue to serve after the expiration
of his or her term for up to one year or until a successor is confirmed.
No more than three members of the Commission may be from one political
Assisting the Commission is a staff with expertise in law, economics,
finance, statistics, and cost accounting. The Commission is organized
into four operating offices:
- Accountability and Compliance
- General Counsel
- Public Affairs and Government Relations
The Commission maintains an independent office for its Inspector General.
The Office of Accountability &
Compliance is responsible for technical analysis and formulation of policy recommendations
for the Commission in both domestic and international matters. It provides
the analytic support for Commission review of rate changes, negotiated
service agreements, classifications of new products, post office closings,
and other issues. The Office evaluates Postal Service accounting records,
financial reports, and other financial data to assess accuracy, completeness,
and conformance to reporting and procedural standards established by
the Commission. This includes reports filed pursuant to SEC rules and
procedures. The Office assists the Commission in its annual determinations
of compliance with service performance standards and the preparation
of the annual report to the President and Congress.
The Office of General Counsel
provides legal assistance
on matters involving the Commission's responsibilities, defends Commission
decisions before the courts, and manages the formal complaint process.
The Office of Public Affairs & Government Relations facilitates
prompt and responsive communications for the Commission with the public,
Congress and federal agencies, the Postal Service, and information media.
The Office of Secretary & Administration records the official actions
of the Commission; preserves Commission documents; maintains personnel
records; and provides other support services including managing the Commission's
library, docket room, and computers.
The Office of Inspector General conducts, supervises,
and coordinates audits and investigations relating to the programs and
operations of the Commission, and identifies and reports fraud and abuse
in Commission programs and operations.