Report of

the Committee on House Administration
Task Force to Investigate
the Operation and Management
of the Office of the Postmaster
U.S. House of Representatives
July 21, 1992
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Task Force Report
Page i
Investigation Overview ....
1. Task Force Investigation .. 1
2. Obstacles to the Investigation . . 1
a. Relationship with the Department of Justice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
b. Unavailable Witnesses and Documents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
c. Unauthorized Disclosures of Task Force Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
3. Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
a. Capitol Police Investigation. . . 3
b. U.S. Postal Inspection Service. 4
c. Investigation by Committee on House Administration Democratic Staff. . . 5
d. Republican Involvement. 5
4. Management and Operation. 7
5. Alleged Improper Activities. 8
a. Drugs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
b. Embezzlement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
c. Misuse of the Postmaster's Frank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
d. The Postmaster's Express Mail Account. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
e. Check Cashing and Stamps for Cash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
f. Misuse of House Employees for Campaign Purposes. . . . . . . . . 10
g. Personal and Member Abuse of Post Office Resources. . . . . . . . 11
h. Capitol Police Criminal Investigation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Task Force Report
Page ii
Task Force Report ................... ............ ... . ..... 13
I. The Committee on House Administration Task Force Investigation . . . . . . . . . . 13
A. House Resolutions ................................... 13
B. Bipartisan Task Force Investigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Task Force is a departure from the normal structure of
congressional investigations in three ways: I) equal numbers of
Republicans and Democrats; 2) both the Chairman and Vice
Chairman have independent subpoena power; 3) a Republican
Member was designated as Vice Chairman of the Task Force
and conducted meetings of the Task Force in the absence of the
Chairman.
14
C. Relationship with the Department of Justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
D.
E.
Task Force counsel communicated with the Department of
Justice at the outset to attempt to ensure that the Task Force
inquiry did not interfere with the concurrent criminal
investigation.
1. Summary .
2. Discussion
Unavailable Witnesses. . ......... .
The unavailability of significant witnesses, including the
Postmaster, the Chief of Staff, and the Assistant Postmaster for
Accountability, severely impeded the completion of a thorough
investigation of management and operations and resolution of
serious allegations of improper conduct in the House Post
Office.
16
17
22
Unauthorized Disclosures of Task Force Information . . .... 23
Task Force staff were required to sign non-disclosure
statements. News media reported on Task Force activities
throughout investigation. Possible sources of media information
included Post Office employees, Task Force interviewees, and
individuals associated with DOJ investigation. As Task Force
began deliberations over contents of final report, certain
Members disclosed information in Task Force draft reports in
attempt to influence content of final report.
Task Force Report
Page iii
F. Documents ...................................... . 24
The Task Force reviewed extensive documents and records from
the House Post Office, the Capitol Police, the United States
Postal Service, the Office of Finance, and the Sergeant at Arms.
II. Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Responsibility for the demise of the Office of Postmaster, which has
been in existence for over 160 years, rests not only on Post Office
management but on a structure perpetuated by the House of
Representatives which emphasizes patronage and political favor over
the timely and efficient delivery of the mail,- a scheme off avoritism and
patronage contributed to the frustration of many capable House Post
Office employees.
A. The Office of the Postmaster ............................ 25
The Office of the Postmaster is not part of the U.S. Postal
Service, but was established to serve Members of Congress.
House Post Office operations are grouped in three functions: 1)
management, 2) stamp counter operations, and 3) mail sorting
and delivery.
1. Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
House Post Office management was more akin to a
feudal system than a modem business,· no consistent
system of oversight and accountability existed at any level
of management,- written operation policies or consistent
guidelines did not exist,- the absence of clear lines of
authority and responsibility contributed to the frustration
of many capable House Post Office employees.
2. Stamp Counter Operations .. ...... ..... .. . ... ... ... 27
No attempt was made to conform stamp counter
operations to USPS Regulations,- failure of oversight and
accountability· permitted the theft of Postal funds.
3. Mail Sorting and Deli very . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
The Postmaster attributed mail backlogs to substantially
overstated mail volume estimates when backlogs were
caused by ineffective use of personnel, absenteeism, and
lax work rules. Postmaster Rota's estimates of House
incoming mail volume dramatically exceeded Postal
Service counts.
Task Force Report
Page iv
B. Budget, Operations, Salaries ........................... . . 35
Accounting practices of the House of Representatives hinder
efforts to establish a budget for mail operations.
C. Reorganizations .................................... 39
Oversight staff urged the House Postmaster to "think big" in
Post Office reorganizations, ostensibly to conform the House
Post Office with Fair Labor Standards Act requirements, but the
result was significant salary increases for management, new
management positions for patronage appointees, and
overstaffing.
D. Personnel ........................................ 42
Postmaster had no authority to hire or fire patronage employees,·
of the 160 Post Office employees approved by the Democratic
Personnel Committee, two are Republican sponsored,-
inteiference by certain Members' offices prevented appropriate
personnel actions and led to inappropriate job assignments
including .functionally illiterate persons sorting mail and
individuals with no computers skills working as systems
operators; inability of management to take appropriate personnel
actions and political favoritism contributed to the frustration of
mJllD!. capable House Post Office employees.
l . Overtime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Substantial payments may have been made for overtime
hours that were not worked,- lack of complete accounting
information prevents a determination of actual overtime
costs and further investigation is necessary to determine
the extent of false or fraudulent use of overtime and
compensatory time by the House Post Office.
2. Ghost Employees ............................... 47
The Task Force investigated reports of House Post Office
employees who were paid for work not performed or time
they were not present.
E. Drug Allegations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Alleged illegal drug activity in the House Post Office is under
investigation by the Capitol Police and the DOJ.
Task Force Report
Page v
F. Special Post Office Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
1.
2.
Check Cashing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
House Post Office check cashing policy permitted cenain
Members, lobbyists, staff, and Post Office employees to
cash personal checks; personal checks were cashed but
not deposited for several weeks.
Post Office Box Service . . . . . . . . . . .
House Post Office couriers collected campaign mail from
Brentwood Post Office boxes for a number of Members
and others and delivered the mail to Congressional
offices.
48
. . 50
3. Passport Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Couriers provide service for foreign travel visas and U.S.
passpons to Members, staff, and constituents; couriers
provide transponation to and from the passpon office.
4. Transportation For Non-official Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Personal transponation was provided to some Members
and their staff, cenain former Members, and House Post
Office staff in Post Office vehicles.
5. Employees Use In Member's Offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
House Post Office employees were used to answer phones
and assist in some Members' personal offices.
6. Postmaster's Frank .............................. 55
Use of the Postmaster's frank dropped significantly after
the Acting Postmaster was appointed; Postmaster Rota
mailed non-official mail and permitted the use of his
frank by some Members.
7. Orange Bags, D-DOP Bags ..... . ........ . ..... . .... 62
A House Post Office service for the direct delivery of
mail to Members' district offices.
8. Flower Fund ............................... ... 62
Profits from soft drink vending machines in the House
Post Office, $50 to $80 per month, used to send flowers
to employees who were ill or had a death in their family,
and for other purposes.
III.
Task Force Report
Page vi
9. State Department Telex .................... . ..... . 63
The House Post Office receives over 200 State
Depanment telexes each day for delivery on the Hill and
to Members' district offices.
10. Express Mail Account (P-300) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
A USPS &press Mail account used by Postmaster Rota
for non-official mail,· Postmaster's Ex.press Mail P-300
account was used by some Members, staff, and Officers
of the House.
11. Stamps For Cash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
A lack of standard procedures and failure to follow USPS
Regulations may have pennitted some Members' personal
and campaign offices to convert official funds to personal
use by exchanging stamps for cash.
12. Post Office Security ........ . .................... 66
The lack of a consistent policy for handling complaints
and incidents created security problems.
Other Investigations . .. . ... .. . . .. 66
A. United States Capitol Police ...................... . ... .. . 66
The Capitol Police investigation and how their role was limited.
B. United States Postal Inspection Service ..... . ........ . .... . . . 76
The USPIS interviews, involvement, and their complete audit of
the House Post Office in July, 1991.
C. Committee On House Administration Democratic Staff ......... .. . 78
After allegations of House Post Office shortages appeared in the
press, Democratic House Administration staff conducted a
review of the House Post Office.
IV. Acting Postmaster's Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Michael J. Shinay, &ecutive Assistant to the Postmaster General of the
United States Postal Service was assigned to the House Post Office
under the "&ecutive on loan" program of the USPS and sworn in on
March 31, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page vii
V. Franked Mail Accountability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
The Committee on House Administration adopted revised Regulations
for the Official Mail Allowance, effective April 1, 1992, which require
the Office of the Postmaster to account for House of Representatives
franked mail collected by the House Postmaster.
VI. Recommendations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
A. Future Policy and Action by the Acting Postmaster. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
B. Audits and Monitoring .......................... . .. ... . 91
c. Employee Hiring. . ...... . .. . . . ...... 92
D. Other Recommendations . . . . . .. . . .... . . 93
VII. Appendix and Exhibit Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Documents relating to the Task Force investigation and supponing the
Task Force Repon of the Operations and Management of the Office of
Postmaster.
Investigation Overview
1. Task Force Investigation
Task Force Report
Page 1
House Resolution 340, adopted by the House of Representatives on February 5, 1992,
directed the Committee on House Administration to conduct an investigation of "the
operations and management of the House Post Office" and to report to the full House no
later than May 30, 1992.
This resolution, introduced by the Democrats, was adopted by a 253-162 vote and
preceded a Republican attempt to introduce a privileged motion calling for an "independent
investigation" of the House Post Office.
Following adoption of H.Res. 340, a six-member Task Force was created to conduct
the investigation. It was composed of Rep. Charlie Rose, House Administration Committee
Chairman, who appointed himself Task Force Chairman, Rep. Al Swift and Rep. Mary Rose
Oakar as the Democratic members, and Rep. Pat Roberts, who was appointed Task Force
Vice Chairman by Ranking Republican Member Bill Thomas, Rep. Bill Thomas and Rep.
Bill Barrett as the Republican members. .'Juring the course of the Investigation, Rep. Gerald
Kleczka replaced Rep. Oakar.
On April 9, the House approved H.Res. 430 reaffirming the need for a House Post
Office investigation and condemning any interference to its progress. This followed a
privileged motion requiring the Chairman and Vice Chairman to report to the House and
explain actions by the Democratic committee staff to suspend the investigation and deny
access to the room being used by the Task Force for interviews.
On May 28, 1992, the House approved a request by Chairman Rose and Vice
Chairman Roberts that the Task Force be given until July 6 to conduct remaining interviews
and file its report.
2. Obstacles to the Investigation
a. Relationship with the Department of Justice.
The Task Force made it clear from the outset that the objective was to conduct an
investigation complimentary to the concurrent criminal investigation by the Department of
Justice ("DOJ") and the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and in no
way interfere with that investigation.
However, the Task Force faced immediate and lasting barriers from the DOJ.
Despite the stated legislative intent to conduct an inquiry of the House Post Office and its
own personnel, the Task Force was prevented from conducting a full and complete
investigation because of DOJ actions.
b. Unavailable Witnesses and Documents.
Task Force Report
Page 2
The Task Force conducted more than 61 interviews of House Post Office and House
employees (some more than once), 34 under oath.
However, three of the four top officials in the House Post Office, who were
directly in charge of management and operations and who had direct and specific
knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing, were not available to be interviewed under oath.
The Task Force conducted informal interviews with Postmaster Robert Rota and with
James Smith, Assistant Postmaster for Accountability (stamp counter operations). However,
attorneys for each stated to the Task Force that Mr. Rota and Mr. Smith would assert their
right against self-incrimination if recalled to testify under oath to clear up discrepancies.
Joanna O'Rourke, as the Chief of Staff of the House Post Office, ran the office on a
day-to-day basis and had information that was not otherwise available to the Task Force
regarding such matters as overtime, check-cashing, personnel practices and House Post
Office employees providing a campaign contribution pickup service at the Brentwood Post
Office boxes. Ms. O'Rourke asserted her right against self-incrimination and declined to
testify.
Republican members of the Task Force introduced a resolution to grant Ms.
O'Rourke "use" immunity, which would have permitted her to testify before the Task Force
without threatening the DOJ inquiry. The resolution failed to pass the Committee on House
Administration on a party line vote of 12 Democrats to 4 Republicans.
Dorothea "Niki" Risenhoover, former chief of the Longworth station, also asserted
her right against self-incrimination. The Task Force did not attempt to interview the four
stamp counter clerks who were indicted for embezzlement, because of their status and
because there was little information which they could provide beyond the statements which
they made to the Postal Inspectors in 1991.
Efforts by the Counsel to the Clerk of the House and the Democratic leadership led to
the replacement of the Capitol Police as the lead investigative agency. Capitol Police
officers later became investigators for the Grand Jury and signed secrecy documents
precluding the Task Force from talking to the very officers who knew the most about the
problems at the Post Office.
Key U.S. Postal Inspectors also signed Grand Jury secrecy agreements at the direction
of the DOJ and were unavailable to the Task Force. Similar difficulties and time delays with
official House records barred the Task Force from key documents.
c. Unauthorized Disclosures of Task Force Information
Task Force Report
Page 3
The Task Force agreed at its organizational meeting that all information of the
investigation must be kept confidential until the Task Force filed its report. Toward this end,
each staff member was required to agree in writing to keep such information confidential.
The investigation was plagued by continuous "leaks" to the news media and
speculation by the media on the activities of the Task Force. Charges and counter-charges
became a daily routine, despite the fact that press revelations had initially prompted the Task
Force investigation. Indeed, many of the news stories were the basis of the questions that
led to further inquiry.
Providing fodder for the nine-month scandal reported with great frequency in the
press may have been individuals from among: 1) the 160 Post Office employees who were
aware of occurrences in the facility; 2) the over 60 Task Force witnesses and their various
attorneys; or 3) the on-going criminal investigation by the DOJ. Despite these various
sources of information, both sides accused the other as the source of leaks, even though each
Task Force staff member signed a non-disclosure agreement which prohibited staff from
making disclosures of Task Force information to any person not part of the Task Force
investigation.
In addition to "leaks" to the new media, unauthorized disclosures of Task Force
information regarding the contents of preliminary draft reports were used by certain
Members of the Task Force in an attempt to pressure other Members of the Task Force into
adopting a position that the Task Force would not include Members' names in the Task
Force report.
When the Task Force was appointed and adopted its rules, the staff non-disclosure
agreement was adopted with the understanding that selective leaks to the news media could
interfere with the trust and confidence required of both sides for a truly bipartisan
investigation to succeed. The Task Force did not include Members under the non-disclosure
agreement and did not foresee that some Task Force Members would take preliminary draft
report information outside of the Task Force and create pressure on other Task Force
Members in an attempt to influence the content of the final Task Force report.
3. Background
a. Capitol Police Investigation.
On April 26, 1991, the Capitol Police were alerted of a potential theft in the House
Post Office by the House Deputy Postmaster, Nancy Collins, who also informed the U.S.
Postal Inspection Service.
Capitol Police Captain Mack Kennedy, Commander of the Criminal Investigation
Division, immediately went to the Postmaster's Office in the Longworth Building and was
Task Force Report
Page 4
briefed by Postmaster Rota, Chief of Staff Joanna O'Rourke, Assistant Postmaster for
Accountability James Smith and Deputy Postmaster Nancy Collins.
The disappearance of a stamp counter employee and missing cash, stamps and money
orders led to a criminal investigation, notification of the DOJ by the Capitol Police, an
interview with the employee upon his return, an audit of the House Post Office stamp
counters and proposed interviews with House Post Office employees.
From June 6 to July 10, there were serious and basic disagreements among Captain
Mack Kennedy, Chief Frank Kerrigan, Clerk's Counsel Steven Ross, Sergeant at Arms Jack
Russ, Postmaster Robert Rota and their respective assistants regarding the availability of the
results of the Capitol Police audit, and whether the Capitol Police would continue as the lead
investigative agency or turn the investigation over to Postal Inspectors.
Chief Kerrigan and Captain Kennedy have alleged their investigation was slowed and
impaired and that critical time was lost to prove potential embezzlement and other criminal
activity.
Capitol Police officers remain active in the DOJ's activities; two officers were
designated investigators for the U.S. Attorney and the Grand Jury.
b. U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has responsibility for criminal investigations and
audits within the Postal Service. Inspector John E. Elder was the designated liaison inspector
for the House Post Office. The Task Force was unable to question Inspector Elder, because
of his designation as a Grand Jury investigator.
Prior to the events that led to the creation of the Task Force, the Washington, D.C.
Post Office made little or no effort to make their annual audits on an unannounced basis.
The House Post Office stations were audited in sequence, rather than simultaneously. A
review of audits performed during 1989 and 1990 reflect findings of shortages in excess of
tolerance on four occasions, none of which were referred to the U.S. Postal Inspection
Service.
Significant shortages aggregating almost $20,000 was discovered in the stamp
accountability by the initial Capitol Police audit on May 29. The findings were presented to
the U.S. Attorney, but were not made available to Postmaster Rota. Ultimately, House
Democratic leadership sought to have the Postal Inspectors take over the investigation and
conduct an audit. The Postal Inspectors conducted a complete audit of the five House Post
Office units on July 9, 1991, some six weeks after the May 29 initial Capitol Police audit.
The audit by the Postal Inspectors showed a net shortage of $33,560.07. Possible
violations of Federal law were presented to the U.S. Attorney and a federal Grand Jury. The
Task Force Report
Page 5
Postmaster received the results of the audit, including management recommendations, on
September 23.
From July 9 to late December, House Democratic leadership and Postmaster Rota and
his staff continued to work with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to document the basis for
the cash shortages found in the July 9 audit, to interview staff, seek repayment of missing
funds and, finally, in December terminate four employees.
c. Investigation by Committee on House Administration Democratic Staff.
On January 27, 1992, Heidi Pender, Special Counsel to House Administration
Committee Chairman Charlie Rose, initiated a review of the House Post Office in light of
multiple allegations appearing in the news media. The review of the Post Office operations
was chaired by Rep. Mary Rose Oakar. The Democratic staff interviewed 28 individuals
involved in operations and management.
Based upon statements made when briefing House Administration Republican staff on
March 5, 1992, the Democratic staff concluded that wrongdoing occurred in the House Post
Office. No formal recommendations or conclusions were produced for Committee action
The Democratic staff concluded its investigation just before the House adopted H.Res. 340.
Some information obtained from the Democratic investigation was conveyed to the
Republican staff in the March 5 oral briefing. Typed summaries of some of the Democratic
staff interview notes were made available to Republican staff on April 1, 1992.
d. Republican Involvement.
Although major criminal activity was suspected in the House Post Office as early as
April, 1991 and substantial information in regard to this activity and other wrongdoing was
learned throughout May and June of that year, House Republicans, from the subcommittee
level to the leadership, were not informed in a timely fashion.
Information regarding an undisclosed Capitol Police investigation, an institutional
struggle regarding the separation of powers, the secret taping of Democratic officials, the
embezzlement of thousands of dollars, drug use and sales, the unorthodox firing of House
Post Office employees and attempts to reconcile and regain missing funds was never
disclosed. Deputy Postmaster Collins formally briefed a senior Democratic staff member
about these matters on November 1, but none of this information was passed on to
Republicans. Finally, news reports in late January, 1992, containing multiple allegations of
wrongdoing, prompted the Democratic leadership to begin its own effort to investigate the
House Post Office. This review by the Democratic staff lasted several days and resulted in a
number of interviews, but ended without any formal findings or recommendations being
presented.
Task Force Report
Page 6
Finally, after learning of the Postal Inspection Service audit from Postmaster Rota's
testimony before the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations on January 23, the
Republican leadership demanded a meeting with the Postal Inspection Service. Following
this briefing, the Republican leadership went to the House floor to demand the appointment
of an independent counsel to review the audit and alleged wrongdoing.
The Republican request was circumvented by the Democratic leadership by offering
and adopting on a partisan vote, H.Res. 340, directing the House Administration Committee
to conduct a "bipartisan" investigation.
After four weeks, the Republicans were finally briefed orally by the Democrats on the
information they had already obtained prior to the adoption of H.Res. 340. Limited
Democratic staff interview notes and other pertinent documentation was provided.
The environment in which the investigation operated became highly partisan and
confrontational between legal staffs. Members intervened to resolve basic, fundamental
operating issues such as room availability and access to the prior Democratic investigation
notes. At one point, the Chairman actually suspended the investigation and was in the
process of attempting to evacuate the hearing room and change the locks.
This incident led to a debate on the House floor and the House passing a resolution
(H.Res. 430) reiterating the need for the investigation to proceed without further
impediments.
During the interviews, the Democratic side participated in a secondary way.
Republican staff carried the burden of scheduling witnesses and conducting the questioning.
While the schedule of Members precluded regular attendance during the questioning of
witnesses, it should be noted that Republican Members were in attendance for most of the
key witnesses. All Members were represented by staff.
The Task Force made every effort to limit the investigation to specific allegations of
wrongdoing by the witnesses. Preliminary interviews by the majority and Task Force
interviews indicated that there were allegations that contained potential for a conflict of
interest regarding Rep. Mary Rose Oakar. Although Rep. Oakar left the Task Force, the
Democratic staff retained an Oakar staff member as part of the investigative team.
Chairman Rose sought in writing to call Republican staff to appear before the Task
Force, including top staff members in Republican Leader Michel's office and minority staff
to the Subcommittee on Personnel and Police. When Vice Chairman Roberts and Rep.
Thomas pointed out that no minority staff had been mentioned in either the earlier
Democratic staff or ongoing Task Force interviews in regard to the specific charges of wrong
doing, Chairman Rose withdrew the request, even though Republican Members were willing
to allow these interviews to go forward.
4. Management and Operation.
Task Force Report
Page 7
The investigation found a Post Office in disarray. The Post Office followed few of
the standard procedures of the USPS. Management in the House Post Office was incapable
of carrying out the responsibilities and tasks assigned.
The Acting Postmaster, Michael Shinay, stated he found conditions chaotic, the
offices cluttered and in disorder, a "bunker mentality" among otherwise hardworking
employees, as well as a lack of management control and no written procedures to guide day-
to-day activities. Mr. Shinay found there was little sense of responsibility with respect to
daily work time and attendance and that many office positions allotted had insufficient duties
to justify a full time assignment. Other positions were found to be assigned to activities only
indirectly related to normal Post Office responsibilities, such as the telex and visa services.
In 1972, the annual payroll cost of the House Post Office was approximately
$911,000. By 1991, the cost had risen to $3,920,655, a 400% increase. These staff
expansions were attributed to increased incoming mail that increased the workload.
However, there are major discrepancies between the House Post Office estimates of mail
volume and USPS mail counts.
Based upon Postmaster Rota's records, the incoming mail volume skyrocketed
from 52 million pieces in 1977 to 225 million in 1985. However, mail volume records
from the USPS show Mr. Rota's overcount was 160 million in 1985. His overcount of
the incoming mail to the House from 1985 through 1991 was in most cases in excess of
100 million pieces of mail per year. In just one year, the Postmaster's count was 350
percent of the actual USPS mail count.
These huge discrepancies underscore the fact that mail volume reports were used in
part to justify an increasing patronage employment system. It also underscores the
Postmaster's dilemma. The House Post Office was in such bad shape in terms of
productivity, absenteeism, incompetence, employee morale, and politicization that Mr. Rota
had to more than double the mail count in order to justify enough extra and temporary
employees to keep up with the actual mail flow.
In 1990, a plan to reorganize the House Post Office was submitted to the House
Administration Subcommittee on Police and Personnel. The original proposal would have
cost $1,246, 102 and would have created 55 additional positions in the Post Office. The plan
was considered in two stages and the subcommittee cut the proposal by 57 percent to
$546,096 and reduced the number of new positions from 55 to nine.
No one exercised institutional oversight over the Post Office. In regard to policy,
operations and favors for Members, it appears that Postmaster Rota did exactly what certain
Members asked him to do and clearly believed he was doing what was expected of him.
Task Force Report
Page 8
Numerous interviewees, including Postmaster Rota, testified to major difficulties with
the way employees were hired, disciplined, suspended or terminated. For example, a House
Post Office employee, on several occasions exhibited bizarre behavior that included
disrobing. Yet, it was his supervisor who was reprimanded because she took action to stop
the disruption.
Postmaster Rota and his staff had virtually no authority to hire or fire patronage
employees. Instead, he was directed by the Democratic Patronage Committee in job
assignments, promotions and disciplinary actions.
Of the 160 full time House Post Office employees, two have been identified as
Republican appointments. As positions became open in the House Post Office or positions
were mandated, the Postmaster would await word from the Democratic Personnel Committee
on the individual to be appointed. Individuals were assigned these positions, not based upon
their experience or qualifications, but on the Member's request. Some employees appointed
were illiterate and incapable of carrying out assigned tasks, leaving work to be done by other
employees, thereby adding to the need for more employees.
Simply stated, the more powerful the patron or sponsor of the individual, the less
control Postmaster Rota or others would have over the employee. This inability to appoint
qualified and competent individuals led to a lack of professionalism, inefficiency,
incompetency, abuse and absenteeism.
Substantial payments of overtime for time not worked were made, with individuals
able to certify overtime (including their own) without supervision. A few employees were
consistently absent from the House Post Office during working hours and two were
consistently identified as being "no show" or "ghost" employees.
Employees felt strongly that there were major racial tensions in the House Post
Office, with black employees stating they were overlooked for promotion or advancement.
Other witnesses testified to unsafe working conditions including harassment, threats, verbal
abuse and fighting.
5. Alleged Improper Activities.
a. Drugs.
Alleged illegal drug activity is under investigation by the DOJ and the Capitol Police.
As of the date of this report, two former Post Office employees have been indicted for drug
related offenses and each has entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney.
However, the Task Force determined there was little, if any, implementation of
current Capitol Hill drug policy or any program of education and rehabilitation. Witnesses
complained about lack of response to reported drug use and drug paraphernalia. Complaints
by two female employees, who received direct threats of physical harm to them and their
Task Force Report
Page 9
families as a result of reporting alleged drug use and sales, were ignored. This matter was
not resolved until the complaints were brought to the attention of the Task Force.
b. Embezzlement.
The theft of government property and embezzlement of funds is under investigation
by the U.S. Attorney. Four Post Office employees have been indicted and have entered into
plea agreements relating to the theft of nearly $34,000. The lack of management controls,
including the retention of excess cash and an ineffective audit policy, led to these crimes.
c. Misuse of the Postmaster's Frank.
Many allegations have been made regarding the alleged use of the Postmaster's frank
for non-official mailings. The Acting Postmaster's record of use of the Postmaster's frank
reveals a dramatic difference in comparison with Mr. Rota's. Acting Postmaster Shinay's
franking use has averaged approximately $500 per month for State Department Telexes. Mr.
Rota's franking costs averaged close to $4,000 a month.
Both Joanna O'Rourke, Chief of Staff, and Nancy Collins, Deputy Postmaster, stated
in their first interview with House Administration Committee Democratic staff that they knew
some Member's mail went out under the Postmaster's frank. Corroborating records were not
available and the Task Force did not have access to Ms. O'Rourke or Mr. Rota under oath.
Copies of the internal correspondence of the Hill, including Republican legislative
"Dear Colleague" letters, were sent to Democratic leadership and a select group of lobbyists
throughout the city. Congressional Records, Federal Registers, congressional calendars,
newspapers, magazines and other highly in-demand publications were mailed to this group
under the frank, as well as being distributed to House offices, at no cost to the senders or the
recipients.
d. The Postmaster's Express Mail Account.
An Express Mail Federal agency account was established for Congress in 1978.
Identified as P-300 for the House, the account was closely controlled by Postmaster Rota
with approved mailings restricted to relatively few Members and House Officers.
Testimony indicated that the P-300 account was used for personal matters. A review
of Express Mail forms between 1989 and 1990 shows a number of Members and House
Officers made use of the P-300 account. In addition to Express Mail originating in
Washington, USPS records indicate widespread use at the congressional district level.
The USPS reported that for the third fiscal quarter of 1990, approximately $2,000
was spent from the P-300 account. The USPS reported that for the fourth fiscal quarter, the
quarter just prior to the 1990 election, approximately $37,000 was spent.
e. Check Cashing and Stamps for Cash.
Task Force Report
Page 10
The failure of the Postmaster to remit all Postal funds on a daily basis and the
improper requisition of stamps permitted the accumulation of excess cash available for check
cashing at the House Post Office.
The total accountability on July 9, 1991 was $442,812.92 and of that amount,
$47,299.56 was in cash, despite USPS regulations forbidding cash retention of more than
$100. Approximately $29,000 in cash was in the office of James Smith, the Assistant
Postmaster for Accountability. This contrasts with a USPS recommended total House Post
Office accountability of $195,000.
Witnesses described Mr. Smith's office as littered with stamps and money. Stamps
and cash were kept in desk drawers, on the desk and even on the floor as well as in the safe.
An internal audit found a shortage of between $1,000 and $5,000 but there is no
record of this shortage having been reported to the Postmaster or outside Postal authorities.
Due to the lack of a standard or understood policy, check acceptance and cashing
practices varied among counter clerks. Personal checks, campaign committee checks, cash
and vouchers were accepted as payment for Postal charges and services as long as the
individual had a House identification card. The Task Force also received testimony that
personal checks and payroll checks were being cashed. Numerous House Post Office
employees stated they had received cash for personal or payroll checks from the counter
clerks.
There would appear to be no practical way to determine from existing records which
checks were used to purchase stamps as opposed to being negotiated for cash.
Witnesses stated some Members of Congress, certain former Members, lobbyists, and
personal friends of Postmaster Rota used the House Post Office as a "personal bank". All of
these alleged transactions were approved by Mr. Rota, Ms. O'Rourke or Mr. Smith behind
closed doors. Since the Task Force did not have access to any of the above named
individuals under oath, the allegations could not be verified.
There have been various reports of stamps being exchanged for cash to Members and
others by Post Office personnel. This matter is the subject of a continuing Grand Jury
investigation.
f. Misuse of House Employees for Campaign Purposes.
The House Post Office set up and serviced Post Office boxes for the campaign
committees of certain Members of Congress at the Brentwood U.S. Post _Office facility. The
Postmaster would assist the Members in setting up the boxes and the passport couriers would
regularly pick up the mail and bring it back to the House, bypassing security scanners. The
mail was then delivered to the Member's offices.
Task Force Report
Page 11
The boxes are a concern when House employees are utilized to service campaign
collection and distribution.
The Task Force was unable to determine the total number of boxes serviced by the
House Post Office. Mr. Rota estimated as many as 25 boxes could have existed. The
couriers had direct knowledge of boxes maintained for: Rep. Nicholas Mavroules, Rep.
Dennis Hertel, Rep. Jim Moody, Rep. Mary Rose Oakar, and Rep. Edward Feighan.
In addition to the above, records and correspondence from the House Post Office
show courier service for: Rep. Jan Meyers and former Members Fernand St. Germain,
Samuel Stratton, and Mario Biaggi; the American Leaders Fund (a leadership PAC controlled
by Rep. Dan Rostenkowski); and two individuals, Ralph Welch and Bob Hamilton.
g. Personal and Member Abuse of Post Office Resources.
Witnesses stated that Post Office vehicles were used for non-official business. The
vehicles were reported to have been used to drive Members, former Members, and lobbyists
to the airport. Couriers stated they were often asked to drop off packages at various
destinations in the city. While a log of miles, departures, destinations and arrivals was
allegedly kept, the only log book obtained by the Task Force contained a record of mileage
only from Nov. 25, 1991 to May 23, 1992 and did not record destinations.
Several employees stated that the Director of Transportation, Jerry Carter, also acted
as Mr. Rota's personal driver and that other drivers drove special errands at Mr. Rota's
request.
House Post Office personnel were sometimes directed by supervisors to perform
"favors" for various Member offices. The Task Force received reports that employees were
asked to answer telephones during staff parties and fund-raising receptions. In certain
instances, calendars were reportedly sent to the Post Office to be stamped with the Member's
signature by House Post Office employees. These calendars allegedly were sent to the
Member's congressional district under the Postmaster's frank.
Witnesses testified that certain lobbyists had access to parking spaces in underground
garage space allotted to Members and staff. Mr. Rota had 10 spaces allotted, of which 7
were listed as "vacant". Employees stated lobbyists and former Members were helped in
regard to personal transportation and obtaining tickets for air and train travel.
House Post Office Chief of Staff, Joanna O'Rourke, maintained a "flower fund"
containing profits from a Post Office vending machine. The vending machine or "flower
fund" was used to send flowers when an employee had a death in the family.
According to early interviews conducted by House Administration Democratic Staff,
O'Rourke kept the cash for the fund in her desk. Later an account was opened at the
Congressional Credit Union in her name.
h. Capitol Police Criminal Investigation.
Task Force Report
Page 12
There are conflicting statements and allegations regarding the specific roles played by
the Capitol Police, House Post Office staff, the Counsel to the Clerk, Capitol Police
Attorney, Sergeant at Arms, and House Democratic leadership from June 6, 1991 to July 10,
1991, when the Capitol Police are informed they would no longer lead the investigation.
Captain Kennedy and former Chief Kerrigan stated their belief that the investigation
by the Capitol Police was being conducted in a professional manner until it was slowed and
eventually suspended at the initiation of Clerk's Counsel Steven Ross. The Police noted the
six-week delay in time from the original audit by the Capitol Police on May 29, to the
second audit of July 9, 1991. In addition, serious drug-use allegations made at the time of
the audits went uninvestigated for many months.
The last witness to appear before the Task Force, former Chief Kerrigan, has alleged
Mr. Ross threatened the Capitol Police with the withdrawal of support for pending pay raises
and retirement reform unless the Capitol Police withdrew to a supporting role.
Mr. Ross stated that he in no way attempted to impede the investigation, but was
concerned about the rights of House Post Office employees, the need for a professional audit
by U.S. Postal Inspectors and the question of relationship between the Capitol Police and the
Department of Justice.
Task Force Report
Task Force Report
Page 13
I. The Committee on House Administration Task Force Investigation
A. House Resolutions
H.Res. 340, adopted by the House of Representatives on February 5, 1992,
1
directed
the Committee on House Administration to conduct a thorough investigation of the operations
and management of the House Post Office, and to report the findings and recommendations
back to the House no later than May 30, 1992.
2
The House briefly considered the status of the Task Force on April 9, 1992,
3
and
required Task Force Chairman Charlie Rose and Vice Chairman Pat Roberts to respond to
the House about reports that the Democratic staff was attempting prevent certain interviews
from going forward by changing the locks on a room scheduled to be used by the Task
F o r c e   ~
On May 14, 1992, Rep. Bob Walker offered a privileged resolution after the Speaker
laid before the House communications from the Clerk of the House and two Members, Rep.
Austin J. Murphy and Rep. Joe Kolter, concerning subpoenas issued by the Department of
Justice and related to the House Post Office.
5
Rep. Murphy's letter to the Speaker was
dated May 8, Rep. Kolter's letter was dated May 12, and the Clerk's letter was dated May
14, 1992. H.Res. 456 directed the Speaker to:
"produce the court orders dealing with the criminal investigation of the House
Post Office and that the Speaker explain what delayed the timely consideration
of said court orders."
During the debate over H.Res. 456 the Speaker laid before the House two additional
communications concerning subpoenas issued by the Department of Justice ("DOJ").
1
Ex. 1. H.Res. 340.
2
Ex. 2, CR February 5, 1992. The reporting date was later extended to July 6, 1992, by unanimous
consent.
3
E.x. 3, H.Res. 430.
4
Ex. 4, CR April 9, 1992.
j E.x. 5, H.Res. 456.
Task Force Report
Page 14
Sergeant at Arms Werner Brandt's letter was dated May 14 and Rep. Dan Rostenkowski's
letter was undated.
Rep. Walker said he offered the privileged resolution because no Republican Member
was notified of the subpoenas, and negotiations were ongoing between the DOJ and the
Democrat leadership without Republican involvement.
Republican Leader Bob Michel and Rep. Bill Thomas were especially concerned over
the delay by the Speaker in laying the subpoenas before the House, because at that time the
Republican Leader and Rep. Thomas were communicating with DOJ concerning the
relationship between the DOI and the Task Force, unaware of the DOI subpoenas issued to
two House Officers and three House Members.
H.Res. 456 was approved by the House on a vote of 324 to 3.
6
On May 28, 1992, Chairman Rose and Vice Chairman Roberts made an oral report
on the floor of the House,7 briefly summarizing the Task Force's activities to date and
obtaining unanimous consent that the reporting period under H.Res. 340 be extended until
July 6. Chairman Rose and Vice Chairman Roberts explained that the Task Force needed an
extension of the reporting period to interview several more witnesses.
B. Bipartisan Task Force Investigation
Task Force is a departure from the normal structure of congressional
investigations in three ways: 1) equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats,·
2) both the Chairman and Vice Chairman have independent subpoena power;
3) a Republican Member was designated as Vice Chairman of the Task Force
and conducted meetings of the Task Force in the absence of the Chairman.
The Committee on House Administration has jurisdiction over the House Post Office
8
and has acted in the past to reorganize and investigate the House Post Office. H.Res. 340
directed the Committee to conduct a thorough investigation of the operations and
management of the Office of Postmaster, but did not grant the Committee any additional
authority.
9
6
Ex. 6, CR May 14, 1992.
1
Ex. 7, CR May 28, 1992.
8
Rules of the House of Representatives, Rule X(l)(k)(l2).
9
See Ex. l, H.Res. 340.
Task Force Report
Page 15
In accordance with H.Res. 340, offered by Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt on
February 5, 1992 and adopted on a vote of 253-162, the Committee on House
Administration
10
created a Task Force to complete the investigation. On February 21,
1992, the Task Force held an organizational meeting and adopted a letter of agreement
between House Administration Chairman Rose and Rep. Bill Thomas, Ranking Republican of
the Committee, as its operating rules.
11
Committee Chairman Rose appointed himself as
the Democratic Chairman of the Task Force to review the House Post Office. The
Republican Members appointed to the Task Force were Rep. Bill Thomas (Ranking
Republican Member of the House Administration Committee), Rep. Pat Roberts (appointed
Task Force Vice Chairman by Rep. Bill Thomas), and Rep. Bill Barrett. The other
Democratic Members appointed were Rep. Al Swift and Rep. Mary Rose Oakar. Rep.
Oakar was replaced by Rep. Gerald D. Kleczka on April 6, 1992.
The investigation staff was composed largely of individuals already on the Republican
and Democratic staffs of the Committee on House Administration, or individuals who were
already consultants to the Committee. The cost of the investigation was absorbed by the
Committee's budget.
12
The operating rules of the Task Force were intended to be a model for bipartisan
cooperation. The rules are a departure from the normal structure of congressional
investigations in three ways: 1) equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans; 2) both the
Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Task Force have the independent power to issue
subpoenas for records and testimony; and 3) the Vice Chairman of the Task Force is to be
designated by the Ranking Republican Member and is to conduct meetings of the Task Force
in the absence of the Chairman.
On March 9, the Task Force began interviewing witnesses and during the course of
the investigation spoke with 61 witnesses, some on more than one occasion. The Task Force
secured and reviewed hundreds of pages of documents, materials and other matter related to
the operation of the House Post Office and the events leading up to the adoption of H.Res
340.
Task Force Chairman Rose and Vice Chairman Roberts reported to the House on
May 28 that considerable work had been accomplished but that some witnesses and materials
10
Task Force Organiz.atiooal Meeting, February 26, 1992, Task Force Transcript, p 1-2.
11
Task Force Organiz.atiooal Meeting, February 26, 1992, Task Force Transcript, p.12. See also Ex. 35,
Thomas to Rose Letter, February 13, 1992 and Ex. 36, Rose to Thomas Letter, February 21, 1992.
12
Ex. 8, Task Force Staff List.
Task Force Report
Page 16
had not yet been made available to the Task Force. An extension of time to report the
recommendations and findings of the Task Force was requested.
13
C. Relationship with the Department of Justice
Task Force counsel communicated with the Department of Justice at the outset
to attempt to ensure that the Task Force inquiry did not interfere with the
concurrent criminal investigation.
1. Summary
The Task Force contacted the Department of Justice ("DOJ") to coordinate the Task
Force investigation with the on-going criminal investigation, which had begun in May, 1991.
The Task Force made it clear that its objective was not to duplicate the criminal
investigation, but that the Task Force was obliged to interview a number of witnesses which
might also be of interest to DOJ. The Task Force immediately encountered a series of
barriers erected by the DOJ and the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia,
which was conducting the criminal investigation. In response to the Task Force's willingness
to coordinate its activities with DOJ, detailed in the Task Force's March 25 Ietter,
14
DOJ
asked the Task Force to suspend its activities for 90 days,
15
a date approximately 30 days
beyond the Task Force's mandated reporting deadline.
This first exchange set the tone for the relationship between the Task Force and DOJ,
with the Department generally unwilling to recognize a co-equal branch's right to conduct its
own inquiry of its own personnel. As late as the last week in June, 1992, DOI attempted to
prevent the Capitol Police from turning over to the Task Force House documents obtained by
the Capitol Police in the course of its investigation.
The difficulties encountered as the result of the DOJ' s unwillingness to cooperate with
the Task Force led to the Task Force asking for an extension to file the report. The DOJ's
efforts also barred the Task Force's access to certain documents, and made some key
witnesses unavailable.
13
See Ex. 7, CR May 28, 1992.
 
~ Ex. 9.
15
Ex. 10. Other correspondence between the Task Force and House leadership, and DOI, is discussed
below and is included in the Appendix.
2. Discussion
Task Force Report
Page 17
The Task Force initially focused on · avoiding interference with ongoing efforts by the
DOJ to investigate alleged criminal wrong doing. The Task Force had decided to delay
interviews with witnesses who had appeared before the Grand Jury until an arrangement with
the DOJ could be reached. At the direction of Members, Task Force counsel met with
representatives of the DOJ and proposed that the Task Force provide a list of potential
witnesses to the DOJ and for DOJ to comment on whether Task Force interviews of those
witnesses would disrupt the DOJ investigation.
The Task Force staff also indicated that the Task Force would consider any DOJ
alternative to this proposal for both investigations to proceed without interference. DOJ
indicated that it would consider this proposal and, pending a formal response from DOJ, the
Task Force interviewed only persons who had not appeared before the Grand Jury. On
March 16, Task Force staff reiterated its earlier proposal and requested a response from
DOJ.
Repeated inquiries provided neither a response from DOJ to the initial proposal, nor
an alternative DOJ proposal. On March 25, 1992, the Task Force restated its proposals. but
stated that the Task Force could no longer defer interviews. On March 27, 1992, the DOJ
responded, "While we appreciate the sensitivity of the Task Force to ensuring that its actions
not prejudice the criminal investigation, we must respectfully reguest that the Task Force
hold in abeyance interviews of any individuals concerning this matter for at 1east 90 days and
that at the end of that period the Task Force discuss with the Department whether Task
Force interviews at that time might prejudice the criminal investigation" (emphasis added).
16
The Task Force determined that it would be unable to meet the May 30, 1992,
reporting date in H. Res. 340 if the Task Force complied with the DOJ request.
On April 2, 1992, the House so informed the DOJ by letter signed by the Speaker of
the House, the Republican Leader of the House, and the Chairman and Ranking Republican
Member of the Committee on House Administration.
17
The letter expressed both the
intention of the House to proceed with its investigation and the belief that it could do so
without interfering with the DOJ criminal investigation. The letter also indicated that the
House would continue to communicate with DOJ to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
The Task Force called several witnesses who were employees of the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service or the U.S. Capitol Police. These witnesses declined to be interviewed
16
Ex. 10.
17
Ex. 12, Foley, Michel, Rose, Thomas to DOJ letter of April 2, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 18
because of their status under Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
18
The
Task Force respected DOJ's concerns and withdrew its requests for the interviews. In a DOJ
letter dated April 24, 1992, DOJ attributed the motive of attempting • ... to learn the fruits of
an ongoing criminal investigation ... " to Task Force efforts to request the interviews.
19
However, since DOJ would not provide the Task Force with any information regarding
which Federal employees were Rule 6(e) investigators and which were not, the Task Force
had no choice but to call witnesses and then be refused because of the witnesses' 6(e) status.
The Task Force learned of instances where the designated 6(e) investigators sought
documents and information from House employees in a manner inconsistent with House Rule
50. The Task Force proposed a procedure where the 6(e) investigators could obtain
information without foreclosing the opportunity for House employees to comply with House
rules. The suggested procedure was ignored by the 6(e) investigators and, in the DOJ letter
of April 24, the DOJ again misconstrued the Task Force proposal as an attempt to interfere
with the criminal investigation.
The Task Force interviewed a Capitol Police officer who was not among the
investigators covered by Rule 6(e) and who was not directly involved in the Capitol Police
investigation. The Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs orally conveyed
DOJ concerns to the Task Force counsel. Task Force counsel spoke with U.S. Attorney Jay
B. Stephens. The Task Force delayed the interview of the Capitol Police officer for over
two hours to accommodate the discussions.
When the Task Force decided to proceed with the interview of the officer, the DOJ
later cited the interview as a Task Force attempt to learn the "fruits of an ongoing criminal
investigation." In addition, DOJ specifically requested that the Task Force not interview any
law enforcement officers who may have had knowledge of the House Post Office
investigation. DOJ stated that it was unwilling to even discuss the appropriateness of such
interviews until after DOJ had concluded its prosecutions.
DOJ wrote to the Speaker, the Republican Leader, the Chairman and Ranking
Republican on the House Administration Committee:
" ... we ask that you turn over to this Office, as soon as possible, any
documentary or other evidence collected by your staff that may be relevant to
any possible criminal activity associated with the House Post Office.
18
Rule 6(e) refers to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 6: Grand Jury Secrecy and is
generally an agreement by government personnel assisting the U.S. Attorney to keep confidential any
information learned in the course of the Grand Jury investigation.
19
Ex. 13, DOJ to Task Force Letter of April 24, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 19
Attorneys from this Office will contact your staff in the near future to arrange
a time to discuss the orderly transfer of any such information or documents.
We are confident that your staff understands the importance of its
responsibility to disclose to law enforcement any evidence of criminal
activity.
11
The Task Force considers this statement to be an effort to undermine the
Constitutional separation of powers doctrine. By suggesting that congressional aides have a
responsibility other than to the Congress, or may report information from a congressional
investigation to another branch of the Federal government without first being so directed by
the Congress, the DOJ appears to be engaging in an effort to impermissibly extend the role
of the Executive in a manner which impinges directly upon the Constitutional role of a
separate and equal branch of government. Nonetheless, the Task Force was able to provide
certain information regarding stamp counter shortages that might be helpful to the DOJ
investigation.
At this same time, the Task Force had learned of a new shortage in the House Post
Office accountability with possible criminal implications. Information of this new shortage
was relayed to DOJ the same day it was obtained by the Task Force. This new shortage was
related to the use of Member vouchers to purchase stamps in the House Post Office.
20
The Task Force scheduled an interview with James Smith, Assistant Postmaster for
Accountability, for the afternoon of May 4, 1992. This was the second time Mr. Smith was
to speak with the Task Force. Through his attorney, Mr. Smith stated that he was also
cooperating with the DOJ and that the DOJ was considering a grant of immunity in exchange
for his testimony. Less that one hour before Mr. Smith's interview, the Assistant U.S.
Attorney called Task Force counsel and requested that the Task Force cancel the interview.
During the afternoon, Task Force counsel learned that senior U.S. Attorney staff had
threatened to withdraw its offer of immunity if Mr. Smith appeared before the Task Force.
Although Mr. Smith was present and ready for the interview, the Task Force agreed to
postpone the interview, pending a written explanation from the DOJ.
On May 4, 1992, DOJ wrote to the Task Force that Mr. Smith would shortly appear
before the Grand Jury, and that a Task Force interview would be
11
••• disruptive of that
investigation." DOJ requested that the Task Force forbear conducting the interview for a
period not to exceed 30 days.
21
J:> Ex. 52, Task Force Counsel to DOJ Letter, April 24, 1992.
21
Ex. 14, DOJ Letter to Task Force, May 4, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 20
On May 7, 1992, Task Force staff wrote to the DOJ and stated when, and under what
circumstances. information obtained by the Task Force might be made available to the DOJ.
The Task Force again expressed a willingness to continue to cooperate where ever
possible.
22
On May 12, Republican Leader Bob Michel and House Administration Ranking
Republican Bill Thomas offered to curtail further Task Force proceedings until June 15, at
which time the Task Force would proceed to the completion of the investigation unimpeded
by the DOJ.
23
The June 15 date was in excess of the 30 day delay DOJ had requested on
May 4, 1992.
The DOJ rejected this offer on May 22, 1992, and wrote that if the Task Force
" ... could not forbear pursuing its own inquiry after June 15, despite the pendency of the
criminal investigation, we would appreciate an opportunity to meet with Task Force
counsel. .. and once again attempt to establish procedures and address specific investigative
concerns in order to minimize the risk that the Task Force's work would disrupt the criminal
investigation. "
24
Following the DOJ rejection of the initiative proposed by Republican
Leader Michel and Ranking Republican Member Thomas, the Task Force proceeded with
interviews of scheduled witnesses, including those to which DOJ had objected.
On June l, 1992, DOJ wrote to clarify certain representations made to the Task
Force, noting that the immunity discussions with the prospective witness, James Smith, were
not concluded.
25
When Task Force counsel met with DOJ on June 5, 1992, DOJ requested
that the Task Force consider limiting the types of questions asked of witnesses, so as to avoid
conflict with the DOJ criminal investigation.
On June 4, 1992, DOJ responded to the Task Force letter of May 7, 1992.
26
DOJ
suggested that the Task Force was engaging in activities which exceeded its authority under
H.Res. 340. The DOJ specifically objected to a Task Force interview of a House employee
on the U.S. Capitol Police force and restated its interpretation of certain actions by Task
Force counsel, entirely disregarding the obligations of House employees under House Rules.
The Task Force efforts to obtain crucial testimony met with Fifth Amendment
objections from Postmaster Rota, Chief of Staff Joanna O'Rourke, and Assistant Postmaster
22
Ex. 15, Task Force to DOJ Letter, May 7, 1992.
13
Ex. 16, Michel/Thomas to DOJ Letter, May 12, 1992.
  Ex. 17, DOJ to Michel/Thomas Letter, May 22, 1992.
:?.S Ex. 18, DOJ to Task Force Letter, June 1, 1992.
26
Ex. 19, DOJ to Task Force Letter, June 19, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 21
for Accountability James Smith. In an effort to overcome the objections,, Republican Task
Force Members sought to grant Joanna O'Rourke use immunity for her testimony. The
Committee notified the DOJ on June 17, 1992,
27
of its intention to seek immunity for Mrs.
O'Rourke under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 6005.
28
The grant of use immunity would have still permitted DOJ to prosecute Joanna
O'Rourke, as long as no evidence based on statements made to the Task Force was used in
the prosecution. The DOJ prosecutors stated that they understood the necessity of the Task
Forces to speak with Mrs. O'Rourke and indicated that the immunity grant would not create
a problem for the prosecution. On June 25, 1992, however, the Committee on House
Administration met in open session and, by a party-line vote of 4 "ayes" to 12 "nays",
rejected the Republican resolution to seek a court order under the immunity statute.
On June 30, DOJ objected to the May 12 Task Force request to Sergeant at Arms
Werner Brandt for information and House documents in the possession of the Capitol
Police.
29
The DOJ indicated that parts of the request " ... call for sensitive and confidential
law enforcement information directly relevant to the ongoing criminal investigation." The
DOJ asked the Task Force to withdraw its request. The Task Force considered and declined
the DOJ's request because the information and documents were both necessary to complete
the investigation of the operations and management of the House Post Office pursuant to
H.Res. 340. Those documents, first requested on May 12, were received by the Task Force
on July 1 and 2.
On July 2, the Task Force reinterviewed the Capitol Police officer to whose earlier
interview DOJ had objected. The officer stated that he was under pressure from senior DOJ
officials not to testify at all before the Task Force. The Task Force considers such pressure
to be an impermissible DOJ effort to obstruct a congressional investigation.
Throughout the investigation, the Task Force has acted to ensure that its efforts did
not compromise the criminal investigation conducted by DOJ and the Grand Jury. The Task
Force withdrew its efforts to interview certain law enforcement officials, respected DOJ's
request not to interview a senior House Post Office employee, notified DOJ of its intention to
seek immunity for another senior House Post Office official, and permitted only staff who
had signed confidentiality agreements to handle records.
By deference to the DOJ objections concerning certain interviews, the Task Force is
open to accusations of an incomplete and inconclusive investigation; by proceeding to
27
Ex. 20, Task Force to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr Letter, June 17, 1992.
;:s Ex. 21.
29
Ex. 22, DOI to Task Force Letter, June 30, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 22
interview other witnesses necessary to complete the investigation, the Task Force is open to
allegations of interfering with an Executive branch investigation.
Absent the proceedings before the Grand Jury, the Task Force believes that it would
have been able to conduct a more thorough investigation and that it would have reached
conclusions with a greater degree of certainty. However, despite the complications arising
from DOJ and the Grand Jury, sufficient information has been gathered to make significant
determinations as to the extent of the managerial deficiencies at the Post Office.
D. Unavailable Witnesses.
The unavailability of significant witnesses, including the Postmaster, the Chief
of Staff. and the Assistant Postmaster for Accountability, severely impeded the
completion of a thorough investigation of management and operations and
resolution of serious allegations of improper conduct in the House Post Office.
The Task Force conducted interviews of 61 present and former House employees and
others involved in the operations and management of the House Post Office. Certain key
witnesses, however, were not interviewed by the Task Force because of their status as
subjects or witnesses in the criminal investigation.
Several Capitol Police officers who were responsible for the initial investigation of the
House Post Office in the summer of 1991 later became investigators for the Grand Jury.
These officers were then bound by Grand Jury secrecy agreements, which precluded the Task
Force from talking to the very Capitol Police officers who knew the most about the initial
response of the Office of the Postmaster to the embezzlement and drug allegations.
Two U.S. Postal Inspectors, John E. Elder and Patricia A. Achimovic, were also
bound by Grand Jury secrecy agreements. Inspector Elder, the U.S. Postal Inspection
Service ("USPIS") contact with the House Post Office for the past several years, would have
been able to testify about past Post Office practices. Although John Elder and Patricia
Achimovic may be available to testify at the conclusion of DOJ prosecutions, their testimony
was unavailable to the Task Force.
30
Joanna O'Rourke, House Post Office Chief of Staff, exercised her right against self-
incrimination and refused to answer any questions related to her employment at the House
Post Office. Numerous witnesses identified her as the person who ran the Post Office on a
day-to-day basis. She apparently has information not otherwise available to the Task Force
regarding such matters as staff, House Post Office reorganizations, overtime payments,
check-cashing policies, personnel practices, and the Brentwood Post Office boxes.
Republican Members of the Task Force offered a resolution to grant Joanna O'Rourke
30
Ex. 11, Achimovic letter to Task Force and Task Force Response.
• •f
i "
Task Force Report
Page 23
immunity under 18 U.S.C. § 6005,
31
which would have permitted her to testify before the
Task Force; the resolution was defeated by the Committee on House Administration on June
25, 1992, on a 12 to 4 party-line vote.
Although the Task Force had interviewed Postmaster Robert Rota and Assistant
Postmaster for Accountability James Smith early in the investigation, their attorneys later
stated that Postmaster Rota and Mr. Smith would assert their right against self-incrimination
and refuse to answer questions if called to testify again.
32
Dorothea "Niki" Risenhoover,
the former chief of the Longworth station, also asserted her right against self-incrimination
and refused to answer questions on certain key issues.
The Task Force did not interview the four stamp counter clerks who were charged
with embezzlement because they were under indictment and there was little new information
to be learned which was not contained in their 1991 statements to the Capitol Police and the
USPIS.
E. Unauthorized Disclosures of Task Force Information
Task Force staff were required to sign non-disclosure statements. News media
reponed on Task Force activities throughout investigation. Possible sources of
media information included Post Office employees, Task Force interviewees,
and individuals associated with DOJ investigation. As Task Force began
deliberations over contents of final repon, cenain Members disclosed
information in Task Force draft reports in attempt to influence content of final
repon.
The Task Force agreed at its organizational meeting that all information of the
investigation must be kept confidential until the Task Force filed its report. Toward this end,
each staff member was required to agree in writing to keep such information confidential.
33
The investigation was plagued by continuous "leaks" to the news media and
speculation by the media on the activities of the Task Force. Charges and counter-charges
became a daily routine, despite the fact that press revelations had initially prompted the Task
Force investigation. Indeed, many of the news stories were the basis of the questions that
led to further inquiry.
Providing fodder for the nine-month scandal reported with great frequency in the
press, may have been individuals from amongst: 1) the 160 Post Office employees who were
31
See Ex. 21. See discussion, pp. 20-21.
32
Ex. 53, Charles S. Leeper to Task Force Letter, July l, 1992.
33
Ex. 30. Task Force Staff Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Task Force Report
Page 24
aware of occurrences in the facility; 2) the over 60 Task Force witnesses and their various
attorneys; or 3) the on-going criminal investigation by the DOJ. Despite these various
sources of information, both sides accused the other as the source of leaks, even though each
Task Force staff member signed a non-disclosure agreement which prohibited staff from
making disclosures of Task Force information to any person not part of the Task Force
investigation.
In addition to "leaks" to the new media, unauthorized disclosures of Task Force
information regarding the contents of preliminary draft reports were used by certain
Members of the Task Force in an attempt to pressure other Members of the Task Force into
adopting a position that the Task Force would not include Members' names in the Task
Force report.
When the Task Force was appointed and adopted its rules, the staff non-disclosure
agreement was adopted with the understanding that selective leaks to the news media could
interfere with the trust and confidence required of both sides for a truly bipartisan
investigation to succeed. The Task Force did not include Members under the non-disclosure
agreement and did not foresee that some Task Force Members would take preliminary draft
report information outside of the Task Force and create pressure on other Task Force
Members in an attempt to influence the content of the final Task Force report.
F. Documents
The Task Force reviewed extensive documents and records from the House
Post Office, the Capitol Police, the United States Postal Service, the Office of
Finance, and the Sergeant at Arms.
The Task Force reviewed extensive records relating to the operations and management
of the House Post Office. These documents were obtained from the House Post Office with
the cooperation of the Post Office staff, the Capitol Police, United States Postal Service
("USPS"), the Office of Finance, and the Sergeant at Arms. Many documents, first
requested in early May were not provided to the Task Force until late June and early July,
thus limiting the review and assessment of that information in the report. The late arrival of
that information also limited the opportunity to look further into questions that arose from the
documents received.
II. Discussion
Task Force Report
Page 25
Responsibility for the demise of the Office of Postmaster, which has been in
existence for over 160 years, rests not only on Post Office management but on
a structure perpetuated by the House of Representatives which emphasizes
patronage and political favor over the timely and efficient delivery of the mail,·
a scheme of favoritism and patronage contributed to the frustration of many
capable House Post Office employees.
A. The Office of the Postmaster
The Office of the Postmaster is not pan of the U.S. Postal Service, but was
established to serve Members of Congress. House Post Office operations are
grouped in three functions: I) management, 2) stamp counter operations, and
3) mail saning and delivery.
An information booklet produced by then Postmaster Rota states:
"WHAT IS THE OFFICE OF POSTMASTER? The Office of Postmaster is not part
of the United States Postal Service. Instead, the Office of the Postmaster was
established specifically to serve Members of Congress and their staffs and can,
therefore, provide Members with services that would not otherwise be available. "
34
The House Post Office was organized into three primary sections: 1) the management
office staffed with 15 people; 2) the stamp counter operations staffed with 13 people; and 3)
mail sorting and delivery operations, which employs 132 people. The House Post Office
also provides a number of non-Postal services for the convenience of the Members and staff,
including notary, passport and visa service, House Information Services courier, and State
Department Telex services.
The Office of Postmaster and the main stamp counter are located in the basement of
the Longworth House Office building. The loading dock for the Post Office is located in
Longworth off of C Street, S.E. The sorting area, adjacent to the dock area, includes a
primary letter sort facility, primary flat sort facility, and one X-ray machine. All case
sorting for the Longworth and Cannon House Office Buildings takes place here.
In 1989, the House Post Office acquired space for mail room operations in the G-1
level of the Rayburn Building. The elimination of 12 full-size parking slots created 2,607
square feet of office space. This area contains one X-ray machine which operates primarily
34
Ex. 23, Information Booklet, Office of the Postmaster, p. l.
Task Force Report
Page 26
during the evening and early morning shifts. The area also has five flat primary sort stations
and 10 letter primary sort stations; all case sorting for the Rayburn Building takes place here.
The Rayburn Building also has a full service stamp counter located on the first floor.
House Annex Il has two case sorter clerks, two pick-up clerks, and two couriers, as
well as a full service stamp counter. There is one full service stamp counter located within
the Capitol.
1. Management
House Post Office managemeru was more akin to a feudal system than a
modem business,· no consisteru system of oversight and accountability
existed at any level of management,· written operation policies or
consistent guidelines did not exist; the absence of clear lines of
authority and responsibility contributed to the frustration of many
capable House Post Office employees.
Individuals entrusted with the day-to-day management of the Post Office were not
drawn from the ranks of experienced mail systems managers. Deficiencies within the House
Post Office, which might have been apparent to experienced Postal personnel, went unnoticed
or uncorrected. The consequence was a House Post Office in disarray and led to the
frustration of many capable House Post Office employees.
With a few exceptions, professional experience with mail systems was not a
prerequisite for House Post Office management positions, which were filled by the
Democratic Patronage Committee. In addition, there was little within the existing House
structure to encourage efficiency or accountability. House Post Office management did not
have the authority to hire and fire employees or to set employment standards. Employees
had no job security, and could be laid off at any time to accommodate a new employee with
more political clout.
It appears that Postmaster Rota maintained little responsibility for the day-to-day
operations of the House Post Office. Chief of Staff Joanna O'Rourke apparently ran the day-
to-day operations with Deputy Postmaster Nancy Collins sharing some of this responsibility.
Postmaster Rota checked in with Joanna O'Rourke or Nancy Collins during the day, but
spent much of his time out of the office.
Under a contract with the USPS, Postmaster Rota was responsible for the House Post
Office stamp counters. He turned over the operations to James Smith, the Assistant
Postmaster for Accountability, and maintained no management control _ or oversight. The
absence of oversight in the mail room operations permitted false certification of overtime,
high absenteeism, low productivity, and low morale. The lack of oversight ultimately
contributed to a number of criminal acts and major embarrassment for the House.
Task Force Report
Page 27
There was no institutional oversight over the House Post Office and the Office of
Postmaster. Heather Foley, Chief of Staff to the Speaker, stated in her testimony that she
did not consider the Postmaster, an elected officer of the House, to be responsible to the
Speaker. Neither the Democratic Caucus, which elected him, nor the Speaker's office
exercised oversight over the House Post Office. It was apparent from Postmaster Rota's
statements to the Task Force that he had no clear idea to whom he was responsible.
2. Stamp Counter Operations
No attempt was made to confonn stamp counter operations to USPS
Regulations; failure of oversight and accountability permitted the the.ft
of Postal funds.
The Office of Postmaster operated as an umbrella for five separate contract stations of
the United States Postal Service. These stamp counters, at Longworth, Rayburn, Cannon,
the Capitol and Annex II, function as one collective entity under contracts signed in 1984 by
Postmaster Rota and John Cochran, the Postmaster of Washington, D.C.
35
The
Postmaster's operation of the stamp counters, however, ran contrary to USPS policy for such
contract stations.
One major area of deviation was the handling of postage stamp accountability and
related financial functions. A US PIS audit on July 9, 1991, showed a total accountability of
the five contract units of $442.812.92. Of that amount, $47,299.56 was in cash, $54,587.83
in checks, and $40, 780. 72 was in unremitted vouchers from various House offices.
36
By contrast, a comparable USPS facility should have an accountability of $195.000,
according to the US PIS audit report, not $442. 812. 92.
The excess accountability stems from the failure to deposit sales receipts on a daily
b   s i ~ and may have been necessary to cover the float for check cashing at the Post Office.
During the period reviewed by the Task Force investigation, the loss of approximately
$34,000 in funds from the House Post Office stamp counters occurred. There are a number
of factors that contributed to the loss, including a lack of management controls, no
meaningful audit policy, and insufficient training of stamp counter personnel. Four House
Post Office employees have been indicted for the thefts.
JS .Ex. 24, U.S. House of Representatives Postal Contract, Agreement to Conduct a Contract Station, April
13, 1984. The contracts were modified to require no compensation from the House Postmaster and to exempt
the House Postmaster from the requirement of a security bond to cover possible losses of money or USPS
property.
J
6
Ex. 28, USPIS, Financial Audit - U.S. House of Representatives, September 23, 1991.
Task Force Report
Page 28
James Smith was the Assistant Postmaster for Accountability and was responsible for
all House Post Office stamp counters. Witnesses have described Mr. Smith's office as
littered with stamps and money; stamps and cash were kept in desk drawers, on shelves, on
the desk and even on the floor. A House employee told Task Force interviewers of being in
Smith's office when Mr. Smith was rummaging through his office trying to find a "stack of
$100 bills." The July 9 audit reported that Mr. Smith had $286,709.18 of the total House
Post Office accountability in his office, including $29,025.15 in cash.
When House Post Office stamp clerks needed more stamps, they would purchase
stamps from Mr. Smith with money received from stamp sales. Mr. Smith filled these
orders, which might be oral or written on any available scrap paper, amid the chaotic
conditions of his office. The result of careless practices in the stamp counter operations were
numerous errors and misunderstandings involving money and stock. For instance, several
weeks after an audit revealed a $1,256.00 shortage in a stamp clerk's accountability, $500 in
$5.00 stamps was found behind a counter.
After filling stamp counter orders, Mr. Smith would purchase or requisition new
stamps from the Washington, D.C. Post Office. House Post Office couriers routinely took
cash in excess of $10,000 to the Brentwood Post Office to purchase stamps, without any
security precautions. (The Task Force had one report of $50,000 cash being transported).
There was no internal House Post Office process to confirm individual accountability
other than "self-audit" by the stamp clerks. Any shortage detected by self-audit was
expected to be covered by the stamp clerk, but was not reported to the Postmaster or the
U.S. Postal Service.
Mr. Smith discovered a significant shortage, as much as $5 ,000, during one such self-
audit of his own accountability. Ms. Risenhoover, who had assisted Mr. Smith with the
audit, reported that Mr. Smith asked for all her records of that audit. Mr. Smith apparently
covered the shortage and did not report the matter to Postmaster Rota or to U.S. Postal
authorities.
In March 1992, a General Accounting Office audit of the House Post Office
accountability by Acting Postmaster Michael J. Shinay, revealed a shortage of $2 ,595 in Mr.
Smith's accountability. The shortage stemmed from an inadequate tracking of House
vouchers used to purchase stamps. Mr. Smith immediately paid the House Post Office
$2,595 to cover this shortage.
No policy existed for the control of keys for stamp counter drawers. As late as the
GAO audit on March 24, 1992, the Acting Assistant Postmaster for Accountability had a set
Task Force Report
Page 29
of keys for all drawers. The GAO audit pointed out that someone other than the person
responsible for the cash and stamps should retain the duplicate keys.
37
The House Post Office handling of USPS Postal Money Orders also violated USPS
Regulations. The House Post Office issued money orders to each of the five stations in
blocks of 100 money order forms. All stamp counter clerks at the station would then sell
money orders from the same block of forms. This practice prevented individual
responsibility for lost or stolen money orders. Although the House Post Office instituted
new controls in September 1991, the GAO discovered an unopened pack of 100 blank money
orders left in an unlocked safe with the keys in the lock.
38
The accumulation of cash by the stamp counter clerks violated USPS policies for
Contract Postal Units. Large amounts of cash were necessary, however, to support the
House Post Office check cashing policy. Although USPS Regulations prohibit the acceptance
of personal checks for other than the face amount of purchase,
39
the House Post Office
cashed personal and payroll checks if a customer presented a House of Representatives photo
identification card. This policy may have originated with Paul Tomme, James Smith's
predecessor, and continued until September 1991. Any questions about whether a stamo
clerk should cash a particular check were referred to Joanna O'Rourke, who approved the
checks to be cashed.
There is no simple way to determine from existing records which checks were used to
purchase stamps as opposed to being negotiated for cash. The Task Force reviewed
photocopies of checks accepted and deposited by House Post Office for May, June, July,
August, October, November, and December, 1991 and January, February, and March,
1992.
40
Among House Post Office employees frequently cashing checks were Postmaster
Rota, Joanna O'Rourke, James Smith, Niki Risenhoover, and Nancy Collins. In addition,
several of the checks written on accounts of Members, lobbyists and campaign committees
may have been written for cash rather than stamp purchases. These checks were
denominated in even dollar amounts of $50 or $100 or more, and do not correspond to
typical purchase of postage, i.e. divisible by postage stamp denominations.
37
Ex. 25, GAO Report to Donnald K. Anderson, Clerk of the House, April 2, 1992.
38
Ex. 25.
39
Ex. 29, Sec. 311.12, USPS Handbook F-1, Post Office Accounting Procedures, April 1991. Postal
Handbook Fl Section 435 limits the retention of cash overnight by each clerk to no more than $100 .
.l() The U.S. Attorney has the photocopies of checks for prior years.
Task Force Report
Page 30
The Task Force heard reports of money being loaned to Post Office employees from
stamp accountabilities. These loans ranged from a few dollars to over $100. In addition,
personal checks were cashed and then held before being deposited, sometimes for several
weeks. This amounted, in effect, to a loan of USPS funds for the time the checks went
undeposited. Findings of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service audit in July, 1991 also stated
that depo_sits were not made on a daily basis, increasing the possibility of excessive funds
being held. During the Capitol Police investigation of Edward Pogue, an undated and
unendorsed personal check from Jerry Carter, Director of Transportation, for $500.00 was
discovered in Mr. Pogue's stamp drawer. Mr. Carter's check may be an indication of an
unauthorized loan made from the stamp counter accountability.
Postal handbook AS707F, Contracting for Contract Postal Units, sets forth in Chapter
4, Sec. 43.4, the requirement for an annual audit by the Contracting Officers Representative
("COR"), in this case the Washington, D.C. Post Office. This same section requires the
COR to notify the US PIS if mismanagement of a Contract Postal Unit's accountability is
suspected. The USPIS may conduct audits of Contract Postal Units at any time without prior
notification.
41
An additional policy concerning audits of Contract Postal Units appears in
Sec. 472.42 of the Postal Service Handbook F-1, Accounting Procedures, which requires
only that the contractor (i.e. the House Postmaster) replace any shortage which exceeds the
allowed tolerance. Tolerances range from $2.00 to $60.00, depending on the dollar value of
the accountability.
42
A representative of the Washington, D.C. Post Office stated, however,
that the USPS has no record of advising the U.S. Postal Inspection Service of shortages
discovered in USPS audit of the House Post Office.
The required annual audit by the Washington, D.C. Post Office cited the improper
retention of cash at all five House Contract Postal Units audited in 1989. Copies of these
audits were made available to the Postmaster of the Washington, D.C. Post Office and
Postmaster Rota, but there is no record of any corrective action taken.
The USPIS audit report to Postmaster Rota of September 23, 1991 set forth five
findings relating to the handling of stamp accountability. Recommended corrective action
was suggested in each instance. New instructions were issued relative to stamp counter
operation on September 6, 1991.
43
The adoption of additional suggestions and
recommendations was accelerated with the resignation of Robert Rota as Postmaster and the
appointment of Michael Shinay as Acting Postmaster.
41
Ex. 26, USPS Handbook AS707F, Contracting for Contract Postal Units, July 1989.
42
Ex. 27, USPS Handbook F-1, Post Office Accounting Procedures, April 1991.

3
Ex. 31, House Post Office, New Procedural Policies, September 6, 1991.
3. Mail Sorting and Delivery
Task Force Report
Page 31
The Postmaster attributed mail backlogs to substantially overstated mail
volume estimates when backlogs were caused by ineffective use of
personnel, absenteeism, and lax work rules. Postmaster Rota's
estimates of House incoming mail volume dramatically exceeded Postal
Service counts.
The mail handling section is the largest section of the House Post Office and receives
incoming USPS mail, sorts inside mail, and delivers mail to Member offices. In addition,
the mail sorting and delivery section handles outgoing mail from House offices and is
responsible for accounting of franked mail delivered to the USPS by the House Post Office.
When requesting increased budgets for additional personnel at the Legislative Branch
Appropriations Subcommittee, Postmaster Rota cited escalating mail volume estimates.
Postmaster Rota stated that the USPS mail counts for delivery to the House were inaccurate
and testified to the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations on January 23, 1992,
"because most mail now arrives in bulk -- some delivered by the U.S. Postal
Service and some by the United Parcel Service as well as by air, bus, truck
and other private carriers -- the Postal Service figures only show one part of
the total incoming mail volume. For example, the Postal Service reports a box
of mail as a single unit when in fact that box may contain 500 or more
envelopes. These statistics, supplied by the Postal Service, grossly under-
count mail delivered through their facilities."
However, Postmaster Rota also stated at that hearing that the House Post Office could
provide no accurate count of the mail.
"A 'hard count' of all incoming mail would delay delivery and add
substantially to operating cost."
Postmaster Rota's estimates of incoming mail volume were not justified, therefore, either by
the United States Postal Service counts or by an actual physical count of the mail.
44
In
response to Task Force inquiries, Deputy Postmaster Nancy Collins, Director of Personnel
44
The U.S. Senate Office of Postmaster does make a physical count of mail each day and tracks mail
volume on an hourly basis. The counting procedure involves a tray count and an estimated count of each tray.
Task Force Report
Page 32
David Dunn, and Director of Mail Room Operations Paul Lozito were unable to explain how
Postmaster Rota arrived at the incoming mail estimate which were used to justify increased
budget requests. Chief of Staff Joanna O'Rourke was unavailable to respond to questions
concerning the incoming mail estimates.
Postmaster
Rota's incoming
mail figures were
used to justify
more than just
increases in mail
handlers,
management
personnel and
salaries. The
incoming mail
figures, inflated by
as much as 350%,
were used in
Congressional
Research Service
reports analyzing
congressional mail
Millions
300
280
250
240
220
200
180
160
140
120
100
BO
60
40
20
Mail Volume Estimates
1972 to 1991
                                       
1912 1975 1980 1985 1990
Comparison of House incoming mail counts as reported by
the U.S. Postal Service and Postmaster Rota.
U.S.
Postal
8*vloe
Count
and ultimate! y, by House Members arguing against reductions in franked mail and against
franking reform.
For example, CRS Report 90-345 GOV, U.S. Congress Official Mail Costs: FY 1972
to FY 1991, relying on Postmaster Rota's inflated figures, reported that 152. 7 million pieces
of mail were received by the House in 1977-78 and that in 1989-90, the House received 516
million pieces -- an apparent increase of 238 percent.
During that same 12 year period, all House outgoing franked mail (including House
Folding Room mail and district office mail), as reported by the USPS, rose from 557.8
million pieces in 1977-78 to 848.3 million pieces in 1989-90 -- an increase of 52 percent.
Postmaster Rota's exaggerated incoming mail numbers were used by opponents of
reform of the House franked mail privilege. Criticism of House franking was refuted by
claims that House outgoing mail, while increasing, wasn't keeping pace with the increase in
Task Force Report
Page 33
incoming mail. For example, relying on Postmaster Rota's figures, Rep. Vic Fazio,
Chairman of the Legislative Appropriations Subcommittee on September 26, 1990 (H 8095)
stated:
"Let me show Members another trend line that I think is very indicative of
what we are up against, and that is the amount of incoming mail. Since 1975,
when we received some 55 million pieces of incoming mail, we are now up to
228 million pieces of mail in a period of less than 15 years. This is an
incredible rate of increase, 10. 7 percent a year. It reflects the very calculated
use by special interest groups of direct mail impact on Congress. [S]pecial
interests ... inundate Members with mail which we must respond to, or which
we must attempt to respond to, hopefully in a way that will educate our
constituents as to the [r]eal issues we are debating."
The Task Force has determined that Postmaster Rota's numbers were unsubstantiated and
drastically in excess of USPS counts (as much as 350 percent in 1985, when Postmaster Rota
reported 225 million pieces, while the USPS reported 65 million pieces of mail received by
the House); nonetheless, the inflated House incoming mail numbers helped to defend and
justify the rapid increase in outgoing House mail during the 1980's.
Task Force Report
Page 34
Annual Incoming Mail Volume Estimates, 1985 to 1991
45
USPS Counts 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
Letters 42,265,000 32,392,500 35,066,000 35, 179,000 44,827,000 46, 159,500 37,750,500
Flats 13,511,970 13,907.700 28,031,000 27,372, 250 34.454,000 33,948,500 29.427,500
Newspapers 517.725 278,375 296,475 288,750 319,640 287, 760 310,800
Parcels 4,215,600 3,147,200 5,944,600 5,982,400 8,362,000 8,016,400 7,949,200
Registered 36,081 39,665 35,390 36,784 50,261 64,268 61,646
Inside Mail
48
2,600,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 2,600,000
Colleagues 1,696,500 1,696,500 1,696,500 1,696,500 1,696,500 1,696,500 1,696,500
Express
47
24,865 19,926 39,621 71,379 93,636 151,458 34,359
USPS Count 64,867,741 54,081,866 73,709,586 73,227,063 92.403,037 92,924,386 79,830,505
Rota Estimate 225,000,000 180,000,000 157,000,000 156, 600,000 262,300,000 253,700,000 175,800,000
Difference 160,132,259 125,918,134 83,290.414 83,372,937 169,896,963 160,775,614 95,969,495
Overstatement 347% 333% 213% 214% 284% 273% 220%
45
The USPS mail count figures are taken from the Statements of Postmaster Robert V. Rota before the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
Appropriations For Fiscal Years 1976-78, 1980,1985, 1986, 1992, and 1993. Rota accounted for the difference in his estimate and the U.S. Post Office
mail count because, "[f]or example, the Postal Service reports a box of mail as a single unit when in fact that box may contain 500 or more envelopes."
Rota's annual estimate amounts to approximately 3,000 pieces of mail per Member office per legislative day.
46
Director Mail Room Operations provided estimates of inside mail and "Dear Colleagues"; Actual number of Dear Colleagues is 7,773; the estimate
of 1,696,500 is based on 15 Dear Colleagues per Member office each legislative day.
47
Source: House Post Office Business Reports.
Task Force Report
Page 35
B. Budget, Operations, Salaries
Accounting practices of the House of Representatives hinder effons to
establish a budget for mall operations.
Estimations of the annual expense to the House for mail services are hampered by the
accounting practices of the House of Representatives. An effort has been made to estimate
the budget expense by fiscal year, but this budget amount may not be exhaustive and may
exclude items which should properly be charged to the operation of the House Post Office.
This lack of accurate accounting information prevents a complete a study of Post Office cost
effectiveness and efficiency.
Thebudget .         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Budget Requests
estimates requested
by Postmaster
Rota escalated
significantly in the
past few years,
rising from
$2,710,000 for
Fiscal Year 1989
to $6,020,000 for
Fiscal Year 1993.
In the past six
years, the amount
appropriated for
the Office of
Postmaster has
risen at about two
times the rate of
$Million
7.001
FY 1972toFY1993
6 . 5 0 ~
6.00
5.501
s.oo j
4.50
4.00
3.50
3.00
2.50
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
1972 1975 1980 1985 1990 1993
Postmaster Rota budget requests to Legislative Branch Appropriations
Committee, 1972 to 1993. (Legislative Branch Subcommittee Prints)
growth for other House Officers. The rate of increase in the number of House Post Office
personnel has been about five to ten times the rate of personnel increase for other House
Officers.
48
The Postmaster justified the increases as necessary to respond to increases in
incoming mail. Postmaster Rota presented estimates of mail volume to the Legislative
411
See House Officer Budget Growth chart on next page.
Task Force Report
Page 36
Branch Appropriations Subcommittee that were not justified by USPS mail volume figures or
by hard mail counts performed by the House Post Office.
 
The need
for the budget
increases is
questionable,
especially in light
of changes
introduced by the
Acting Postmaster
Shinay, who has
reorganized the
internal mail
delivery system
and eliminated 30
positions because
of over staffing.
The reduction in
mail room staff is
due in part to an
increase in
!
I
125% '
100%
75%
50% ~
i
I
25% 4
Fiscal Years
House Officer Budgets
1987
(Percent Growth since FY 1986)
Postmaster
1988 1989 1990 1991
Doorkeeper
.. .
...
Clerk
Sergeant at Anns*
1992
• Until 1989, Sergeant at Arms personnel budget included Capitol Police officers.
Source: Subcommittee Print, Legislative Branch Appropriations, Fiscal Years 1986 to
1993.
productivity resulting from a decline in absenteeism, a requirement for working a full eight-
hour day, and encouraging of professionalism in the mail room staff.
The savings resulting from the changes implemented by Acting Postmaster Shinay
could reach as much as $450,000 annually.
~
 
See Incoming Mail Volume Chart, page 34. Informal discussions with the Senate Office of Postmaster
staff learned that the senate post office does make a physical count of mail each day and can track mail volume
on an hourly basis.
Page 37
Annual House Post Office Budget Estimatea
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
Salaries• 2, 165,000 1,985,775 2,304,000 2,517,000 2,610,000 2,986,000 3,275,000 4,377,000 4,079,000"
Clerk Transfers 132,000
4
383,000"
Fin.Mnge.Sys.
1
68,910 142,602 57.419
1
31,658h 58,597;
Purchase Orders 4,980 32,058 114,334 48,359 70,925
Expnse Vouchers 187,030 931,517i
Annual 2, 165,000 1,985,775 2,377,890 2,691,660 3, 100,783 3,066,017 4,719,039 4,377,000 4,079,000
Expenditure
Rota Salary 2, 165,000 2,215,000 2,279,000 2,617,000 2,760,000 3,028,000 4,105,000 5,203,000 6,020,000
Requests
Annual increase 2% 15% 14% 10% 16% 37% 59% 38%
Requested increase over FY 1988 Budget 10% 20% 63% 107% 139%
a. Estimates of annual expenses of lhe House Post Office is hampered by expense reporting practices of lhe House of Rcpresentalives. An effort has been made 10 estimate lhe expenses by
fiscal year, bul Ibis budget may nol be exhaustive and may exdude items which should properly be charged lo the operation of the House Post Office. The lacl; of rdiable annual budget 101.11.ls
prevents cost effectiveness and efficiency comparisons with similar internal mail systems at other public and private ins1i1u1ions.
b. Source: Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommillee Prints.
c. House Report 102-579.
d. Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill FY 1991: Subcommiuee Print.
e. Clerk Donna Id K. Anderson leuer to Rep. Vic Fazio, Chairman Subcommillcc on t....:gislalive Branch Appropriations, January I 0, 1992 - $360,000; Clerk Donna Id K. Anderson lcller lo
Rep. Vic Fazio October 17, 1991 - $23,000. (Ex. 41)
f. Figures provided by lhe Office of Finance; includes payments for telephone service, purchases from Offi.:e Supply Service, and fuel purchased from lh" Architect of the Capitol.
g. Office Supply Service $50,745; Phone charges $6,673 .74; other charges not available.
h. Office Supply Service $26,623; Phone charges $5,034.59; other charges not provided by Office of Finance.
1. Office Supply Service $46,075; Phone charges $12,522.42; other charges not provided by Office of Finance.
j. Includes purchase of Aulomaled Mail Sorting Equipment necessary for Franked Mail Accountability.
COMPARISON OF HOUSE OFFICER PERSONNEL EXPENDITURES FOR FISCAL YEARS 1986 to 1992
OFFICER 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
Clerk
13,068,792 14,265,000 14,917,000 15,905,000 17,269,000 19,300,000 20,860,000
Doorkeeper
6,390,846 7,081,000 7,915,000 7,525,000 8,625,000 9,200,000 10,013,000
Sgt-at-Arms*
17,983,433 20,886,000 21,180,000 951,000 987,000 1,200,000 1,288,000
Postmaster
1,985, 775 2,304,000 2,517,000 2,610,000 2,986,000 3,275,000 4,377,000
COMPARISON OF HOUSE OFFICER PERSONNEL CHANGES FOR FISCAL YEARS 1986 TO 1992
OFFICER 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990
Clerk
501 480 503 537 527
Doorkeeper
377 333 389 378 364
Sgt-at-Arms*
667 644 645 22 22
Postmaster
131 120 130 131 148
Source: Subcommittee Print, Legislative Branch Appropriation Bill, Fiscal Years 1988-93
• Until 1989, Sergeant at Arms personnel included Capitol Police Officers.
1991 1992
562 559
383 384
23 23
152 160
Increase
over FY
1989
31 .15%
33.06%
35.44%
67.70%
Increase
over FY
1989
4.10%
1.59%
4.55%
22.14%
Page 38
Total 6
year
change
59.62%
56.68%
-92.84% '
120.42%
Total 6
year
change
11.58%
1.86%
-96.55%'
22.14%
C. Reorganizations
Task Force Report
Page 39
Oversight staff urged the House Postmaster to "think big" in Post Office
reorganizations, ostensibly to conform the House Post Office with Fair Labor
Standards Act requirements, but the result was significant salary increases for
management, new management positions for patronage appointees, and
overstaffing.
A significant portion of
the rising budget cost was for
salary increases for Post Office
management staff. Two
successive reorganizations were
undertaken in 1990 and 1991,
ostensively to bring the House
Post Office in line with the
requirements of t h ~ Fair Labor
Standards Act. The only
substantive change in the House
Post Office, other than
substantial raises for management
and new patronage positions, was
$900,000 ]
$800.000
$700,000
I
  6 0 0 . 0 0 0 ~
$500,000
$400,000
$300,000
s200.ooo I
$100,000
the drafting of job titles for all positions.
Management Expense
Salary Increases and New Positions
11188 1990 1 ill2 11193 Esl
Asked to comment about the reorganizations of the House Post Office, an employee
responded:
"I don't think it's very positive. The people who were already making top
dollars have more money ..... It was mostly all the top management, top-level
people, you know. Anyone making at least maybe $25 ,000 and up [got the
raises.] And things didn't change any. It seemed like the people who were
already making top dollar just went further up and did less work."
It is not clear whether the reorganizations were in response to the Postmaster's
concerns or initiated by the Subcommittee on Personnel and Police. Chief of Staff
O'Rourke, who worked most closely with the Subcommittee on Personnel and Police, was
not available to answer questions regarding the intent of the 1990 and 1991 reorganizations.
The Task Force must rely on testimony of other House Post Office employees and trends in
Task Force Report
Page 40
House Post Office budget requests and patronage positions to discern the possible intent of
the House Post Office reorganizations.
50
At the first phase of the reorganization in 1990, Postmaster Rota initially requested a
$1. 2 million increase in annual personnel costs. During the second phase in 1991, Rota
requested another increase of $961,681.
Although the Republican Subcommittee staff was provided an opportunity to review
and evaluate the proposals, the day-to-day operation and management responsibilities for
drafting the reorganization plans were directed by the Democratic staff. The Republican
staff offered reductions in the reorganization proposal.
The Subcommittee eventually cut Rota's requested $1.2 million annual increase to
$183,250 and the 1991 increase of $961,681 to $362,846. The Subcommittee cut the
number of requested new positions from 55 to 9. In all, the total proposed reorganization
plan was reduced by 57 percent to $546,096 from the more than $1.2 million originally
requested.
Using 1988 salary and budget information as a baseline, a pattern becomes apparent
that the House Post Office budget was expanded to accommodate additional high-paying
patronage management positions.
The run-up in the salary of Joanna O'Rourke is an example of the effect of the
reorganizations of the House Post Office. In 1988, as a top staff person in the House Post
Office, Joanna O'Rourke was Executive Assistant to the Postmaster with a salary of $33, 750.
By 1992, Joanna O'Rourke's position was renamed Chief of Staff and her salary raised to
$83,000 annually.
In raising O'Rourke's salary 146% in four years, the ceiling value of any patronage
management position in the House Post Office was raised from about $30,000 in 1988 to
$80,000 in 1992. Mrs. O'Rourke's salary increase allowed the creation of numerous
"middle management" patronage positions worth $50,000 to $60,000 or more annually.
In an interview with the Task Force, Niki Risenhoover testified that:
"my understanding is that the reorganization was the work of Joe Grimes, not
Mr. Rota. I mean, he may have requested that the new positions be done, but
I think they pretty much had decided who was going to get what, what was
going to stay inside the Postmaster's Office, what people would be promoted
to new positions and what positions would be held open."
50
The Deputy Postmaster recently told U.S. Postal Inspectors and Capitol Police that the reorganiz.ation
plan was not what the House Post Office management had asked for. "We were told by the Subcommittee on
Personnel and Police to 'think big',• she said.
Task Force Report
Page 41
Examples of what Niki Risenhoover referred to, the creation of positions by the
Subcommittee in the House Post Office earmarked for certain persons, might include:
o David Dunn, a former local mayor in Rep. Oakar's congressional district was hired
into a patronage position in the House Post Office with a 1992 salary of $57 ,000;
o Jerry Sywyj, former campaign, district office, Washington, D.C. personal office, and
Subcommittee on Personnel and Police staffer for Rep. Oakar, was hired into a
patronage position in the House Post Office with a 1992 salary of $51,000;
o Hedi Anne Grimes, wife of Joe Grimes, Rep. Oakar's Subcommittee on Personnel
and Police staff director, was hired into a patronage position in the House Post Office
with a 1992 salary of $51,000.
The accompanying chart, Management Salary Roster, indicates the expansion of
patronage positions and salaries. Using 1988 as a baseline, the last year of Rep. Leon
Panetta's chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Personnel and Police, House Post Office
management payroll has increased 343 pe1cent.
MANAGEMENT SALARY ROSTER
Source: Clerk's Report
I I
1988
I
1989
I
1990
I
1991
I
1992
I
Collins 56,005 59,406 62,686 87,333 90,666
O'Rourke 33, 757 38,925 39,668 79,548 82,881
Lawson 22,632 29,744 47,088 56,984
Dunn 28,741 47, 162 56,984
Lozito 30,999 33,497 36, 169 48,988 56,984
Smith 25,891 32,535 36,755 50,467 56,984
Grimes 48, 136 50, 158
Sywyj 48, 136 50, 158
Robinson 17,023 21,115 23,382 42,341 50, 158
Bradford 48, 136 50, 158
Carter 18,327 35, 179 39,396 58,471 50, 158
Switzer 16,936 21,971 24,549 29,515 30,219
Total 198,938 265,260 321,090 635,321 682,492
Task Force Report
Page 42
D. Personnel
Postmaster had no authority to hire or fire patronage employees,- of the 160
Post Office employees approved by the Democratic Personnel Committee, two
are Republican sponsored,- interference by cenain Members' offices prevented
appropriate personnel actions and led to inappropriate job assignments
including functionally illiterate persons saning mail and individuals with no
computers skills working as systems operators,- inability of management to take
appropriate personnel actions and political favoritism contributed to the
frustration of many capable House Post Office employees.
Numerous witnesses, including Postmaster Rota, cited major deficiencies in the way
employees were hired, disciplined, and suspended or terminated. Basically, Postmaster Rota
and the supervisory staff had little, if any, control over their employees. To hire, the
Postmaster would inform the Democratic Personnel Committee as positions became available.
The House Postmaster would await word from the Democratic Personnel Committee on the
individual selected for the positions.
A study conducted in 1989 by the Democratic 'itaff of the House Administration
Subcommittee on Personnel and Police, described various personnel actions in the House
Post Office since 1972.
In 1972, the year Robert Rota became House Postmaster, the House Post Office had a
staff of 88 persons. During the following years, staff growth increased as follows:
YEAR
1972
1974
1978
1981
1983
1984
1985
1986
1989
1990
1991
PERMANENT STAFF
88 positions
94 positions
99 positions
109 positions
109 positions
112 positions
129 positions
131 positions
151 positions
154 positions
160 positions
ACTIONS TAKEN
Rota appointed Postmaster
six security scanners were added
additional of five mail clerks
10 mail clerk positions added
20 temporary mail clerks--90 day appts.
add three administrative staff
17 temporary mail clerks--60-day appts.
20 temporary mail clerks--60-day appts.
17 additional positions
two additional positions
20 mail clerk positions added (12/89)
12 temp. (six month) mail clerks (2/89)
40 temp. (six month) mail clerks (5/89)
three management positions added
29 positions reclassified to comply with Fair
Labor Standards requirements
six new administrative positions
34 positions reclassified to comply with Fair
Labor Standards requirements
Task Force Report
Page 43
In 1972 the annual payroll costs of the House Post Office was approximately
$910,895. By Fiscal Year 1992 the cost had risen to $3,920,655--a 330 percent increase in
salary costs in 20 years.
Individuals were not
assigned these positions based
upon their experience or
qualifications. The Democratic
Personnel Committee's decisions
were based on Members'
requests to appoint individuals.
While the Democratic
Personnel Committee approved
the patronage requests of both
Democrats and Republicans, of
the 160 individuals employed by
the House Post Office in 1991,
the Task Force identified only
two as Republican patronage
appointees. Willie Bradford,
Director for Mail Accountability,
was approved by the Democratic
Personnel Committee in August
1991 under Republican
sponsorship. The other
Republican appointee, Kenneth
Waggoner, has been working
with the House Post Office since
1982.
The more powerful the
May 14, 1985
Honorable lml::ili Jlllllll
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr.
I appreciate your bringini to mi
attention the interest of Miss Jll
i in securing a position in the Offi ce
of t he Postmaster. As a ll the positions
in the Office of the Postmaster are
patronage ones, with openings filled by
the Democratic Personnel Committee, I
would respectfully suggest that you
contact them concerniLg employment for
Miss llllll·
If I can be of further assistance to
you with regard to Miss 1iti11
1
please do
not hesitate to call me.
With best wishes, I am
Sincerely,
ROBERT V. ROTA, Postmaster
U.S. House of Representatives
Letter from Mr. Rota to a Member explaining the Post Office
hiring process (emphasis added)
patron or sponsor of the individual, the less control Postmaster Rota or others would have
over the employee. This inability to appoint qualified and competent individuals adversely
affected all areas of the House Post Office. ·It lead to a lack of professionalism, inefficiency,
incompetency, abuse of leave and absenteeism and considerable frustration among many
capable employees seeking to advance in the House Post Office.
Several witnesses testified they worked hard, did their job well, and made positive
contributions to the House Post Office, but were never given the chance to apply for
advancement. Instead, higher
positions would be filled with new
employees by the Democratic
Personnel Committee.
During summer months,
the House Post Office experienced
an influx of temporary employees
through the patronage system.
Witnesses testified that House
Post Office employees who had
occupied a position for eight or
nine months were notified that
their patronage was ended, thus
creating a vacancy to be filled by
a summer hire. Summer hires
were most frequently students
who were working during their
summer vacations.
51
Nearly all training in the
House Post Office was "on the
job" training. The influx of
summer hires meant that the
continuing work force had to
Honorable Jack Brooks
Chairman
Democratic Personnel Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
I would like to recommend
Task Force Report
Page 44
for a position in the Office
of the Postmaster. is a
hard-working individual and would be an asset
to the operations of the Off ice of the
Postmaster.
I am attaching a copy of ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ·  
application form.
Thank you for any assistance you can
give me in this matter.
With best wishes, I am
Sincerely yours,
Member of Congress
House Post Office form letter for a Member to make a House Post
Office patronage appointment.
perform their own work, as well as to train the temporary replacements, creating the need
for a work force substantially larger in size than would be required for a work force with
less turnover.
51
For example, in 1983 Postmaster Rota requested 20 temporary mail clerk positions for up to 90 day
appointments; in 1984, 37 temporary positions for 60 day appointments; and in 1989, 63 temporary positions
for up to 120 day appointments. See listing page 42.
1. Overtime
Task Force Report
Page 45
Substantial payments may have been made for overtime hours that were
not worked; lack of complete accounting information prevents a
determination of actual overtime costs and further investigation is
necessary to determine the extent of false or fraudulent use of overtime
and compensatory time by the House Post Office.
In 1991, House Post Office management certified 18,460 overtime hours at an
estimated cost of $170,390.
52
A review of the use of overtime and related compensatory
time showed several questionable certifications of overtime approved by the Postmaster.
These include:
a) The award, by the Postmaster, of overtime hours in lieu of a monetary award
in support of the Employee Suggestion Program.
53
b) The award of overtime to reimburse employees for expense incurred on
official duty such as:
54
o Metro fares
o Gasoline for private vehicles used on official business
o Value of clothing damaged during official activities.
The House Post Office used overtime payments to supplement the basic compensation
of employees for reasons of assignment, quality of work or possible favoritism. Selected
examples of this practice include:
o The routine award of three hours of overtime daily to an employee assigned to
special courier duty.
o The recorded allocation of obligated blocks of overtime hours to selected
employees for a three month period in advance.
55
52
The estimate was determined from House Post Office monthly records of overtime. The total hours
were multiplied by the overtime payment rate of $9.23/hr.
53
See Ex. 33, Employee Suggestions and Related House Vouchers, March 7-22, 1988. For example,
Postmaster Rota awarded a 25 hour overtime voucher to an employee suggestion.
54
Democratic staff investigation interview summaries and Task Force staff interviews.
ss Ex. 34, House Post Office Records of Overtime Allocation.
Task Force Report
Page 46
The Postmaster's policy of allowing supervisors at any level (including acting
supervisors) to authorize overtime for unit employees, including themselves, with little or no
management oversight or control, led to misuse, abuse or undetected errors in overtime
records. For example:
a) One employee, Jerry Carter, Director of Transportation, accumulated, by his
own authorization, 2, 706 hours of compensatory time for ten months between
June 18, 1991 and May 1, 1992.
b) A limited review of employment records of employees assigned to the "Early
Morning Shift" from May 23, 1991 to July 3, 1991 discloses 40 instances
where the supervisor reported overtime worked by employees that was not
supported by any time card entries.
56
c) One supervisor stated that he was instructed by his superior to report overtime
for certain employees under his supervision. This was done even though he
had no knowledge of any overtime work performed by the employee.
Certain policies of the Postmaster relating to compensatory time and work hours
contributed to the escalation of the need for overtime.
Compensatory time, in lieu of overtime payments, is mandatory for employees above
HS Level 3 and optional for HS Level 3 and under. Compensatory time is redeemable at 1
1
/2
times the actual hours earned. Employees have the option for this time to be credited to
either annual or sick leave. The House Post Office established no limit on the number of
compensatory leave hours that employees can accumulate or carry over to the following year.
This benefit, when added to the basic accumulation of regular, annual and sick leave, creates
an exceedingly large leave ratio throughout the work force. The result of this policy is
shown in an analysis of leave/overtime usage on February 10, 1992, which shows 29 percent
of assigned employees on leave and 25.8 percent working overtime.
57
There was no standard process for reporting compensatory time. Deficient recording
of compensatory time use and accrual resulted in a loss of management information about
j
6
Ex. 37. February 26, 1992 report of 11:00 pm to 7:00 am of discrepancies between daily time reports
and time cards.
57
Ex. 37, Task Force Draft Overtime/Leave Summary, February 10, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 47
work and leave hours. Compensatory leave time credited, although a direct result of
overtime worked, is not reported as overtime or direct compensation for the period earned.
The ultimate obligation of this time is either as annual or sick leave, at the option of the
employee when the leave is taken.
An upward pressure on House Post Office overtime costs was exerted by the policy of
an eight-hour work day which included a one hour paid lunch period. This policy reduced
the productive time to seven hours per eight hours paid. Many employees would leave after
seven hours because they did not take a lunch break. The result is a direct loss of five hours
per employee per week. Problems created by this shortened workday were particularly
noticeable in the stamp counter service and certain mail processing positions. These
positions required overtime payments just to meet basic hours of service.
The policy of eight hours pay for seven hours work has been addressed by Acting
Postmaster Shinay. Employees now put in an eight hour work day. The resulting increase
in productivity has permitted a reorganization of the mail sorting operation to eliminate the
overnight mail shift and 30 mail clerk positions. Although the effect of this change on
overtime costs is not yet confirmed, the reduction of positions due to over staffing should
result in a savings of at least $450,000 annually.
2. Ghost Employees
The Task Force investigated repons of House Post Office employees
who were paid for work not performed or time they were not present.
Considerable attention was given by the Task Force to the issue of so-called "ghost
employees," i.e. the existence of "no-show" employees. Numerous witnesses interviewed by
the Task Force raised and openly discussed their concerns about certain employees and their
belief that they were paid for work not performed or time when they were not present.
The Task Force, after review of testimony and additional information obtained from
Postmaster Shinay, has not identified any names on the staff roster that are false or fake
identities during the time covered by this investigation.
However, significant testimony was obtained that suggests that some few employees
may have been paid for time and work they did not do in the House Post Office. Two
individuals were repeatedly reported to the Task Force as falling into the "no-show"
category. They were: Owen Marley (Assistant Director for Security, $23,027.00 annually),
and Lee Head ($20,665.00 annually).
These individuals were absent from the House Post Office a significant amount of
time, according to their coworkers; neither, however, was docked pay. Lee Head was
recently terminated by Postmaster Shinay. During Postmaster Shinay's tenure, Owen Marley
has been present in the House Post Office performing assigned duties.
E. Drug Allegations
Task Force Report
Page 48
Alleged illegal drug activity in the House Post Office is under investigation by
the Capitol Police and the DOI.
Alleged illegal drug activity in the House Post Office is under investigation by the
Capitol Police and the DOJ. The Task Force investigation in this area was limited, because
of the ongoing criminal investigation of the DOJ and the Capitol Police, who are more
properly equipped to investigate criminal activities. As of the date of this report, former
House Post Office employees Niki Risenhoover and Wendell Magruder have been indicted
for drug related offenses. Each has entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney.
The Task Force inquiry is limited to: 1) how widespread was the problem of drug use
and sales; 2) response by management to reports of drug use and drug paraphernalia discover
in the House Post Office; 3) management's implementation of the Capitol Hill drug policy;
and 4) the effectiveness of the Capitol Hill drug policy and rehabilitation services available to
employees.
The Task Force determined there was little, if any, implementation of current Capitol
Hill drug policy or any program of education and rehabilitation. Witnesses complained about
lack of response to reported drug use and drug paraphernalia. Complaints by two female
employees who received direct threats of physical harm to them and their families as a result
of reporting alleged drug use and sales were ignored. This matter was not resolved until the
complaints were brought to the attention of the Task Force.
F. Special Post Office Services
1. Check Cashing
House Post Office check cashing policy permitted cenain Members,
lobbyists, staff, and Post Office employees to cash personal checks;
personal checks were cashed but not deposited for several weeks.
Although USPS Regulations prohibit the acceptance of personal checks for other than
the face amount of purchase,
58
the House Post Office cashed personal and payroll checks if
a customer presented proper identification. Prior to September 1991, there was no evidence
of a standard policy for cashing checks in the House Post Office. A written policy was
instituted by Postmaster Rota, as a result of the July 1991 audit recommendation by the
USPIS that all stamp counter clerks "include identification of accepting employee, restrictive
58
Ex. 29, Sec. 311.12, USPS Handbook F-1, Post Office Accounting Procedures, April 1991. Postal
Handbook Fl Section 435 limits the retention of cash overnight by each clerk to no more than $100.
Task Force Report
Page 49
endorsement, and round dating at the time of acceptance".
59
However, during interviews
with the Task Force, several employees did not have a clear understanding of the current
policy.
Due to the lack of standard policy, check acceptance and cashing practices varied
among counter clerks. Personal checks, campaign committee checks, cash and vouchers
were accepted as payment for Postal charges and services as long as the individual had a
House employee identification card. The Task Force also received testimony that personal
checks and payroll checks were being cashed. Numerous House Post Office employees
stated they had received cash for personal or payroll checks from the stamp counter clerks
and that checks were held for certain House Post Office employees.
USPS Regulations state that "personal checks may be accepted as payment for all
Postal charges and services except money orders and COD's." USPS Handbook Fl also
states that "Treasury checks may be cashed provided sufficient funds are available.
Postmasters are not authorized to withhold, for the purpose of cashing Treasury checks,
funds that should be deposited". SEC 143.11 Fl further states that Postal funds "cannot be
used to cash personal checks. "
Findings of the September 1991 audit completed by the USPIS also indicated that
deposits were not made on a frequent basis, thus increasing the possibility of excessive funds
being held. When the Capitol Police investigated Edward Pogue, they found an undated and
unendorsed personal check from Jerry Carter, Director of Transportation, for $500.00. Mr.
Carter's check may be an indication of an unauthorized loan made from the stamp counter
accountability.
Each month the House Post Office would receive a listing from the USPS of
individuals that had bounced checks in the House Post Office, so that if an employee ever
bounced a check, he or she would not be allowed to cash another.
60
59
See Ex. 28, p. 6.
00
Paul Lozito testimony, 3/23/92.
2. Post Office Box Service
Task Force Report
Page 50
House Post Office couriers collected campaign mail from Brentwood
Post Office boxes for a number of Members and others and delivered
the mail to Congressional offices.
The House Post Office serviced USPS Post Office boxes for the campaign committees
of certain Members at the Brentwood Post Office facility, generally when requested by these
Members. The House Post Office assisted some Members in setting up the Post Office
boxes, and the passport couriers would regularly pick up the mail from the Post Office boxes
and bring it back to the House, bypassing the X-ray security scanners used to examine all
incoming mail. The mail was then delivered directly to the Member ' s office.
Postmaster Rota testified that the practice began a few years after he became
Postmaster, approximately the mid - 1970's, when Rep. Frank Annunzio was the Chairman
of the Subcommittee on Personnel and Police.
61
Postmaster Rota stated that David
Sharman, then staff director of the Subcommittee, became concerned that campaign checks
were being mailed to House offices. Mr. Sharman suggested that Postmaster Rota should set
up Post Office boxes at the Washington, D.C. Main Post Office at Union Station, pick up
the mail in those Post Office boxes and notify the Member's office.
62
The Post Office
boxes were eventually moved to the Brentwood Post Office when the Union Station Post
Office was closed.
The practice of maintaining Post Office boxes for Members' campaign committees has
continued over the years. For example, Joseph Grimes, Rep. Mary Rose Dakar's Staff
Director of the Subcommittee, said he understood that the practice was inherited from the
previous Staff Director. Mr. Grimes said that he made arrangements to renew the Post
Office box for Rep. Oakar and that the rental fee was paid for with a check from the Oakar
campaign committee. Similarly, Grace Waters of Rep. Mavroules' staff said that a Post
Office box existed when she became responsible for her office.
During interviews with the Task Force, several current House Post Office employees
testified that they were still maintained into early 1992. The passport couriers were directed
to pick up the mail from the Post Office boxes once or twice a week, usually by Joanna
O'Rourke. Jay Jenkins, a passport courier, stated that often a Member's staff would call to
check to see if the Post Office box had been emptied when the Member was having a fund
raiser, and he was sometimes asked by Joanna O'Rourke to check the Post Office box every
61
Rota testimony, p. 118.
62
Rota testimony, pg. 121.
Task Force Report
Page 51
day.
63
House Post Office personnel kept the keys to Post Office boxes on a ring in a desk
drawer and whoever emptied the boxes on a given day would take the ring of keys.
Griff Williams noted that the Post Office boxes would be particularly full when the
Member would be having a fund raiser. Although the Post Office vehicles often traveled to
Brentwood to replenish stamp supplies, the couriers reported that servicing the Post Office
boxes often required an extra trip. Indeed, one courier, Mr. Williams, refused to continue
picking up the mail from the Post Office boxes, once he discovered the Post Office boxes
were campaign oriented.
Joseph Grimes and Nancy
Collins both stated that they
believe they had been told that the
Committee on Standards of
Official Conduct had been
consulted on the propriety of
maintaining the Post Office boxes.
The Task Force <.."Sked the
Committee on Standards to
determine if it had addressed the
issue. The Committee replied that
it had no record of a request
regarding this service for the
period between 1986 and 1991.
64
Postmaster Rota estimated
that as many as 25 such Post
Office boxes could have existed
over the years. Joseph Grimes
said that he had heard there were
"dozens." In March, 1992, the
couriers stated that they were
The following are P.O. Boxes at the Main Post Office which we are
responsible for picking up and delivering to the Congressman's Office:
P.O. Box Congressman Contact Person Room
Brentwood:
90187 Ferdnand St Germain Jean Jones 2108
90636 Mary Rose Oakar Joe Grimes 2231
90622 Ralph Welch N/A He picks up
90536 Samuel Stratton Mary Leslie 2205
90642 Nicholas Mavroules 2432
90204 Mario Biaggi Moya Benoit 2428
90643 Bob Hamilton N/A He pks up
Union Station
2169 American Leaders Fund Charlie Mellody or
Trish Nelson H- 1 57
2974 Jan Meyers Mike Murray 315
This House Post Office memo dates from 1988 or before, as Reps.
St. Germain, Stratton, and Biaggi were not Members after 1988,
and Rep. Jan Meyers discontinued her P.O. box in October, 1988.
servicing Post Office boxes for Rep. Nicholas Mavroules, Rep. Dennis M. Hertel, Rep.
Mary Rose Oakar, Rep. Jim Moody, and Rep. Edward F. Feighan.
65
USPS receipts and
63
Jenkins testimony, March 24, 1992.
64
Ex. 39, Task Force to Ethics Committee Letter, June 8, 1992; Ethics Committee to Task Force Letter,
June 15, 1992.
65
Williams testimony, March 19, 1992, and Jenkins testimony, March 24, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 52
documents retained by the House Post Office recorded Post Office boxes at Brentwood Post
Office held by Rep. Mario Biaggi, Rep. Edward F. Feighan, Rep. Dennis Hertel, Rep.
Nicholas Mavroules, Rep. Jim Moody, Rep. Mary Rose Oakar, Rep. Fernand St. Gennain,
Rep. Samuel Stratton, Bob Hamilton, Ralph Welch and Peter Abair. USPS receipts and
documents retained by the House Post Office recorded Post Office boxes at Union Station for
the American Leaders Fund (a leadership PAC reportedly controlled by Rep. Dan
· Rostenkowski)
66
and Rep. Jan Meyers.
Federal criminal law,
67
states that campaign contributions may not be received "in
any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties." However, it is the view
of the Task Force that simply renting a U.S. Post Office box for campaign mail is not a
violation. The Post Office boxes may become a concern when House employees are utilized
to service the campaign Post Office boxes.
3. Passport Service
Couriers provide ser-vice for foreign travel visas and U.S. passpons to
Members, staff, and constituents; couriers provide transponation to and
from the passpon office.
The House Post Office passport service, which is currently staffed by two employees,
assists Members, Members' families, House staff and constituents in obtaining passports and
visas for overseas travel. Upon request, the House Post Office provides the necessary fonns
and instructions for the applicant. This service was provided in conjunction with the State
Department Congressional Liaison office. Members could learn about the service through a
"Dear Colleague" letter and the Congressional Handbook.
The applications are collected and taken to the Passport Office daily at 2:00 pm. If it
is necessary for the applicant to appear in person at the Passport Office, transportation is
provided by official vehicles. Completed passports and visas are returned for delivery to the
requesting office or pick up at the House Post Office. The courier service would also pick
up requests related to non-official business if a letter was submitted to the Postmaster. The
daily schedule also includes an 11 :00 am run to the embassies with Members' forms for visa
applications.
The service is frequently helpful to the Foreign Affairs Committee members.
68
66
R. Baker, The New Fat Cats A Twentieth Century Fund Paper, 1989, p. 78.
67
Ex. 40, 18 U.S.C. § 607. There are no reported court decisions interpreting this section. See also, U.S.
House of Representatives, House Ethics Manual, 1992, p. 285.
68
fa. 42. House Post Office Passport and Visa Service Report, [ 990.
4. Transportation For Non-official Business
Task Force Report
Page 53
Personal transponation was provided to some Members and their staff,
cenain former Members, and House Post Office staff in Post Office
vehicles.
The Task Force found evidence that the House Post Office vehicles were also used
for non-official business. The House Post Office used two vehicles, a GMC Suburban and a
van used for the passport couriers and other deliveries. The vehicles were reported to have
been used to drive certain Members, former Members and lobbyists to the airport, when
requested by the user.
69
Couriers stated they were often asked by Jerry Carter and Joanna
O'Rourke to drop off packages not related to any official duty at various destinations in the
city.
House Post Office staff stated that a log of miles on the House Post Office vehicles
had been maintained since 1989. However, the only log book obtained by the Task Force
contained a record of mileage from November 5, 1990, to May 23, 1991, and did not record
destination.
Postmaster Rota and House Post Office employees stated that the Director of
Transportation, Jerry Carter, was Postmaster Rota's personal driver. Mr. Carter would
drive Postmaster Rota to various meetings and functions, including after hours receptions and
fund raisers. Mr. Carter and other drivers also drove special errands at the request of
Postmaster Rota and frequently drove downtown to pick up Mr. Rota's lunch. One driver
stated he picked up liquor from either the Italian Embassy or a Mr. Solomne at the National
American Italian Foundation. The liquor would be delivered to either Postmaster Rota's
office or shuttled from the Italian Embassy to Mr. Solomne.
Documents from Jerry Carter's files suggested other non-official errands that may
have been performed by House Post Office employees. Jerry Carter was generally not
cooperative with the Task Force and the Task Force heard no direct testimony concerning
who directed Jerry Carter to make these errands. The Task Force simply has copies of notes
of instructions for Jerry Carter to perform two errands.
70
In the first instruction note, Jerry Carter is directed to make a delivery to Falls
Church, Virginia, and pick up a check "made out to Virginia Fletcher, 21 ll Rayburn
Building, Washington, D.C. 20515."
69
Williams, Rota testimony, pg. 117.
711
Ex. 46, Instructions and directions to Jerry Carter for personal errands and deliveries.
Task Force Report
Page 54
In the second instruction note, Jerry Carter is to deliver a dress to Susan Geiger,
Attorney, Law Firm of: Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis and Holman, 1735 New York Avenue,
Suite 500." 1991 Washington Representatives identifies Susan Geiger as a registered U.S.
Congress lobbyist. On June 13, 1992, Congressional Quarterly reported that Virginia
Fletcher "a top aide to Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski has earned almost
$100,000 over the past five years by selling clothing to women, including lobbyists with
business before her powerful boss' committee."
Because of objections by the Democratic staff, the Task Force did not interview
Virginia Fletcher and therefore cannot confirm whether these errands were performed by
Jerry Carter for Virginia Fletcher.
5. Employees Use In Member's Offices
House Post Office employees were used to answer phones and assist in
some Members' personal offices.
One result of the patronage system was that l   ~ o u s e Post Office personnel were
sometimes directed by supervisors to perform tasks not related to the operation of the House
Post Office. The Task Force received reports that House Post Office employees were asked
to answer phones in certain Members' offices during staff parties and fund raising receptions,
calendars were sent down to the House Post Office to be stamped with the Member's
signature by House Post Office employees, and House Post Office employees provided rides
to National Airport and downtown Washington.
While these activities were clearly not Postal activities and are not a recommended
use of House employees, they are not inconsistent with demands made upon employees
serving under the patronage system. Such activities should no longer be undertaken by
House Post Office employees. House Post Office employees should perform only those tasks
which are reasonably related to the operations of the House Post Office and should report
any requests for unrelated work to their supervisors. Working outside the House Post Office
should not be a consideration for hiring or continued employment.
Task Force Report
Page 55
6. Postmaster's Frank
Use of the Postmaster's frank dropped significantly after the Acting
Postmaster was appointed,- Postmaster Rota mailed non-official mail
and pennitted the use of his frank by some Members.
Many allegations have been made regarding the use of the Postmaster's frank for non-
official mailings. What has been referred to as the Postmaster's mailing list has been
brought up in testimony on numerous occasions. Postmaster Rota used his official frank to
mail "Dear Colleague" letters, and various newspapers and magazines brought to the House
for distribution. Mailings were sent to various groups and individuals, some on Capitol Hill,
but the majority were sent off the Hill to other addresses in Washington, D.C.
These non-
official mailings of
calendars, "Dear
Colleague" letters
and magazines
were referred to
by various
personnel in the
House Post Office.
David Robinson,
Director of
Congressional
Services, was in
charge of this
service for the
Postmaster. He
kept the list of
mailing labels and
Postmaster's Frank
$9,000
February 1991 to May 1992
$8,000
$7,000
$6,000
$5,000
$4,000
$3,000
$2,000
$1,000
Feb 1991 Apr Jun Aug Oct Dec Feb Apr
Franked Mail Accountability began January 3, 1991.
Acting Postmaster Shinay was appointed March 31, 1992
secured the necessary copies. A House Post Office employee testified that he had to watch
that another employee did not take copies of the Federal Register or Congressional Record
for Postmaster Rota's list before he was able to secure them for the intended recipients. The
employee was directed by Postmaster Rota where to send the extra copies.
71
71
Mr. Rota requested 500 copies of "Dear Colleagues" for distribution to all Member offices. The
additional 65 copies were provided to those on the special mailing lists. See Ex. 23, Office of the Postmaster,
page 4.
Task Force Report
Page 56
The "Dear Colleague" mailing list was for special distribution of "Dear Colleagues"
both inside and outside the House. There were four categories of "Dear Colleague"
recipients: 1) those that were mailed all "Dear Colleagues," including "Dear Republican
Colleague" and "Dear Democratic Colleague", 2) those that were mailed all "Dear
Colleagues," but not "Dear Republican Colleague" or "Dear Democratic Colleague", 3) those
that were mailed all but "Dear Democratic Colleagues", and 4) those that were mailed all but
"Dear Republican Colleagues."
Beginning on page 57 are listed the persons and offices for whom Postmaster Rota
bundled, and copied if necessary, all "Dear Colleague" letters that were given to Postmaster
Rota for distribution. It should be noted that a number of Members of the Democratic
leadership and numerous staff of the Democratic leadership received copies of all "Dear
Colleague" letters, including "Dear Republican Colleague" letters. However, no Republican
Member or Republican staff person received copies of "Dear Democratic Colleague" letters.
The individuals, lobbyists, corporations, and labor unions with addresses outside of
the House of Representatives represent persons who received Postmaster Rota's "Dear
Colleague" distribution service at taxpayer's expense, due to the USPS postage charges
incurred by Postmaster Rota's use of the congressional mailing privilege.
72
n fa. 44, Postmaster Rota's Mailing List Address Labels.
Dear Colleague Mailing Labels, 11-26-91
Task Force Report
Page 57
The following persons received all "Dear Colleague" letters, including all "Dear Republican
Colleague" letters and all "Dear Democratic Colleague" letters.
Mr. Marshall L. Lynam
101 D Street. S.E.
Second Floor
Washington, D.C. 20003
Mr. Edward A. Beck ill
Smith. Helms, Mulliss & Moore
1615 L St., N.W. Ste. 1250
Washington, D.C. 20036-5601
Mr. Ron Martinson
Fairfax County Supervisors
Office of the Chairman
4100 Chain Bridge Rd
Fairfax, VA 22030
Ms. Maureen Thibodeau
H-324. U.S. Capitol
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
Honorable Nicholas Mavroules
2432 Rayburn House Office Building
Attn: Kim Macie
Personal
Honorable Donnald K. Anderson
Cleric
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mr. Charlie Mellady
H-157, U.S. Capitol
U.S. House of Representatives
Washingto'n. D.C. 20515
Mr. Fred Hatfield
1341 G Street 2nd Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
Mr. John Gannon
201 C Street. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Mr. Phillip F. Jehle
700 Hall Of The Slates
400 North Capitol Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Honorable Dan Rostenlcowski
Ann: Tom Sneeringer
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mr. Donald J. Kaniewski
Laborers International Union
905 16th Street. N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20006-1765
Honorable David E. Bonior
The Majority Whip
H-107, U.S. Capitol
Mr. Michael E. Grisso
The Pagonis & Donnelly Group
1620 Eye St.. N. E. Suite 202
Washington, D.C. 20006
Honorable Dan Mica
American Council of Life Insurance
1001 Pennsylvania Ave .. N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20004-2599
Mr. Ted Valliere
Ntl. Association of Postmasters
8 Herbert Street
Alexandria. VA 22305-2600
Mr. Robert J. Leonard
1102 LHOB
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
General Hazel W. Johnson-Brown
School of Nursing
George Mason University
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22030
Mr. Gary Hymel
Hill & Knowlton
901 31st Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Mr. Ed Bowley
Ntl. League of Postmasters
1023 N. Royal Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-1569
Col. Jim Littig
Legislative Liaison
United States Anny
B-325 Rayburn HOB
Washington. D.C. 20515
Honorable Vance Hartke
Hartke & Hartke
7637 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church. VA 22043
Mr. Kirk O'Donnell
Akin. Gump, Strauss. Hauer & Feld
1333 New Hampshire Ave.
Washington. D.C. 20036
Honorable William J. Green
1455 Pennsylvania Ave .. N.W.
Suite 575
Washington. D.C. 20004
Dony Ellsworth
Machinists Building
1300 Connecticut Ave .. N .W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Mr. Robert K. Lange
The Boeing Company
1700 N. Moore Street
Rosslyn, VA 22209
Richard F. Keating
Anheuser-Busch Companies
17761 Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Mr. Robert G. Bartlen
National Stone Association
1415 Elliot Place, N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20007
Democratic Study Group
14422 Longworth H.O.B.
Mrs. Evelyn Dubrow
Legislative Director, ILGWU
815 16th Street, N.W., Suite 103
Washington, D.C. 20006
Mr. Edward Willen, Jr.
H2-304
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mr. Moc Biller
American Postal Workers Union
1300 L Street. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Mr. Patrick J. Nilan
American Postal Workers Union
!JOO L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Frank Godfrey
Cassidy & Associates. Inc.
Metropolitan Square. Suite 1100
655 15th Street. N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20005
Robert E. Juliano Associates
I 099 22nd Street. N. W .. Suite 404
Washington. D.C. 20037
Mr. James 0. Freeman or
Mr . Michael G. Troop
USL
1709 New York Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Honorable Kip O'Neill
131019th Street. N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20036
Honorable Leo Zeferetti
Bldg. & Construction Trades Dept .
AFL-CIO
815 16th Street, N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20006
Mr. John Hagarty
Room 10533
475 L'Enfant Plaza
Washington, D.C. 20260
Mr. Paul Van Coverden
Room 10533
475 L'Enfant Plaza
Washington. D.C. 20260
Mr. Jim Dupree
Ford Motor Company
1350 Eye Street, N .W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Mr. Bob Diamond
Lispen. Whitten & Diamond
1725 De Sales St. N. W. 8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
Democratic Caucus
A-306
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Ms . Betsy Glick
NatioMI Association of
Life Underwriten
1922 F Street. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-4387
Mr. Richard L. Crawford
Lispen, Whitten & Diamond
1725 De Sales St. N. W. 8th floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
Mr. Arthur E. Cameron
1111 14th Street. N.W. #1001
Washington. D.C. 20005
Honorable Mike Flaherty
310 North Carolina Ave., S .E.
Washington. D.C. 20003
Honorable Don Edwards
503 Annex I
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
ivlr. William D. Thompson
NatioMl lntergroup Inc.
15751 Street, Ste. 1100
Washington, D.C. 20005
Mr. Timothy H. Scully, Ir.
Int. Brothemood of Teamsters
25 LouisiaM Ave .. N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20001
Mr. James P. Mooney
NtJ Cable Television Assn.
1724 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Honorable John C. Culver
Arnet Fox Kintner Poltkin & Kahn
1050 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Mr. Michael J. Schweder
AT&T
1120 20th Street., N. W. Suite I 000
Washington, D.C. 20036
Mr. Robert M. Howard
Ford Motor Company
1350 I Street , N.W. Suite 1000
Washington, D.C. 20005-3305
Mr. Jack Cum1n
Laborers Int. Union
905 16th Street. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-1765
Honorable Dave Evans
406 Third Street. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Mr. Dean Stoline
Lipsen, Hamberger, Whitten,
& Hamberger
201 Fleecetlower Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Mr. Richard J. Fiest.a
Connerton, Ray & Simpson
1920 L Street, N.W.
Fourth Floor
Washington. D.C. 20036-5004
Task Force Report
Page 58
Honorable DoMld G. Brotzman
Hopkins & Sutter
888 Sixteenth Street. N .E.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Mr. Robert E. Williams
United Airlines
1707 L Street. N .W. Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20036-4202
Honorable John Lewis
Deputy Majority Whip
H-114, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
Attn: Loraine Miller
Mr. E. Phillip Riggin
The American Legion
1608 K Street. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Mr. Gr:int Miller
1800 Diagonal Rd . . Suite 600
Alexandria, VA 22314
Ms. Liz Robbins
Liz Robbins & Associates
420 7th Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003-2707
Mn. Bari>ara Easterling
501 Third Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001-2797
Mr. Andy Glick
American Petroleum Institute
1220 L Street. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Mr. Scott D. Mason
Beer Drinlcers of America
717 2nd Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Mr. Bartley M. O'Hara
1919 Pennsylvania Avenue
Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20006
Mr. George B. Gould
100 Indiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
AT&T
Mr. Robert A. Mon
1120 20th Street, N.W.
Suite 1000
Washington, D.C. 20036
Ms. Jeanne M. Campbell
Campbell - Rupe, Inc .
1010 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Mr. Tom Hipple
Nation.al Assn. of Home Builders
15th & M Streets
Washington, D.C. 20005
Ms. Marilyn Rosenthal
Nation.al Assn. of Home Builders
15th & M Streets
Washington. D.C. 20005
Mr. Michael Clark
ROS 15th Street. N.W. Suite 310
Washington, D.C. 20005
Mr. Bobby Wood
U.S. House of Representatives
105 Cannon H.O.B.
Washington. D.C. 20515
Ms. Rebecca Hartington
101 House Annex #1
Washington. D.C. 20515
Mr. Bert Pen.a
Hopkins & Sutter
888 16th Street. N.W. 7th Floor
Washington. D.C. 20006
Task Force Report
Page 59
Mr. Joseph M. Stanton
Public Securities Assoc.
1000 Vermont Ave., N.W.
Mr. Luoy D. Jones
Brotherhood
of Locomotive Engineers
400 First St.. N.W. Suite 819
Washington, D.C. 20001
The following persons received all "Dear Colleague" letters, but no "Dear Republican
Colleague" letters and no "Dear Democratic Colleague" letters.
Commission on Security &
Cooperation in Europe
H2-237
Washington. D.C. 20515
Mr. John Jenkins
Office of Legislative Operations
HT-13. The Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Select Committee on Narcotics
H2-234
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mr. Joe Fisher
304-A Cannon House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
Mr. Bob McGuire
263 Cannon House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Rules Committee
1627 Longworth House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
Honorable Ray Kogovsek
Kogovsek & Associates
1801 Broadway, Suite 1420
Denver. CO 80203
Honorable William Brown
Office of the Parliamentarian
H-209. U.S. Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Environment.al & Energy
Study Conference
H2-515
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mr. Joel Jankowsky
1333 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.
Suite 400
Washington. D.C. 20036
The following persons received all "Dear Colleague" letters, including all "Dear Republican
Colleague" letters but no "Dear Democratic Colleague" letters.
Honorable Newt Gingrich
U.S. House of Representatives
1620 Longworth H.0.B.
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Guy Vander Jagt
Chaimuin. Ntl. Rep. Cong. Comm.
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Mr. Tim Harroun
H-223 The Capitol
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
Honorable Jerry Lewis
House Republican Conference
1618 Longworth H.O.B.
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
Honorable Robert K. Doman
House Republican Study Cmte.
U.S. House of Representatives
433 Cannon H.O.B.
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Jerry Lewis
Republican Legislative Digest
U.S. House Of Representatives
502 Annex I
Washington. D.C. 20515
Task Force Report
Page 60
The following person received all "Dear Colleague" letters, including all "Dear
Democratic Colleague" letters but no "Dear Republican Colleague" letters.
Mr. Barry Sullivan
House Democratic Cloakroom
H-222. The Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Below are listed persons who were on Postmaster Rota's mailing list to receive
afternoon papers as of December 7, 1991.
Office of the Speaker
U.S. House of Represent.atives
H-204 The Capitol
Attn: Kathy Momet
Ms. Anna Azhdcrian
U.S. House of Representatives
2303 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington. D.C. 20515
Mr. Peter Robinson
U.S. House of Representatives
H-226 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
Ms. Kathy Gille
Office of the Majority Whip
H-107 The Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Honorable John Lewis
The Deputy Whip
U.S. House of Representatives
H-114 The Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Honorable Thomas H. Andrews
U.S. House of Representatives
1724 Longworth House Office Bldg.
Washington. D.C. 20515
Ms. Mimi Mc Gee
Office of the Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
H-209 The Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Mr. George Kundanis
Office of the Speaker
U.S. House of Represcnt.atives
H-209 the Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Mr. George Stephanopoulous
Office of the Majority Leader
U.S . House of Representatives
H-148 The Capitol
Washington. D.C. 20515
Mr. Dallas L. Dendy
Office of the Clerk
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington. D.C. 20515
Included in the appendix are House Post Office copies of the above mailing lists,
along with Postmaster Rota's mailing list for persons outside the House of Representatives
receiving the Federal Register, the Congressional Record and the House Calendar.
A House Post Office memorandum prepared for Acting Postmaster Michael Shinay
reports that publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Times, People, Time,
Spons Illustrated, Fortune, Money, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Week, which were
delivered in bulk to the Post Office and distributed to Congressional offices through the Post
Office, were mailed free of charge to those on the Postmaster's mailing list. Mr. Rota
secured extra copies of the publications and distributed those to people or organizations of his
choosing at no cost to the recipient. The House Post Office memo reports a considerable
loss in revenue and man hours to the House Post Office resulted. One employee testified
that ten Members received their newspapers free. If on a particular day there were not
enough papers, a House Post Office employee would have go out and buy the necessary
number of papers to fill those orders.
Task Force Report
Page 61
The House Post Office management, however, disapproved when the House Post
Office employees took extra copies. Chief of Staff Joanna O'Rourke prepared an employee
disciplinary letter stating that the act of taking extra copies of any publications was a Federal
crime. The letter states that if the action were to occur again the employee would be dealt
with to the full extent of the law.
73
Acting Postmaster
Shinay's use of the Postmaster's
frank is significantly lower in
comparison to Postmaster Rota's
use of the frank. Postmaster
Shinay stated that the only
significant use of the
Postmaster's frank has been for
the State Department Telexes.
After the telexes come into the
House Post Office, they are sent
out under the Postmaster's frank
to the addressed office.
Both Joanna O'Rourke,
Chief of Staff, and Nancy
Collins, Deputy Postmaster,
stated in their first interview with
House Administration Committee
Democratic staff that they knew
some Member's mail went out
under the Postmaster's frank.
Corroborating records were not
available and the Task Force did
not have access to Ms. O'Rourke
or Mr. Rota under oath.
The accompanying
October 29, 1991 letter from
October 29, 1991
Mr. Larry R. Shannon
Administrative Assistant
Office of Honorable Jim Wright
819 Taylor Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Dear Larry:
Thank you for sending me the
autographed picture of Speaker and Mrs.
Wright. I greatly appreciate your
thoughtfulness as I am very fond of Mr.
Wright and always felt that it was an honor
to serve as his Postmaster.
As I recall, you were interested in
Express Mail stamps which currently sell for
$9.95 per stamp, or $199.00 for a sheet of
20 stamps. Because of new policies
initiated for this office, I am no longer
able to mail stamps without first receiving
a voucher._ I am, therefore, enclosing a
voucher form which needs to be completed,
signed and returned to me so that I can
process it immediately. In addition, I am
enclosing Express Mail envelopes and labels.
With best wishes, I am
Sincerely,
ROBERT V. ROTA, Postmaster
U.S. House of Representatives
Letter from Postmaster Rota notifying former Speaker
Wright's ottice of new procedures for stamp procurement.
Postmaster Rota to former Speaker Wright's office indicates that the Postmaster may have
taken steps in late 1991 to curtail improper use of the Postmaster's frank and other House
Post Office accounts.
n Ex. 43. Draft Employee Discipline Letter, O'Rourke.
7. Orange Bags, D-DOP Bags
Task Force Report
Page 62
A House Post Office service for the direct delivery of mail to Members'
district offices.
In the 1970's the House Post Office made arrangements with the USPS to permit
Members to use special orange bags to expedite mail delivery to a Member's district. This
service bypasses the Washington, D.C. Post Office by delivering the orange bags directly to
the National Airport Mail Facility. The bags are then placed on the next available flight
going to the Member's local USPS facility, where they are opened upon receipt and the
individual pieces of mail enter the standard USPS mail stream.
Orange bags are collected along with the regular mail at the scheduled pick-up times
and USPS Regulations state that the orange bag must not weigh over seventy pounds.
First Class franked letters and packages may be mailed via the orange bag service.
Previously the bag was not opened, but simply weighed and treated as a unit. The individual
Member offices were responsible for accounting for the mail. As of April 1, 1992, under
the new franked mail accountability regulations, the orange bags are opened and each piece
of t t   ~ mail is accounted for using the House Post Office's automated accounting equipment.
Non-official mail is then removed from the bags and placed in the regular mail system and
the Member's office is notified.
However, the D-DOP (Direct District Office Pouches) Priority bags are not opened
by the House Post Office. The House Post Office accounts for them as a single piece of first
class priority mail and they are mailed directly to the Member's district office. The D-DOP
bags can be purchased by Members' offices from the Office Supply Service.
Since the commencement of the orange bag service, the standard USPS air transport
service for first class mail has improved greatly. Now the delivery time for a standard first
class letter may actually be quicker than the orange bag service, especially for destinations
east of the Mississippi River.
8. Flower Fund
Profits from soft drink vending machines in the House Post Office, $50
to $80 per month, used to send flowers to employees who were ill or
had a death in their family, and for other purposes.
The House Post Office Chief of Staff maintained a "flower fund" containing profits
accumulated from the House Post Office vending machines. Approximately $50.00 to
$80.00 in receipts was collected per month and when a House Post Office employee had a
death in the family, the fund was used to send flowers as a gesture from the entire House
Post Office.
Task Force Report
Page 63
While the "flower fund" was used for flowers at times, Joanna O'Rourke told the
Democratic investigation staff that the funds had been used to pay for the rental of a
Member's campaign Post Office box and to pay for the repair of clothes damaged in the
House Post Office.
74
The Task Force could not confirm this use, absent Joanna O'Rourke's
testimony.
Joanna O'Rourke maintained the fund as petty cash in a desk drawer until late 1991,
when an account was opened under her name at the Wright Patman Credit Union.
An audit of documents for the Fund showed total receipts for 1991 at $805. 72. By
mid-January 1992, the Credit Union account had a balance of $42.00. In addition there was
$285.00 cash on hand for a total of $327.00. The total of disbursements, based on.
supporting documents, was $226.90, of which only $99.53 was expended on flowers. A
total of $251. 82 was unaccounted for by any supporting documentation.
The fund was maintained in a haphazard manner, with the use of the fund inconsistent
with its intended purpose. For example disbursements were made for the repair of a coat,
cab fare, passport fees, postage, registration fees and office lunches. Mrs. O'Rourke
operated the funrf as a personal petty cash account, determining which expenses to pay and
which not to pay. The Task Force also found that receipts and records were not maintained
so it is impossible to determine the true value of the fund.
Since May 11, 1992, the House Restaurant System has assumed responsibility for the
operation of all vending machines in the House complex, eliminating the source of revenues
for the "Flower Fund."
9. State Department Telex
The House Post Office receives over 200 State Department telexes each
day for delivery on the Hill and to Members' district offices.
In order to speed communications from the Department of State to Members of
Congress, the House Post Office implemented a system to receive telegraphic
communications via an electronic telex machine. Approximately 200 cables are received
each day, and most relate to constituent visa matters. The cables are then directed to
Members of both the House and the Senate or mailed to district offices under the
Postmaster's frank.
Some problems have existed regarding the prompt delivery of the telexes, which have
been brought to the attention of the House Post Office.
74
Democratic staff investigation, O'Rourke interview sununary.
10. Express Mail Account (P-300)
Task Force Report
Page 64
A USPS E.xpress Mail account used by Postmaster Rota for non-official
mail,- Postmaster's E.xpress Mail P-300 account was used by some
Members, staff, and Officers of the House.
A USPS Express Mail Federal agency account was established for Congress in 1978.
The account for the House of Representatives was identified as P-300, and the account of the
Senate was P-301. The original intent of this account was to expedite the transportation of
Members' postal patron newsletters from the congressional offices in Washington to the
congressional districts. Mailings made under this account were billed quarterly to the Clerk
of the House.
Billing was based upon records maintained by the USPS showing date of mailing, zip
code of origin, zip code of destination, and the amount of postage charged.
Use of this account was severely restricted by the implementation of the provisions of
PL 101-520 in January, 1991. The USPS terminated the P-300 account entirely in
September, 1991.
During its existence, the original purpose, that of expediting the Members' postal
patron newsletters, evolved into a two-tiered account with the emergence of the use of
Express Mail for non-bulk mailings. Express Mail using the P-300 account number on the
shipping label would be automatically billed to the Postmaster's Express Mail account.
The USPS identified the P-300 account with two subsets, "A" mailings identifying
Member newsletter drop shipments and "B" mailings identifying non-bulk mailings. Total
charges to this account FY 1988 through FY 1991 amount to $26,751,666.00, of which
$99,676.64 relates to the "B" account.
Use of the "B" or "Postmaster's Express Mail" account was closely controlled by
Postmaster Rota, who, in the late 1980's, restricted access to only those persons authorized
by himself or Joanna O'Rourke. These "approved" mailings were apparently restricted to
relatively few Members and the House Officers. Mail so approved would be brought to the
administrative office of the House Post Office where a label would be typed by either Niki
Risenhoover or Kimberley Scrogum. Niki Risenhoover further stated that Postmaster Rota
and Joanna O'Rourke used the P-300 account for personal business. The account was used
also by Sergeant at Arms and the Doorkeeper. The cost of all P-300 mail was charged to the
Postmaster's account, rather than being charged to the Members' Official Expenses
Allowances.
75
The Task Force examined P-300 receipts for 1989 to 1991 and discovered P-300
receipts that could indicate possible personal use of the P-300 account by House officers and
7
s Ex. 47, P-300 Express Mail Labels.
Task Force Report
Page 65
certain Members. Since the P-300 account was ended in 1991, the Task Force did not
investigate this matter further.
Persons using the P300 account multiple times during the time period of 1989-1990
include:
Rep. Dan Rostenkowski
Postmaster Robert Rota
Doorkeeper James T. Molloy
Sergeant-At-Arms Jack Russ
Rep. Larry Smith
Rep. Mary Rose Oakar
33
17
15
11
11
4
In addition, there are some 70 receipts bearing a return address of the Office of the
Postmaster. Destination addresses of these Express Mail shipments include:
West Publishing Co. (See interv;ew memo - office of Law revision Counsel)
Rep. Larry Smith
Rep. Dan Rostenkowski
Rep. Joe Kolter
Rep. Henry Gonzalez (including 3 to Mrs. Gonzalez)
In addition to Express Mail originating in Washington D.C., USPS records indicate
widespread use at the congressional district level. The exact nature of this use has not been
determined. However, officials at USPS Headquarters advise that any Express Mail
shipment bearing the P-300 account number would probably have been accepted at any USPS
Post Office. This would be particularly true if the sender was known or believed to be
associated with a Member's district office.
11. Stamps For Cash
A lack of standard procedures and failure to follow USPS Regulations
may have permitted some Members' personal and campaign offices to
conven official funds to personal use by exchanging stamps for cash.
While the USPS may, under certain circumstances, exchange damaged USPS stamps
for new stamps, USPS regulations prohibit the exchange of stamps for cash. There have
been various public reports of stamps being exchanged for cash for some Members and
others by House Post Office personnel. If such activity occurred, Official Expenses
Task Force Report
Page 66
Allowance funds may have been turned into cash for possible personal or other use. This
matter is the subject of a continuing Grand Jury investigation.
12. Post Office Security
The lack of a consistent policy for handling complaints and incidents
created security problems.
A review of Security Policy relating to the House Post Office was undertaken as part
of the overall Task Force investigation. The results of the review are addressed in part by a
physical security survey of the Longworth station and the House Post Office administrative
office. Our findings in this regard have been furnished to Postmaster Shinay.
76
In addition, there was no set policy as to proper handling of complaints and incidents
indicating security problems. The Assistant Postmaster for Security, William Lawson, was,
for example, handling complaints for non-receipt mail. In many instances Mr. Lawson
determined that the item in question had been mishandled in the Post Office. In other
instances incidents, such as the loss of Postal Money Orders by stamp counter clerks, would
be referred to the Capitol Police rather than to Pos·::U authorities. Similar situations would
arise concerning the loss, theft, or rifling of mail within the House Post Office.
Considering the above, it is suggested that arrangements be made to coordinate a
defined policy of referral between the House Post Office, the Capitol Police, and the US PIS.
They should jointly develop the necessary guidelines to insure prompt investigation and
attention by the appropriate House authorities.
A major security and safety problem exists at the loading dock of the Longworth
House Office Building at C Street, S.E. and was brought to the attention of Postmaster
Shinay.
77
ill. Other Investigations
A. United States Capitol Police
The Capitol Police investigation and how their role was limited.
On April 26, 1991, Deputy Postmaster Nancy Collins called the Capitol Police to
report a potential theft in the House Post Office. Nancy Collins told Capitol Police Captain
Mack Kennedy, Commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, that Edward Pogue, a
stamp counter clerk, had not reported to work, that USPS Postal Money Orders were
missing, and that mail was on hand with no postage affixed. Nancy Collins suspected that
Edward Pogue may have absconded with funds from his stamp accountability
76
Ex. 48, Task Force Staff Security and Safety Memorandum, July 2, 1992.
n Ex. 48.
Task Force Report
Page 67
Nancy Collins also called the U.S. Postal Inspection Service ("USPIS") to report a
possible shortage and to obtain guidance in handling unmailed letters and packages that had
been found without appropriate postage in Mr. Pogue's stamp drawer.
Captain Kennedy immediately went to the House Post Office in the Longworth
Building and was briefed in the Postmaster's office by the Postmaster Rota, Nancy Collins,
Chief of Staff Joanna O'Rourke, and Assistant Postmaster for Accountability James Smith,
Ed ward Pogue' s supervisor.
78
The Post Office staff briefed the Capitol Police on the course of events leading up to
Mr. Pogue's disappearance and the subsequent discoveries by James Smith, who had opened
the cash and stamp drawer assigned to Mr. Pogue in the Annex II stamp counter. Mr. Smith
reported that the drawer was approximately $6,800 short in cash and stamp stock, and two
blank Postal Money Orders, valued up to $750 each, were missing. Mr. Pogue was the only
individual with access to these funds. An evidence team from the Capitol Police took finger
prints and photographs of the crime scene.
79
Among the items found in Mr. Pogue's
drawer was an undated and unendorsed personal check for $500.00 written by Jerry Carter,
the Director of Transportation.
Based upon the information that had been gathered from the House Post Office, the
Capitol Police considered Mr. Pogue a suspect in the theft of the missing Postal funds. The
Capitol Police believed that Mr. Pogue would attempt to make personal contact with his
family or other individuals close to him and decided that the investigation would await
information on Edward Pogue's whereabouts from friends and family. A warrant for his
arrest was not issued at that time.
It was later learned that on April 24, 1991, Edward Pogue had sold Postal Money
Orders totaling $391. 75. Funds from the sale of these Postal Money Orders were not
remitted. Edward Pogue had collected $77.93 postage for mail but did not affix the postage
and failed to remit the funds. On March 26, 1991, Edward Pogue had used his
accountability to cash his own personal check for $150.00 which was returned due to
insufficient funds.
Postmaster Rota informed Barbara Pogue, Administrative Assistant to Rep. Joe
Gaydos, of the situation. The day before she had been told by House Post Office staff that
78
Kennedy testimony, April 10, 1992, p. 12.
79
Ex. 45, Capitol Police Crime Scene Analysis Report.
Task Force Report
Page 68
her son, Edward Pogue, had not appeared for work and was asked if she might know of his
whereabouts.
80
Citing his continued unscheduled absence, Postmaster Rota terminated Edward Pogue
from employment with the House Post Office on April 30, 1991.
On April 30, 1991, Mr. Pogue telephoned his parents from Puerto Rico and
subsequently returned to Washington, D.C. Capitol Police Detectives Tonya Blake and
Christopher Law informed the U.S. Attorney that the suspect in the theft of the Postal funds
was returning to Washington D.C. This was the first reported Capitol Police contact with
the DOJ regarding the House Post Office investigation.
81
On May 1, upon arriving at Dulles International Airport at 11 :00 pm, Mr. Pogue was
met by Detectives Law and Blake. He was questioned and then allowed to return home with
his parents.
On May 2, 1991, at 10:30 am, Postal Inspector John E. Elder and Detective Blake
interviewed Edward Pogue at USPIS Headquarters. During this interview, Mr. Pogue
admitted his involvement in the missing Postal funds. He made numerous allegations
regarding other House Post Office employees and the handling of Postal funds, regarding
other House Post Office stamp counter clerks and their borrowing, loaning and embezzling of
Postal funds.
82
The DOJ was informed of the information obtained in the interview by the
Capitol Police and, presum.ably, the USPIS.
83
On May 21, Postmaster Rota and Joanna O'Rourke
84
met with Capitol Police
Captain Kennedy and Detective Tonya Blake.
85
The Capitol Police informed them that Mr.
Pogue had implicated other House Post Office employees in the removal of funds from their
cash drawers for their own personal use. The Capitol Police recommended to Postmaster
80
On April 26, Barbara Pogue cooperated with Capitol Police but was concerned with possible media
coverage, such as Roll Call .. An article about the incident finally did appear in Roll Call on August 17, 1991.
81
Kennedy testimony, April 10, 1992, pp. 15-18.
82
Kennedy testimony, April 10, 1992, pp. 24-28.
83
All criminal activity investigated by the Capitol Police is referred for prosecution to either the United
States Attorney or the Corporate Counsel for the District of Columbia. On May 29, 1991, the USPIS sent a
formal presentation letter to Jay B. Stephens, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, referring Mr.
Pogue for prosecution. The USPIS referral to DOJ was based on the USPIS investigation wh.ich began the day
of Mr. Pogue's disappearance.
11o1 Deputy Postmaster Nancy Collins was on vacation at th.is time and did not attend the meeting.
85
Kennedy testimony, April 10, 1992, pp. 27-29.
Task Force Report
Page 69
Rota that the Capitol Police conduct a surprise audit at all stamp counters concurrently on
May 29, 1991.
86
According to Captain Kennedy, Postmaster Rota said he had been aware
of cash difficulties at the Post Office stamp counters for years, but he never had the
resources to conduct an extensive audit or review. Postmaster Rota said that he had to
depend on the Washington D.C. Postmaster to conduct such random reviews. These audits
were conducted at the House Post Office stations once a year by the D. C. Postmaster, a
typical practice for such contract stations.
Postmaster Rota agreed to the audit and Joanna O'Rourke provided the Capitol Police
with a list of all stamp counter personnel. Postmaster Rota said he understood that the audit
information would be made available to the House Post Office management first, and then
might become the basis of a criminal investigation and prosecution.
87
In the early morning of May 29, 1991, USPS personnel met with Capitol Police
officers to familiarize them on stamp count procedures. Charles Wade, U.S. Postal Service
Analyst, served as technical advisor for the Capitol Police audit. Standard USPS procedures
include approaching every stamp counter simultaneously and counting every drawer in the
presence of the stamp counter clerk accountable for the currency and stamps. At the ~ n   of
the individual drawer counts of cash and stamps, the stamp counter clerk and the auditor
certify, by signature, that the count is accurate and all information to the best of their
knowledge has been provided.
At 9:00 am on May 29, eleven Capitol Police Criminal Division Officers arrived at
the five House Post Office stations to begin the surprise audit. The audit was concluded at
approximately 2:00 am on May 30, 17 hours later. The audit discovered a total shortage of
$14,067.41 in the stamp counters.
Detective Blake and Sergeant D' Ambrosio met with Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark
Dubester ("AUSA") on June 4, 1991 to discuss the progress of the investigation. Capitol
Police documents reflect that A USA Dubester told the officers that since the investigation
was in its preliminary stages, there was no reason to release any raw data from the May 29
audit. He said the shortages in the drawers alone were not enough to warrant prosecution of
any of the stamp counter clerks and interviews of the stamp counter clerks would be essential
to the development of the investigation.
86
Postmaster Rota stated that be requested the Capitol Police audit, after discussing the situation with then
House Sergeant-at-Arms, Jack Russ. Captain Kennedy's version of the initiation of the audit is supported by
other testimony and documents.
87
Rota testimony page 27; Kennedy testimony, Pg 27-28.
Task Force Report
Page 70
On June 6, 1991, Postmaster Rota, Nancy Collins, and Joanna O'Rourke met again
with Captain Kennedy and Detective Blake. The Capitol Police explained that nine of the
thirteen employees audited on May 29 had shortages of varying amounts. Based on
instruction by the AUSA, the Capitol Police did not provide individual shortage amounts and
told the House Post Office management that interviews with the employees were essential to
the completion of the investigation.
James Smith
LONGWORTH
D. Risenhoover
Yvonne Welborne
Lorene Marshall
88
Wendell Magruder
RAYBURN
Trent Coleman
Lawson Rogers
Aretha Lewis
89
CANNON
Michael Lupo
Eric Flieger
CAPITOL
June Boydston
Nancy Burton
ANNEX II
Celia Gutierrez
Edward Pogue
90
I
TOTAL
House Post Office Audit Results
Overages and (Shortages)
October 1990 Mav 29. 1991
audit by USPS Capitol Polle. Audit
240.53 751. 13
(140.35) (244.54)
(31. 10) (4, 182.93)
(98.54) 29.90
(31. 10) 408.58
(335.66) 60.89
26.05 20.59
14.22 (1 ,966.60)
(17.61) (239.20)
(6. 12) (1,256.14)
83.87 (310.57)
10.00
119.55 (7, 138.52)
(5,630.93)
I
(166.26)
I
(19,698.34)
I
88
Lorena Marshall was at the Rayburn Station for the July 9 USPIS audit.
89
Aretha Lewis was at the Capitol Station for the July 9, USPIS audit.
Task Force Report
Page 71
July 9, 1991
USPrs Audit
709.28
(107.51)
(10,303. 11)
21 .60
(13,997.30)
(126.36)
89.54
9.94
5.20
59.47
4.06
7.87
(4,285.38)
(5,630.93)
(33,543.63)
I
90
Mr. Pogues's accountability had been counted by the Capitol Police and USPIS in April. No audit
report for Mr. Pogue appears in the October 1990 USPS audit.
Task Force Report
Page 72
Joanna O'Rourke objected to the interview request, stating that the interviews should
be done in the House Post Office in the presence of a House Post Office staff member.
Nancy Collins expressed similar objections, especially with regard to her son-in-law, Eric
Flieger.
Postmaster Rota, nonetheless, agreed with the Capitol Police that the interviews with
House Post Office staff should go forward as the Capitol Police requested. Postmaster Rota
stated that his driver, Jerry Carter, would provide transportation for the employees to the
Capitol Police headquarters and that Joanna O'Rourke would assist with coordination of the
interviews. The interviews were to be conducted over four days beginning on June 11,
1991.
When Postmaster Rota asked the Capitol Police when the audit would be finished and
when a copy would be given to him, the Capitol Police told him that the audit information
had been turned over to the U.S. Attorney. Detective Blake said, "If you want your audit,
call the U.S. Attorney."
Immediately following this June 6, 1991, meeting with the Capitol Police, Postmaster
Rota testified that he met with Heather Foley, the Speaker's Chief of Staff, and Steven Ross,
General Counsel to the Clerk of the House.
91
Postmaster Rota related the meeting which
had just taken place with the Capitol Police and that he had agreed with the Capitol Police
request to interview House Post Office employees. Postmaster Rota said that Mr. Ross told
him that Mr. Rota could not let the Capitol Police interview the employees without the
advice of legal counsel. Mr. Ross told him to call the employees immediately and tell them
they did not have to speak to the Capitol Police if they did not wish to, and that they had the
right to counsel.
Postmaster Rota went to the phone and notified the employees
92
and returned to
speak with Mrs. Foley and Mr. Ross. Postmaster Rota told the Task Force that thereafter
everything he did was by the direction of Mr. Ross. Postmaster Rota said he hand-carried
reports as they became available to the Speaker's office and to Mr. Ross.
93
Mrs. Foley
testified that Mr. Ross kept her informed of developments during the summer and fall of
1991.
91
Mr. Ross testified that be first learned about the Post Office shortages on June 17, eleven days later.
Mr. Rota's recollection of telling Mr. Ross on June 6 was quite specific and is directly supported by other
testimony and documents.
92
Rota testimony, page 36.
93
Rota testimony, page 55.
Task Force Report
Page 73
Mr. Ross was present at the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations
hearing of January 23, 1992, and assisted Mr. Rota in answering questions regarding the
Washington Times story of the previous day. At the hearing, in response to questions from
Subcommittee Chairman Vic Fazio, Postmaster Rota stated "Anything else I will refer to
Steve. "
94
On June 7, there were a number of telephone calls and discussions between various
House Officers and employees which resulted in a meeting being called in Mr. Ross' office
for Monday, June 10, 1991.
On June 10, a meeting took place in Mr. Ross' office with John Caulfield, Steven
Ross, Mike Murray (Ross' assistant), Robert Rota, Joanna O'Rourke, and Nancy Collins. At
the meeting, Mr. Rota requested all materials relative to the Capitol Police audit of the stamp
counter clerks. Postmaster Rota contended that the audit was meant for informational
purposes, not to begin a criminal investigation. The Capitol Police continued to refuse to
turn over information.
Mr. Ross and Mr. Rota stated that there would be no interviews of Post Office
employees until the Capitol Police explained where the investigation was going. The
postponement would give Mr. Rota a chance to make corrections in the House Post Office
before the matter was turned over to prosecutors.
On June 11, House Post Office employees scheduled for interviews with the Capitol
Police did not appear and Capitol Police officers began contacting House Post Office
employees outside Post Office facilities, i.e. House Parking Lot #6, to attempt to interview
them. Most employees apparently did not cooperate.
95
Between June 11-17, several additional requests were made by Robert Rota and then
House Sergeant at Arms Jack Russ for all Capitol Police audit information, but the Capitol
Police denied the requests.
96
Jack Russ also called Chief Kerrigan citing three points: 1)
concern about "separation of powers" in regard to Capitol Police cooperation with the U.S.
Attorney's office; 2) the Chief would receive a call from Mr. Ross at the request of the
Speaker of the House; and 3) that the Capitol Police were out of control in the Post Office
investigation.
94
Legislative Branch Appropriations Hearing, January 23, 1992, page 121.
95
Kennedy testimony.
96
Rota, Collins, Kennedy testimony.
Task Force Report
Page 74
On June 18, Mr. Ross called Chief Kerrigan and requested a meeting at 10:30 am the
next morning. Chief Kerrigan informed Martha Pope, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and
member of the Capitol Police Board, of the situation.
The meeting called by Steven Ross took place on June 18 at 10:30 am. Present in
Chief Kerrigan's office were Chief Kerrigan, Captain Kennedy, Lt. Alukonis, Mr. Ross,
Mike Murray, and John Caulfield. The meeting was secretly tape recorded by Chief
Kerrigan. Chief Kerrigan stated that he was concerned that the Capitol Police were being
pressured to withdraw from the investigation.
During this meeting, Steven Ross requested that the Capitol Police not cooperate with
the Department of Justice when investigating matters concerning the House of
Representatives. Chief Kerrigan testified that he became concerned
"[w]hen Mr. Ross brought up the fact that we shouldn't be dealing with the
U.S. Attorney and then later on in the meeting he said that, you know, we
should cooperate with them on this because we were looking for a pay raise
and other benefits and that we needed Congress' help in obtaining these ....
The Capitol Police should cooperate with Mr. Ross on not continuing the
investigation. "
97
97
When the Task Force interviewed Chief Kerrigan on July 2, 1992, the following exchange took place:
Task Force Counsel. You said that it -- that although the meeting was
calm and that there was disagreement, but that you became concerned at a
point. What point did you become concerned?
Chief Kerrigan. When Mr. Ross brought up the fact that we shouldn't be
dealing with the U.S. Attorney and then later on in the meeting he said that,
you know, we should cooperate with them on this because we were looking for a
pay raise and other benefits and that we needed Congress' help in obtaining
these.
Task Force. I am sorry I didn't understand. Who was supposed to
cooperate with whom?
Kerrigan. The Capitol Police should cooperate with Mr. Ross on not
continuing the investigation.
Task Force. And for what reason?
Kerrigan. That we would need Congress' help in getting the bills that
we had before the Congress through.
Task Force. And what disturbed you about that?
Kerrigan. Well, you know, I had never come up against anything like
that before that somebody telling me, you know, that you should cooperate with
us because if you don't, you might not get our assistance. I mean it was just
-- like, you know, kind of like saying you better do this or if you don't, you
are not going to get what you all are asking for. That is on the tape.
Task Force Report
Page 75
Mr. Ross told the Task Force that he believed that the continued involvement by the
Capitol Police raised a concern as to the appropriate relationship between the Capitol Police
and the U.S. Attorney, and, in particular, whether it was constitutionally appropriate for the
Capitol Police to be conducting investigations on behalf of the U.S. Attorney. Mr. Ross
stated that he initiated the idea of having the Postal Inspection Service replace the Capitol
Police because the USPIS had the expertise and experience in dealing with post office
investigations and audits. Before moving forward with this idea, Mr. Ross said that he
consulted Mr. Rota, Mr. Caulfield and the Speaker, each of whom personally indicated
support.
Mr. Ross arranged a meeting with the Department of Justice on June 26, 1991,
attended by Marshall Jarrett, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's office,
AUSA Dubester, and John Caulfield-. According to Mr. Ross, two or three days after the
meeting Mr. Jarrett called Mr. Ross to inform him that the U.S. Attorney, Jay Stephens, had
determined that the Postal Inspection Service should be the lead agency conducting the
investigation.
Mr. R o ~   > met with Postal Inspectors Elder and Achimovic on July 3, and the
arrangement was memorialized in a letter to D.C. Sparks, Inspector in Charge of the
Washington Division of the USPIS. The Postal Inspectors then arranged to conduct an audit
on July 9, 1991, of the House Post Office's accountability.
98
On July 9, the USPIS audited the House Post Office stamp counters without the
assistance of the Capitol Police. The audit found substantial evidence of embezzlement and a
shortage of $33,560.07. The USPIS reported this information Postmaster Rota on July 19,
1992.
99
On July 10, John Caulfield called Capitol Police Detective Tonya Blake to inform her
that Postmaster Rota and the U.S. Attorney had agreed that the Capitol Police would support
an investigation of the House Post Office, but not lead the investigation. All Capitol Police
information which had been gathered was to be sent to the DOJ. Detective Blake and
Captain Kennedy informed Chief Kerrigan, who was unaware of Ross' efforts with the DOJ.
When the Post Office investigation was made public in January, the Capitol Police
were called by DOJ who requested that they turn over their files. Two Capitol Police
officers are designated investigators for the U.S. Attorney and the Grand Jury.
98
Ex. 59, Ross to USPIS Letter, July 8, 1991.
99
Ex. 38, USPIS, Report on July 9 Audit, July 19, 1991.
Task Force Report
Page 76
Capitol Police complained that their investigation was slowed and impaired by the
actions of individuals outside the Capitol Police.
100
Critical time to investigate potential
embezzlement and possibly other criminal activity, including drug allegations, was lost. The
delay in the investigation may have resulted in an additional loss of $14,000 by the time the
USPIS conducted the audit on July 9, 1991. In addition, drug allegations went
uninvestigated until the Capitol Police became actively involved in the Grand Jury
investigation in February of this year.
101
B. United States Postal Inspection Service
The USPIS interviews, involvement, and their complete audit of the House Post
Office in July, 1991.
The USPIS has responsibility for criminal investigations and audits within the USPS.
It has had, over a period of many years, a liaison Inspector designated to handle matters
involving the House Post Office and Members. The most recent designee was Postal
Inspector John E. Elder, who is attached to the Washington Division and is quartered at the
main Washington Post Office on Brentwood Road, NE. Inspector Eider's participation in the
ongoing criminal investigation by the DOJ has precluded questioning of him about House
Post Office matters.
Information developed independent of Inspector Elder indicates that the Inspector was
notified on April 26, 1991, of a possible theft of Postal funds by Edward Pogue. On April
30, Inspector Elder came to the House Post Office and talked to James Smith, the Assistant
Postmaster for Accountability.
On May 29, 1991, the USPIS sent a formal presentation letter to Jay B. Stephens,
United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, referring Mr. Pogue for
prosecution. im The USPIS referral to DOJ was based on the USPIS investigation which
began the day of Mr. Pogue's disappearance.
A USPIS Inspector apparently arranged for an employee of the Washington, D.C.
Post Office to assist the Capitol Police with the May 29 audit of the House Post Office stamp
counters.
100
Kerrigan and Kennedy testimony.
101
Kennedy and Kerrigan testimony.
102
Ex. 50, USPIS, Presentation Letter to Jay B. Stephens, May 29, 1991.
Task Force Report
Page 77
The USPIS conducted a complete audit of the five House Post Office stations on July
9, 1991. During the course of this audit, a net shortage of $33,560.07 was discovered. A
copy of the audit findings were formally presented to Postmaster Rota by letter, dated
September 23, 1991; possible violations of Federal law were presented to the U.S. Attorney
as a result of this audit.
One concern of the Capitol Police when the investigation was to be turned over to the
U.S. Postal Inspectors was that previous audits by the USPS had not discovered the
embezzlement which the Police believed was occurring. It should be noted that the U.S.
Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Post Office are different organizations and the U.S.
Postal Inspection Service has extensive experience in conducting criminal investigations.
103
The USPIS did not conduct any previous audits of the House Post Office.
Prior to the events that led to the creation of the Task Force, employees of the
Washington, D.C. Post Office made little or no effort to make their annual audits on an
unannounced basis. An employee of the House Post Office said that he has, on occasion,
received phone calls from the Washington, D.C. Post Office requesting that transportation be
furnished for the auditors. In another   an auditor was overheard discussing the time
and place of the next audit in the presence of House Post Office personnel. The audits were
also carried out in close sequence allowing employees to anticipate up coming audit activity.
Stations were audited in sequence, rather than simultaneously or randomly, allowing stamp
counter staff to alert other stations to the audit.
A review of audits performed by the Washington, D.C. Post Office during 1989 and
1990 reflect findings of shortages in excess of tolerance on four occasions. For example,
there is no record of the shortage of $1,265.62 discovered at the Rayburn station on May 26,
1989 or other lesser shortages having been reported to the USPIS by the Washington, D.C.
Post Office auditors.
103
Task Force staff Kerrigan interview notes.
C. Committee On House Administration Democratic Staff
Task Force Re{XJrt
Page 78
After allegations of House Post Office shortages appeared in the press,
Democratic House Administration staff conducted a review of the House Post
Office.
On January 27, 1992, Heidi Pender, Special Counsel to House Administration
Chairman Charlie Rose, initiated a review of the House Post Office in light of the multiple
allegations appearing in the news media.
104
The review of the Post Office operations was
chaired by Rep. Mary Rose Oakar. Rep. Charlie Rose requested that Postmaster Rota ensure
that Post Office staff were available for interviews to be conducted by Rep. Oakar staff.
105
From late January to early February the Democratic staff interviewed 28 individuals involved
in the House Post Office's operation and management.
. No formal recommendations or formal conclusions of the Democratic staff review
were presented for Committee action. The Democratic staff investigation concluded just
prior to the House adopting H.Res. 340, which called for a bipartisan House Administration
Committee investigation of the House Post Office.
The information obtained from the Demociatic House Post Office review was
conveyed to the Republican staff through a briefing held on March 5, 1992, and summaries
of some Democratic staff interview notes were provided to the Republican staff on April 1,
1992.
IV. Acting Postmaster's Activities
Michael J. Shinay, Executive Assistant to the Postmaster General of the United States
Postal Service was assigned to the House Post Office under the "Executive on Loan"
program of the USPS and sworn in on March 31, 1992.
The current Postmaster, Michael Shinay was sworn in March 31, 1992 and officially
assumed resIXJnsibility for the House Post Office April 1, 1992. Postmaster Shinay is an
experienced professional Postal Manager who holds the position of Executive Assistant to the
Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service. He was assigned to the House Post
Office under the "Executive on Loan" program of the USPS.
Postmaster Shinay stated that he found conditions at the House Post Office chaotic.
The offices were cluttered and in disorder. Otherwise competent employees evidenced, in
104
Richie Powers briefing to Republican staff.
105
Ex. 51, Chairman Rose to Rota Letter, January 28, 1992.
Task Force Report
Page 79
his words, a "bunker mentality". He described the administration staff as generally capable
but under utilized. There was a lack of management control and virtually no written
procedures to guide dc.i.y to day activities. Supervisors, while willing, evidenced a past lack
of guidance and leadership. There was little sense of responsibility with respect to daily
timekeeping and attendance. Leave policy was not standardized and in some instances
appeared to be influenced by favoritism. Postmaster Shinay found many office positions
were allotted insufficient duties to justify a full time assignment. Other positions were found
to be assigned to activities only indirectly related to House Post Office responsibility.
In an effort to refocus the House Post Office on its primary function, that of
providing timely and efficient mail service for the Members, the following actions were
taken by Postmaster Shinay.
o Dear Colleague letters are no longer reproduced by Post Office personnel
using Post Office equipment (Almost full-time work for one employee).
o Data input personnel were designated and trained to implement the franked
mail count program.
o All supervisors were briefed as to existing organizational relationships and
relevant job descriptions and pay levels.
o Positions were reviewed and consolidated where possible (Telex and
Accountable Mail).
o Dear Colleague letters are no longer mailed to non-Members or organizations.
o Time and attendance policies were changed to provide for non paid lunch
periods. Work day is now an eight hour work day. (Previous policy was one
hour paid lunch resulting in a seven hour work day).
o Overtime and compensatory time must now be authorized and approved by the
next higher supervisor. Supervisors may no longer approve their own
compensatory time.
o A procedure was initiated to hire temporary mail handling employees from
Washington D.C. Post Office employee list of qualified personnel.
Task Force Report
Page 80
In the area of handling and processing, the following changes have been made:
o Appropriate personnel have been sent to the USPS facility at Dulles Airport to
learn mail processing procedures.
o A Postal specialist has been brought in to assist in implementing the new Bar
Code Sort Program.
o Additional mail sorting cases have been obtained from the USPS to replace
outdated and non-standard equipment previously used.
o HIS courier service has been reassigned.
o Maintenance and custodial duties has been reassigned to the Architect's Office.
o Operating hours for mail processing have been reviewed to determine the
feasibility of reducing Saturday overtime hours.
Mr. Shi nay has also announced a change in mail room shifts which should improve
the mail room efficiency and eliminate the overnight shift. The elimination of the overnight
mail shift is possible because of an increase in productivity. Productivity has increased
because post office employees now work a full eight-hour day and absenteeism and overtime
have been curtailed. These changes have improved post office morale and one shift
supervisor commented that for the first time in twelve years he feels like a professional.
House Post Office
Organization Chart
Acting Postmaster
Deputy Postmaster
HS-14
Receptionist
HS-1 2
Secretary
HS-4 J
Manager, Mailroom Operations Manager, Station Operations Manager, Administration
HS-11 HS-JJ See P11ge 82
Senior Chief, Day Shift
HS-9
Chief, Early Morning Shft
HS-8
Chief Evening Shift
HS-8
Chief, Platform Shift
HS-8
Manager, Automated Sys
HS-JO
HS- J J See Page 83
Clerk in Chrge LHOB
HS-5
Clerk in Charge Annex II
HS-5
Clerk in Charge RHOB
HS-5
Clerk in Charge CHOB
HS-5
Clerk in Charge Capitol
HS-5
Manager, Employee Relations
HS-JO
Manager, Congress. Services
HS-10
Clerk, Passport Visas
HS-4 2
Payroll Administrator
HS-6
Training Instructor
HS-6
Page 81
Primary Mail Clerks
HS-3 15
Case Sorters
HS-2 20
House Post Office
Mailroom Operations
Case Sorters
HS-2 6
Couriers
HS-3 2
Security Scanners
HS-4 4
Effective Monday, July 13, 1992
Acting Postmaster
Manager, Mailroorn Operations
HS-11
Primary Mail Clerks
HS-3 15
Case Sorters
HS-2 20
Security Scanners
HS-4 4
Pickup Clerks
HS-3 11
Manager, Automated Sys
HS-JO
Automation Operators
HS-5 3 NP
Mail Sortation
HS-2 6 NP
Page 82
I
Clerk in Charge Longworth
HS-5
I
Cowiter Clerk
HS-4 3
House Post Office
Station Operations
Acting Postmaster
I
Manager, Station Operations
HS-11
I
I
Clerk in Charge Annex II Clerk in Charge Rayburn Clerk in Charge Cannon
HS-5 HS-5 HS-5
I I I
Cowiter Clerk Cowiter Clerk Cowiter Clerk
HS-4 1 HS-4 2 HS-4 1
Page 83
I
Clerk in Charge Capitol
-
HS-5
I
Cowiter Clerk
HS-4 1
Task Force Report
Page 84
In no area was the need to restore order and management control more evident than in
the area of finance. Postmaster Shinay reported the almost total lack of normal and accepted
financial accounting procedures. Money, checks, and stamps were handled in an almost
casual manner. Stamp counter clerks received no training in their duties and responsibilities.
There appeared to be little concern or sense of financial accountability. In instances where
shortages were detected, they were frequently covered by the employees personal check
without follow up. Security for duplicate keys to stamp drawers was lax. Stamp stock and
money was exchanged between clerks as needed without receipt.
Immediate action was taken by Mr. Shinay to establish the integrity of the financial
activities of the Post Office.
o All financial accountability was counted and verified by an outside Postal
supervisor under the direction of the Postmaster.
o All locks and combinations relating to financial accountability were changed.
o Individual accountability was established and signed by each clerk.
o A proper procedure for handling shortages and overages was established and
implemented.
o IRT (Integrated Retail Terminals) which were in place but not utilized due to
lack of training are now fully utilized.
o Official USPS procedures relating to stamp and cash accountability are now in
effect. Audits will be made quarterly by non-accountable personnel under the
direction of the Deputy Postmaster.
o Cash in excess of $100 will no longer be retained by any counter service clerk
or supervisor.
o Newly assigned counter clerks are being selected from current staff applicants.
Selection is made on a best qualified basis.
o Training as a full service window clerk is provided each assigned employee.
Relevant USPS operating manuals are now available to stamp counter clerks
who are required to familiarize themselves with applicable procedures.
Task Force Report
Page 85
Michael Shinay, an experienced and professional USPS manager, immediately took
steps to ensure sound financial accountability practices. Experienced USPS managers were
brought in on loan from the USPS to train House Post Office personnel in proper stamp
counter practices.
Accountability is now maintained in accordance with USPS Regulations and
procedures. Excess cash is no longer retained. Flexible accountability for stamp stock has
been established for all counter clerks. Postage stamps and Postal Money Orders are
obtained from the Washington, D.C. Post Office accountable paper section, cash and checks
are now deposited daily, and vouchers are redeemed on a weekly schedule.
The implementation of these procedures are being monitored by House Post Office
management. Deputy Postmaster Nancy Collins is now in charge of the internal audit
program as well as c.ustodian of all duplicate keys and combinations accessing financial
accountability. Continued attention by House Post Office management to the recently
implemented financial controls should largely diminish opportunity for the recurrence of the
improper practices and misapplication of funds that have occurred in the past. The control
procedures would be further enhanced through the recommended oversight by appropriate
outside elements.
The Post Office also provides a number of non-Postal services for the convenience of
the Members and staff. Among these services are that of notary, passport and visa service,
and State Department Telex.
The Post Office currently maintains one active notary. The utilization of this service
is such that additional designated persons are needed to prevent disruption of normal duties.
To that end the Postmaster is in the process of having three additional employees certified as
notaries.
The passport service assists Members, their families, staff, and constituents in
obtaining passports and visas for overseas travel. While the Passport Service itself appears
worthwhile, the practice of transporting individuals to and from the Passport Office should be
reviewed.
The House Information Services courier service was transferred by mutual agreement
from HIS to the House Post Office in 1988. The primary reasons were to promote efficiency
and to be able to rely on Post Office delivery capabilities as a backup. Management control
of the function continues to rest with HIS.
The courier is responsible for the transport of various printouts, computer tapes,
financial records, checks and related materials. These items, for the most part originate with
HIS at Annex II and are delivered to various House Office Buildings, the Library of
Congress, and the General Accounting Office.
Task Force Report
Page 86
The telex service consists of State Department owned terminal to which messages in
response to official inquiries are received from State Department sources world-wide.
Incoming messages are enveloped and addressed for delivery to the appropriate representative
or senator by Post Office personnel. This is a part time requirement for one employee.
On April 9, 1992, the House adopted the Democrat's House Administrative Reform
Resolution of 1992, which calls for the House to tum over House Post Office stamp counter
operations to the U.S. Postal Service.
106
On June 3, '1992, U.S. Postal Service
representatives briefed staff from House Administration and Post Office Civil Service
Committees on the process for transfer of the House Post Office window service to the
Postal Service.
107
Acting Postmaster Shinay assisted in that presentation.
Prior to undertaking any new location, the USPS conducts a study called Retail
Analysis Program (RAP) as part of its standard procedure. Although this study has yet to be
completed, USPS indicated-the following initial concerns:
o Window service hours may have to be reduced to meet USPS standard
operations.
o USPS union contracts, and legal and regulatory restrictions may apply to
House Post Office service.
o USPS security and personnel requirements may require extensive building
modifications.
o Current House Post Office employees cannot be hired by USPS.
o House vouchers cannot be accepted for stamp purchases.
106
Ex. 32, H.Res. 423.
107
See USPS Handbook, Activation of Non-Mail-Processing Post Facilities, August 1988.
V. Franked Mail Accountability
Task Force Report
Page 87
The Committee on House Administration adopted revised Regulations for the Official
Mail Allowance, effective April 1, 1992, which require the Office of the Postmaster to
account for House of Representatives franked mail collected by the House Postmaster.
The 1991 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act established the "Official Mail
Allowance", beginning in the 102nd Congress, which is to be used to pay for the postage
costs of all franked mail originating in the House of Representatives. Under the Act, all
authorized users of the frank are individually accountable for the postage cost of their
franked mail, and the Postmaster General was instructed not to deliver the mail of anyone
who exhausted his or her Official Mail Allowance.
Prior to the implementation of the Official Mail Allowance in the House, there was
no accounting for individual use of the frank use. The U.S. Postal Service determined the
proper amount to be charged to the House by sampling bags of House of Representatives
mail and using a formula which approximated the mix of mail leaving the House. The
sampling systl.:n was frequently checked against the formula to ensure the accuracy of the
system, but no individual accounting by authorized user took place. In effect, the USPS
charged the House for the cost of franked mail by the weight of mail sacks leaving the
House.
During the first session of the 102nd Congress, the Committee implemented a manual
accounting system, requiring each House office to account for its franked mail on a prescribed
form, and to report the amount and cost of all franked mail on a monthly basis to the House
Finance Office. The form accounted for mail originating in both Washington, D.C. and in the
congressional district offices of Members. The form did not account for franked mail which was
accounted for on USPS 3602 permit mail forms (predominantly mass mailings handled by the
folding room and other mail contractors). Many congressional offices found the process both
confusing and time consuming, and the Finance Office reported difficulty in obtaining the
required information in a timely manner, particularly from remote district offices.
As a result, the Committee considered a number of alternatives to the manual accounting
system, including the use of commercial postage meters or congressional stamps. After
examination of various alternatives, the Committee decided to proceed with a centralized mail
accounting system for franked mail handled by the House Post Office and with decentralized
accounting in congressional district offices, using either the manual accounting system then in
place, or postage meters.
Task Force Report
Page 88
On February 27, 1992, the Committee on House Administration adopted revised
Regulations for the Official Mail Allowance, effective April 1, 1992, which required the Office
of the Postmaster to account for House of Representatives franked mail collected by the House
Postmaster.
108
The regulations state:
3. Washington. D.C. drop mail accountability. (Mail not accounted for on PS 3602 forms).
a) Mail collected by the House Postmaster shall be accounted for by the House
Postmaster's automated system. The House Postmaster shall
i) complete a monthly summary of authorized users' postage charges and
forward it to the Finance Office by the second working day after the end of
the month;
ii) not delay or hold any mail; and
iii) consult with the Postal Service to establish accounting procedures, reports
and postmarks. Beginning with the 103rd Congress, the Postal Service will
use t.he House Postmaster's accounting to determine the House bill for
postage.
b) Mail eligible for postage discounts should be handled by the Folding Room.
The House Postmaster's automated system accounts for authorized users' use of the frank
by reading barcodes printed on franked envelopes, labels or cards. Beginning in January, 1992
the Government Printing Office ("GPO") began printing Postnet accounting barcodes
corresponding to the account number of Members, Committees and other authorized users in the
lower left corner of #9, #10 and similar envelopes. For letter, legal and other flat envelopes, the
GPO prints UPC accounting barcodes in the lower left corner.
On March 6, 1992, Chairman Rose and Rep. Bill Thomas, Ranking Republican Member,
wrote Members of the House regarding the February 27, 1992 Committee meeting and enclosed a
copy of the Official Mail Allowance regulations.
On March 31, 1992, Chairman Rose and Rep. Bill Thomas wrote Postmaster Shinay
concerning the House Postmaster's accounting of House of Representatives franked mail collected
by the House Postmaster. In the letter, Rose and Thomas expressed the Committee's
understanding that the House Postmaster will account for all franked mail collected by the House
108
Committee on House Administration Meeting Transcript, February 27, 1992, p. 10.
Task Force Report
Page 89
Postmaster and the Committee's request that the House Postmaster make official mail accounting
his first priority.
On April 1, 1992, Postmaster Shinay sent a letter to Members of the House informing
them that the Postmaster became responsible for accounting for franked mail collected by the
House Postmaster on April 1, 1992. In addition, Postmaster Shinay requested, in order to
facilitate the accounting, that Member offices begin using pre-barcoded envelopes.
On April 6, 1992, Postmaster Shinay wrote Chairman Rose and Rep. Bill Thomas to
assure the Committee that the Office of the Postmaster will accurately and thoroughly account for
all franked mail collected by the Office of the Postmaster and that official mail accounting would
be the first priority of this office.
VI. Recommendations.
A. Future Policy and Action by the Acting Postmaster.
Due to the uniqueness and importance of the mission of the House Post Office, the House
should endeavor to keep the House Post Office an autonomous but professional and non-
patronage service for Members. The basic policy decisions on the future of the House Post
Office depend on the selection and policy directives of the yet-to-be-appointed House
Administrator. Under the Democratic House reorganization resolution, H.Res. 423, adopted on
April 9, 1992, the House Postmaster will no longer be elected by the Democratic Caucus but will
come under the jurisdiction of the House Administrator.
Until basic policy questions regarding the future of the Democratic Patronage System and
the structure of the House under the new administrator are determined, the Task Force
recommends ongoing action on specific policy and management reforms be initiated by Acting
Postmaster Shinay. Some specific reforms regarding mail handling, processing and delivery, job
descriptions, position review and consolidation, time and attendance policy, overtime and
compensatory time, temporary hires, employee training, equipment replacement and operating
hours have been put into place.
The Acting Postmaster has also instituted certain reforms to establish financial integrity
including accountability, changed locks and combinations, adoption of official USPS procedures,
training of stamp counter clerks. Non-Postal services for convenience of Members and staff are
under review by Mr. Shinay.
Task Force Report
Page 90
The House Post Office must be accountable to a truly bipartisan House oversight structure.
• A bipartisan Oversight Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration
should be established which is not subject to the override of the partisan full
committee in the event of a tie vote.
• The current structure of the House Post Office Task Force should remain in place
to follow up on unanswered questions and further management problems uncovered
by the U.S. Attorney and the Committee on Standards.
• An alternative independent investigatory procedure should be developed in the
event that a bipartisanship investigation does not work in the future.
• The Acting Postmaster should remain in place until the above oversight structure
has been implemented.
• House Post Office should become a non-partisan, professionally managed operation
under bipartisan House oversight.
• House Post Office regulations, procedures, and pay scales should be based, as far
as practical, on USPS Regulations and procedures.
• USPS unannounced audits should be conducted at least as often as USPS
Regulations require.
• Annual performance reviews of the House Post Office should be conducted to
compare the efficiency of the House Post Office with a comparable USPS and
commercial facilities.
• The bipartisan Oversight Subcommittee should maintain an ongoing review of the
House Post Office to prevent and handle substance abuse, sexual harassment,
employee intimidation and other serious personnel problems.
B. Audits and Monitoring.
Task Force Report
Page 91
It is clear given the importance, size and unique structure of the House Post Office, that
there must be closer monitoring by both the Washington, D.C., Post Office and the U. S. Postal
Inspection Service. The Postal Inspection Service should carefully review its own response
procedures to problems involving possible criminal violations at the House Post Office.
Given the past performance of the Washington, D.C. Post Office with regard to audits and
current unsettled jurisdiction problems, specific jurisdiction policy should be defined between the
Capitol Police, the House Post Office, the Washington, D.C. Post Office, and the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service.
An audit program should be developed to insure that unannounced audits are carried out in
'
a random fashion to preclude employee anticipation of impending stamp counts. The Postal
Inspection Service should monitor the Washington Postmaster Audit Program and conduct its own
audit at least biyearly. The House Post Office must establish specific responsibility for an
effective in-house audit program. The past practice of self audit should not be relied upon as
sufficient to satisfy the requirements of sound financial controls.
The following House Post Office activities should be prohibited:
• Check cashing of any kind;
• Exchange of stamps and other Postal products for cash;
• Overtime pay for any other purpose than actual overtime worked;
• Any courier service not related to the delivery of official mail or the passport
service currently provided by the House Post Office;
• Work by any House Post Office employee in any capacity other than for official
House Post Office purposes.
C. Employee Hiring.
Task Force Report
Page 92
House Post Office employees should be hired according to qualifications in a process
which includes competency testing and appropriate background checks of applicants.
The question of such a policy becoming consistent for all House employees is not within
the scope of this Task Force. However, it should be pointed out that in order to maintain a
consistent personnel policy in the House and to avoid patronage abuses that have occurred in the
Post Office, an immediate and thorough review of House personnel policy and the current
Democratic Patronage System is appropriate.
At the very least, the House Post Office affair raises serious questions about the operation
and management of other agencies of the House of Representatives.
Patronage and the possibility of hidden patronage must be eliminated.
• All hiring should be through a merit system with testing procedures based on USPS
practices and regulations.
• All vacancies should be advertised through USPS or other professional channels.
Interim appointees, if absolutely necessary, should not receive preference in filling
these vacancies.
• Only persons who have been professionally tested or screened for job skills and
competency should be permitted to work in the House Post Office.
• The Democratic and Republican Patronage Committees should have no further
dealings with the House Post Office on any matters whatsoever.
D. Other Recommendations
Task Force Report
Page 93
Future investigations of criminal or ethics violations at the House Post Office must not be
delayed, impeded, or concealed. In order to ensure the integrity of future investigations by the
Capitol Police, a Committee or Subcommittee of the House, or an independent investigator, the
Task Force makes the following recommendations:
• House Post Office personnel or other responsible House personnel should report
suspected criminal activity to the Capitol Police immediately.
• The Capitol Police Board should establish a policy for Capitol Police referrals of
criminal investigations for prosecution to other government agencies. The Capitol
Police Board should establish guidelines for joint activities of the Capitol Police
with such agencies.
• Members of both Party leaderships should be notified of such Capitol Police
referrals and joint activity immediately.
• Transcripts of meetings of the Capitol Police Board should be maintained.
• Allegations of obstruction of justice or an ongoing Capitol Police investigation
should be referred immediately to the Department of Justice.
• Allegation and information on violations of House rules should be referred to the
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
• As House Rule XLIII (Code of Official Conduct), Section l, requires "a Member,
officer, or employee of the House of representatives shall conduct himself at all
times in a manner which shall reflect creditably on the House of Representatives,"
violation of bipartisan investigation rules and procedures, including leaks of
confidential information, should be investigated by the Committee on Standards of
Official Conduct.
VII. Appendix and Exhibit Documents
Task Force Report
Page 94
Documents relating to the Task Force investigation and supporting the Task Force Report
of the Operations and Management of the Office of Postmaster.
Exhibit List
1. H.Res. 340
2. February 5, 1992 Congressional Record, p. H295 to H306
3. H.Res. 430
4. April 9, 1992 Congressional Record, p. H2529 to H2534
5. H.Res. 456
6. May 14, 1992 Congressional Record, p. H3275 to H3283
7. May 28, 1992 Congressional Record, p. H3898 to H3903
8. Task Force staff list
9. Task Force to DOJ letter of March 25, 1992
10. DOJ to Task Force letter of March 27, 1992
11. Achimovic to Task Force letter of April 15, 1992 and Task Force to Achimovic letter of
April 20, 1992
12. Foley, Michel, Rose, Thomas to DOJ letter of April 2, 1992
13. DOJ to Foley, Michel, Rose, Thomas letter of April 24, 1992
14. DOJ to Task Force letter of May 4, 1992
15. Task Force to DOJ letter of May 7, 1992
16. Michel/Thomas to DOJ letter of May 12, 1992. (new 5)
17. DOJ to Michel/Thomas letter of May 22, 1992. (new 5)
18. DOJ to Task Force letter of June 1, 1992. (new 5)
19. DOJ to Task Force letter of June 4, 1992. (new 5)
Task Force Report
Page 95
20. Task Force to U.S. Attorney General letter of June 17, 1992 (new 5)
21. 18 U.S.C. § 6005
22. DOI to Task Force letter of June 30, 1992
23. Office of the Postmaster Information Booklet
24. USPS Agreement to Conduct a Contract Station for House Post Office
25. GAO Report to Donnald K. Anderson, Clerk of the House, April 2, 1992
26. USPS Handbook AS-707F, Contracting for Contract Postal Units, Sec. 4.3.4
27. USPS Handbook F-1, Post Office Accounting Procedures, Sec. 472.42
28. September 23, 1991 USPIS audit report of June 9, 1991 Financial Audit of U.S. House of
Representatives Contract Station.
29. USPS Handbook F-1, Post Office Accounting Procedures, Sec. 311.12 (new
30. House Post Office Task Force Staff Non-Disclosure Agreement.
31. September 6, 1991 House Post Office document New Procedural Policies for the Stamp
Counters (new 14)
32. H.Res. 423
33. Employee Suggestions, March 7, 1988 to March 8, 1988 and related House vouchers for
Office of the Postmaster, May 12, 1988.
34. House Post Office records of overtime allocation.
35. Thomas to Rose letter of February 13, 1992. (new 2)
36. Rose to Thomas letter of February 21, 1992. (new 2)
37. Task Force overtime/leave summary February lO, 1992. February 26, 1992 report of
discrepancies between the daily time report and the time cards for the 11 :00 pm to 7:00
am shift occurring between May 23, 1991 and July 3, 1991.
Task Force Report
Page 96
38. July 19, 1991 USPIS preliminary report to Postmaster Rota on July 9, 1991 USPIS audit.
39. Task Force to Ethics Committee letter of June 8, 1992, and Ethics Committee to Task
Force letter of June 15, 1992
40. 18 U.S.C. § 607
41. Ethics Manual for Members. Officers. and Employees of the U.S. House of
Representatives, p. 285
42. House Post Office Passport and Visa Service Report for 1990
43. Draft employee discipline letter from Joanna O'Rourke computer files.
44. Postmaster Rota's Mailing List Address Labels
45. U.S. Capitol Police Crime· Scene Analysis Report.
46. Instructions and directions to Jerry Carter for personal errands and deliveries
4 7. P-300 Express Mail Labels
48. Security and Safety report of Longworth HOB Post Office facilities
49. Ross to Sparks letter of July 8, 1991
50. USPIS to U.S. Attorney Jay Stephen letter of May 29, 1991
51. Rose to Rota letter of January 28, 1992 concerning House Administration Majority staff
investigation.
52. Task Force Counsel to DOJ Letter, April 24, 1992.
53. Charles Leeper to Task Force Letter, July 1, 1992.
54. USPS to Rota, Letters of Demand, October 24, 1991, January 2, 1992.
55. USPS to Shinay, Letter of Demand, July 2, 1992.

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