The US Postal Service warned employees they should not disclose commercial information to people outside the organization - including lawmakers. The substance and timing of the warning are eyebrow-raising, to say the least.
"The Postal Service is not required to disclose confidential commercial information, except in very limited circumstances," it wrote in a post on the Link newsletter
for employees on Friday.
"Any employee might be asked to disclose commercial information to someone outside of the organization. Although requests for this kind of information are usually sent under the Freedom of Information Act, they can also come directly from other people, such as a lawmaker or a contractor."
The agency advised employees to "contact the USPS Law Department before disclosing information of a commercial nature."
Later that day, the Chair of the House Oversight Committee requested documents from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy related to the $6 billion USPS contract with Oshkosh Corporation to build next-gen delivery trucks.
"In addition, reports indicated that the night before the award announcement, an unknown party purchased Oshkosh Corp. shares worth $54 million," which "raise concerns about the Postal Service's selection process and contract award for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle program."
The Oversight Committee is also seeking information over concerns that the contract appears in conflict with the current administration's commitment to transition the federal government to a fully electric fleet.
Warning postal employees to be guarded with confidential information is prudent, but the timing of the warning that specifically tells USPS workers to protect key terms of contracts from lawmakers, who may be tasked with overseeing the agency, is disquieting.