The Washington Post

Postal regulator traveling again despite Senate probe

Postal Regulatory Commission Ruth Y. Goldway testifies at a Senate subcommittee hearing in August 2009. (Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

Ruth Goldway, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, this week plans to attend the annual meetings of the Universal Postal Union, a global organization tracking postal issues, which is meeting in Bern, Switzerland. Next week, Goldway plans to attend a one-day meeting on women’s leadership in Geneva organized by the top American envoy to Switzerland, Donald S. Beyer Jr., according to records provided by the PRC.

The commission is paying for Goldway’s travels to the UPU conference, PRC spokeswoman Ann Fisher said. Her travel to the women’s conference is being covered by the U.S. Mission in Geneva and she will report the related costs on her year-end disclosure forms, Fisher said.

As the Post reported this month, Goldway has attended UPU meetings in previous years and other international conferences in Europe and Asia related to postal matters. She has incurred at least $70,600 in official domestic and international travel expenses during her tenure, outpacing her predecessor, according to commission travel records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Reports by the Post and other media outlets prompted Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) to request the travel records of Goldway, her predecessor and other commissioners.

Carper’s spokeswoman, Emily Spain, said in an e-mail that embarking on a two-week trip, “does not appear to be closely related to the role the Postal Regulatory Commission has been given in addressing the Postal Service’s dire financial situation would appear ill-advised at this critical juncture.”

Spain added: “At a time when the Postal Regulatory Commission is telling the Postal Service, lawmakers, and the public that it will not be able to issue an advisory opinion on the Postal Service’s planned processing plant closures — which are expected to start on May 15th — until this summer or even later, Chairman Goldway and the entire Postal Regulatory Commission should be focusing like a laser on getting that vitally important work done as soon as possible.”

Goldway defended her travel to the Post and Carper’s office, noting that a 2006 postal reform law broadened the responsibilities of the PRC to include more international responsibilities.

“Our job at the PRC is to represent the interests of all of the stakeholders. In order to do that, we really need to make an effort to get out of the city now and then,” Goldway said this month in an interview with the Post.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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This post has been updated since it was first published.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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