Sarbanes-Oxley Screws up Newspaper Delivery in N.M.?

Lora Bentley

Compliance Week's Melissa Klein Aguilar wrote last week that the Clovis News Journal in Clovis, N.M., told subscribers it can no longer mail the paper on the day of publication. Because of Sarbanes-Oxley. What? I've accused businesses of using Sarbox as a scapegoat in the past, but this one takes the cake.


The paper released this statement on its Web site:

Due to the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act and its required implementation locally by the U.S. Postal Service, the Portales and Clovis post offices no longer can provide same-day mailed service of the Portales News-Tribune and the Clovis News Journal.

In the past, the paper was taken to the post office at 4 a.m. for delivery. But post offices told Clovis News Journal circulation director Mike Grigg that under Sarbox requirements, they could not accept the papers for delivery until 10 a.m. on the day of publication because those offices were not "24-hour business mail entry units." By that time, of course, the mail carriers were already out on their routes.


As Aguilar explained, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 requires the U.S. Postal Service to comply with parts of Sarbanes-Oxley beginning with the annual report for 2010. But how that precludes certain post offices from mailing the papers is unclear. Grigg told Compliance Week the problem results from the post offices misinterpreting Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.


The local post offices declined to comment, but Robert Bokor, manager of mail classification in the Postal Service Pricing and Classification Service Center in New York, told Compliance Week it "isn't a [Sarbox] issue at all."


If agencies of the same government that enforces the Sarbanes-Oxley Act can't interpret it properly, I guess small businesses should be glad consultancies that can aid them in that process actually exist.

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