The Office of Inspector General is tasked with ensuring efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the U.S. Postal Service. We also have the distinct mission of helping to maintain confidence in the mail and postal system, as well as to improve the Postal Service's bottom line. We use audits and investigations to help protect the integrity of the Postal Service. Our Semiannual Report to Congress presents a snapshot of the work we did to fulfill our mission for the six-month period ending March 31, 2023. Links are provided to the full reports featured in this report, as well as to the appendices. Our Congressional two-pager provides readers with easy access to facts and information, as well as succinct summaries of the work by area.
A Message from the Inspector General
As the U.S. Postal Service undergoes major changes related to its strategic plans and postal legislation, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing critical oversight over these new endeavors. During this six-month reporting period, we examined several items related to the Postal Service’s initiative to become an employer of choice, including its response to sexual harassment complaints, the accuracy of supervisor timecards, and communication of relevant safety training. In response to USPS’s plan to acquire a large number of electric vehicles, we conducted an audit examining whether vehicle maintenance facilities will be ready for them. And we have already begun reviewing changes the Postal Service is making to its delivery network.
Like previous years, we conducted site observations during the fall election. Our special agents and auditors went above and beyond to conduct nearly 850 observations across all 50 states to review and evaluate the timely delivery of Election Mail. We identified compliance issues at some of the facilities but found these issues did not impact the Postal Service’s ability to process and deliver Election Mail in a timely manner.
To protect the safety and security of mail, we continued to diligently pursue concerns about mail theft and narcotics. We increased our focus on arrow key management during facility visits and investigated postal employees who were utilizing their positions to conspire with drug trafficking organizations. We also worked with federal partners to investigate multiple compounding pharmacies that were marketing to — and providing kickbacks to — doctors who prescribed their expensive creams. All defendants were sentenced to prison and ordered to pay a restitution of over $447 million, resulting in more than $25 million in cost-avoidance for the Postal Service.
We have undergone significant changes ourselves. The Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 gave us oversight jurisdiction over the Postal Regulatory Commission. We assumed that responsibility on October 3, and future Semiannual Reports to Congress will include this work. We also launched a new website at the end of January that features streamlined, dynamic content to make it both mobile-friendly and easy-to-navigate.
This Semiannual Report to Congress, submitted pursuant to the Inspector General Act, outlines our work and activities for the six-month period ending March 31, 2023. During this period, we issued 58 audit reports, management advisories, and white papers, and the Postal Service accepted 94 percent of our recommendations. We completed 1,634 investigations that led to 349 arrests and over $38.5 million in fines, restitutions, and recoveries, more than $12.5 million of which was returned to the Postal Service.
I am enormously proud of all we have accomplished over the past six months. Even being one of the leanest OIGs, with only one OIG employee for every 645 postal workers, we returned nearly $6 in total financial impact for every dollar in our budget. Looking forward, I have full confidence that our work will continue to combat waste, fraud, and abuse; provide strategic insights; and exceed expectations in our efforts to make the Postal Service the best it can be. This is, after all, who we are and what we do.