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FOIA rules apply differently to USPS

Information of a commercial nature may be withheld from Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Postal Service is a unique hybrid: part government agency, part commercial enterprise.

Because of this, the organization has a special exemption from certain requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a law designed to create transparency in government.

Information of a commercial nature — that is, information related to commerce, trade, profit or the organization’s ability to conduct itself in a businesslike manner — may be withheld if other businesses normally would not release it.

Examples include negotiated terms of a contract, the number of bids or proposals received in response to a solicitation, sensitive information from business partners, and much more.

A nonexhaustive list of information that is considered commercial and therefore exempt from disclosure under FOIA can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations.

If you’re unsure of how to handle a FOIA request, contact the Privacy and Records Management Office at, or at 202-268-2608.