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The state political watchdog agency has delivered a lawsuit to the United States Postal Service in an ongoing dispute over public records.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, stems from a Fair Political Practices Commission investigation into whether a campaign mailing sent in a 2008 local recall campaign violated the state Political Reform Act.

The agency sought to obtain from the USPS records showing how many mail pieces were sent to determine whether the mailing was large enough to trigger mandatory disclosures.Though it has provided similar information in the past, according to the FPPC, the USPS denied the agency's request.

FPPC Chair Ann Ravel said in a statement that the agency felt "compelled to take action" out of concern that the USPS' "refusal to provide this simple information will result in shutting down the enforcement of all similar laws in every State."

"The Post Office's unreasonable refusal to provide the information and bizarre use of FOIA to prevent the release of basic information prohibits the Commission from executing its mission," she said in a statement. "The Commission is left with no other choice but to bring a cause of action against the Post Office to compel disclosure."

A spokesman for the postal service declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying attorneys are still reviewing the complaint.

USPS FOIA Complaint 1-5-12

Editor's note: This post has been updated with the USPS response.


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