I never believed Sarbanes-Oxley could even be blamed for shrinking media distribution but the impossible has happened and CPA Trendlines shares the Compliance Week article that enlightens us on this latest unintended SOX consequence:

The Clovis News Journal—paper of record for Clovis, population 37,200—says that it cand no longer deliver newspapers to its subscribers. The reason? Sarbanes-Oxley.

“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,” according to the News Journal website.

News Journal’s circulation director tells Compliance Week that the issue could be due to a “misinterpretation” of SOX rules by the local Post Office, who swears it is simply complying with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.

Section 404 strikes again!

It appears as though the USPS also misinterpreted pension accounting rules, leading to it overpaying some $75 billion to the Postal Service’s Civil Service Retirement System pension (so says the USPS Inspector General). What the hell is going on over there? Is that SOX’s fault too? I love blaming Sarbanes-Oxley for stuff too but let’s be reasonable here, these guys are a mess.

By March 2010, the USPS will be “locking down” its tech systems for six months as it struggles to comply with only the worst bits of SOX for the sake of, uh, efficiency? Intelligent Mail has already proven to be a burden in a climate where more of us email than use stamps, online bill pay is the norm and publicly-traded bad boys like UPS and FedEx dominate market share. They already know their way around SOX and have the capital to handle it if they need a few compliance artists around. The USPS? Not so lucky.

Perhaps the local Post Office is confused and Clovis News Journal’s 410 print delivery subscribers will get their papers at last. If not, is it really appropriate to blame SOX? Sure, why not, if not this I’m sure we can find something else to peg to it if the need arises.

Making mailers sign off like auditors on a piece of mail? Oh now that’s tedious. Yay SOX!