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Mr. Potter also said during his February interview that his staff hadn’t informed him that Mr. Bernstock had failed to report various outside affiliations on his financial disclosure form. Records show that officials had Mr. Bernstock file an amended form after an inquiry from The Times about Mr. Bernstock’s outside affiliations from December 2009. At the time, postal officials gave no indication that Mr. Bernstock was filing an amended financial disclosure form.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the statements suggest that top postal officials made exceptions for Mr. Bernstock when it came to enforcing ethics rules.

“It sounds like people at the Postal Service aren’t educated enough and when faced with potential problems they didn’t act quickly or efficiently enough,” she said.

Mr. Hendel also said the memos underscore the difficulty faced by the Postal Service in trying to act like a private business when it is subject to various governmental rules and requirements.

“They knew from the get go that he was not going to give up these outside interests and they thought they could work with that,” he said.