Congressional leaders Tuesday launched an investigation into embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s alleged illegal straw man political donations to boost Republican campaigns.
DeJoy, already under fire for seeking to undermine the Postal Service as millions prepare to vote by absentee ballot, is accused of urging workers at his New Breed Logistics firm to write checks to President Donald Trump and other GOP candidates.
Allegations continue to swirl that DeJoy reimbursed the workers in the guise of larger bonuses, a practice that would violate campaign financing laws.
“DeJoy could face criminal exposure not only for his actions … but also for lying to our committee under oath,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.
She was referring to the postmaster general’s testimony before her committee last month, when he denied that he had repaid executives for contributing to Trump’s campaign.
Maloney called for the immediate ouster of DeJoy, who has been accused of cutting U.S. Postal Service funds at Trump’s behest to cause chaos in absentee voting, potentially helping the president win reelection.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., demanded DeJoy resign or be fired while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the Postal Board of Governors to intervene.
“It is time to state the obvious: the Postal Board of Governors should suspend Mr. DeJoy as postmaster general while these serious allegations are under investigation. In the middle of a pandemic, America must have faith and confidence in the post office, and those who lead it,” said Schumer.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows downplayed the probe as partisan politics as usual.
He blamed widespread delays in service on postal workers — not DeJoy and his cuts.
“The postmaster general has very little do with actually getting the mail delivered on time,” Meadows told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday.
Five people who worked for DeJoy’s former company say they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by DeJoy himself to write checks and attend fund-raisers at his mansion in Greensboro, N.C., The Washington Post reported. Two former employees told the newspaper that DeJoy would later give bigger bonuses to reimburse for the contributions.
It is illegal to reimburse others for donations as a way of avoiding federal campaign contribution limits.
Trump said Monday that DeJoy, a major donor to him and other Republicans, should lose his job if campaign finance irregularities are uncovered.
DeJoy was put in charge of the Postal Service in June and set in motion a series of policy changes that have delayed mail and sparked concern over the agency’s ability to process a flood of mail-in ballots expected this fall due to coronavirus fears.
The Oversight Committee recently subpoenaed DeJoy for records about widespread mail delivery delays on his watch.
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