Senate Finds Mail-Order Prescriptions Are Delayed Under DeJoy—But That’s Not His Only Problem

In this Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump says he's open to an investigation of DeJoy after some of DeJoy's former employees said they felt pressured to donate to GOP candidates. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP)

By Elle Meyers

September 9, 2020

“All of the mail-order pharmacies that are heavily reliant on USPS for delivery of mail-order drugs reported an increase in average delivery times, ranging from 18% to 32%.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is catching heat from all sides after a new Senate report found “significant” mail delays just days after he was accused of campaign finance violations. 

The report, compiled by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), found that DeJoy’s changes to the postal service significantly slowed down mail delivery. These delays posed a particular problem for Americans that rely on the mail system for their prescriptions. 

“All of the mail-order pharmacies that are heavily reliant on USPS for delivery of mail-order drugs reported an increase in average delivery times, ranging from 18-32%. In general, this meant that deliveries that would typically take 2-3 days were instead taking 3-4 days,” the report found. “Some delays appear to be even longer.” 

In a letter to the US Postal Service’s Board of Governors, Warren and Casey said that the delays were “unacceptable under any circumstances.” 

The report notes that, in some cases, the slowdowns appeared in May just before DeJoy was appointed to his position. The report said it’s possible the rise of the pandemic could have contributed to a slowdown for prescription drugs delivered through the mail. 

DeJoy was in the hot seat just a few weeks ago when he testified on Capitol Hill about slowdowns in mail service that some lawmakers saw as a purposeful effort to prevent mail-in ballots from arriving in time for the general election. Since his appointment, DeJoy has implemented a series of changes, such as reduced overtime for workers, ending additional trips for mail that comes in late, and dismantling mail sorting machines, that led to nationwide delays. DeJoy vehemently denied any efforts to purposely slow down the mail service. 

Slow mail is not DeJoy’s only problem. He is also under increased scrutiny this week as House Democrats investigate allegations that he encouraged and rewarded employees at his former company to contribute to Republican candidates’ campaigns. If true, that would be a violation of campaign finance laws.

Five people who worked under DeJoy at his former company, New Breed Logistics, said they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by DeJoy himself to contribute funds and attend fundraisers at his mansion in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Washington Post reported. Two former employees claimed that DeJoy later gave larger bonuses to people who contributed to reimburse them for their contributions. 

Campaign finance disclosure forms show that between 2000 and 2014, when New Breed Logistics was sold, more than 100 employees donated more than $610,000 to Republican candidates that DeJoy and his family supported. DeJoy and his family individually donated more than $1 million to Republican politicians. 

Although it’s not illegal to encourage employees to contribute to political campaigns, it is illegal to reimburse them in order to avoid federal campaign contribution limits. 

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said that if the allegation of campaign finance violations are true, DeJoy “could face criminal exposure, not only for his actions in North Carolina, but also for lying to our committee under oath.”  She also called for DeJoy to be suspended, saying that the USPS Board of Governors “should never have selected him in the first place.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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