Republican mega donor Louis DeJoy’s various dealings have also garnered criticism from members of his own political party.
The degree to which Postmaster General Louis DeJoy may have used his considerable wealth to obtain his position is raising more eyebrows on Capitol Hill.
On Monday, several experts testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that DeJoy should resign from his position based on how his financial holdings in XPO Logistics—his former employer—and other entities in the private sectors could interfere or pose a conflict of interest with his current role as US postmaster general.
One of the witnesses at Monday’s hearing, Lisa Graves of True North Research, argued DeJoy should “resign, or be fired” in her opening statement after noting that the former Republican Party mega donor and fundraiser invested at least $30 million into XPO Logistics and received more than $2 million annually from his warehouse and office spaces leased to XPO. As a contractor for the United States Postal Service (USPS), XPO Logistics has been paid $14 million by the agency since DeJoy assumed the postmaster general position in June, according to the New York Times.
In addition to XPO Logistics, DeJoy has also invested between $2 million and $11 million in Warburg Pincus—a private equity firm that merged his former company, New Breed Logistics, with XPO. He is also a stakeholder in various other companies he could benefit from in privatizing the USPS, as Forbes reported.
Graves also testified that after the opening for the postmaster general became public, DeJoy donated more than $600,000 to President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Convention over the span of eight weeks, as well as $1.5 million to GOP candidates and campaigns in the 2019-2020 cycle.
“Notably, the amount DeJoy has given to GOP candidates, campaigns, and PACs in the past year exceeds the amount he gave in the prior four years,” she added.
DeJoy’s various dealings have also garnered criticism from members of his own political party. Richard Paint, the former Chief Ethics Lawyer for President George W. Bush, told the House subcommittee it is “very likely” that the American businessman abused his financial conflicts of interest “unless he has recused from so many matters at the USPS that he is not fully functioning as Postmaster General.”
Painter also claimed if DeJoy were working under the W. Bush Administration, the White House would’ve asked for his resignation.
“How can you run the post office and make decisions … if you own millions of dollars of stock in a company that is trucking the mail around?” Painter said in his testimony. “It doesn’t make any sense. So either [DeJoy] has not been doing his job, over the past 13 weeks or so, or he’s committed a crime that could be a felony.”
Monday’s hearing is one part of the House Democrats’ investigation into allegations suggesting DeJoy pressured his employees at New Breed Logistics to donate to Republican candidates between 2000 and 2014, and reportedly awarded them through company bonuses. These allegations suggest DeJoy was acting in a clear violation of campaign finance laws.
The allegations, first revealed in the Washington Post a week ago, came from five of DeJoy’s former employees. They accused the postmaster general and his then-aides of urging them to donate to Republican candidates and attend political fundraising events at his mansion in Greensboro, North Carolina. Two other ex-employees accused DeJoy of awarding bigger bonuses to employees who contributed to Republican candidates.
It is illegal to reimburse employees for contributing to political campaigns to avoid federal campaign contribution limits.
In addition to his financial conflicts of interest, DeJoy is also in the hot seat for creating “significant” mail delays as mail-in ballots continue to become a more favorable option for American voters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A recent Senate report, compiled by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.), found that a series of changes to the USPS approved by DeJoy—including removing mailboxes, disassembling mail-sorting machines, reducing overtime hours for workers, and ending additional trips for late mail—drastically slowed down mail delivery across the country.
In August, DeJoy denied allegations that these changes undermine the general election’s voting-by-mail process. He promised that the USPS, under his leadership, will prioritize mail-in ballots over other mail.
Mailing delays are also causing significant concern for Americans who rely on the postal service for their prescription medications. According to the recent Senate report, mail-order prescriptions are taking three to four days or longer to arrive, resulting in seizures and hospitalizations for some Americans.
“These are real concerns that I’m hearing, these are not manufactured, these are people who are coming forward talking about delays, talking about medicine that is not available for them,” Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said in Monday’s hearing. “When I hear those stories, we stand up. That’s my job. That’s the job of every senator here: to stand up for our constituents, for the people back home who are being hurt.”