WASHINGTON – Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been a controversial figure since he was appointed head of the United States Postal Service by the board of directors in May 2020. And as his first anniversary approached, his office announced that it was under FBI investigation of his contributions to the past campaign.
During his tenure, DeJoy faced an onslaught of criticism due to changes made to the postal service during the 2020 presidential campaign season. He made bold statements and strongly defended his actions at the USPS.
Democrats said DeJoy, an ally of former President Donald Trump, was not qualified for the job due to his lack of sufficient postal experience.
In a letter to the board of directors in June 2020, then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote, “The millions of Americans who rely on the postal service – to communicate, vote or conduct business – deserve to know whether the next postmaster general has been selected for political or political reasons. of patronage or if it has it will protect and strengthen its essential services ”.
A former fundraiser for the Republican National Convention, DeJoy has had significant investments in companies that compete or do business with the USPS, according to several reports.
Democrats continue to repeat their calls for his removal.
“Get used to me,” DeJoy told a congressional panel in February. In fact, it marked a year of work on June 15th.
Here’s what happened after DeJoy was appointed postmaster.
FBI investigation into DeJoy
A spokesperson for DeJoy confirmed in USA TODAY the Department of Justice is investigating campaign funds involving its former North Carolina company New Breed Logistics. The Washington Post first reporting the Department of Justice interviewed past and current DeJoy employees about political contributions and company activities.
Spokesman Mark Corallo said DeJoy did not knowingly violate campaign contribution laws.
In September the The Washington Post also reported Former DeJoy employees were pressured to make contributions to Republican candidates. They were later repaid with bonuses from DeJoy. It is a federal violation to reimburse employees for campaign contributions.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are now investigating DeJoy about the reimbursements and whether he lied to Congress about the allegations during an August testimony. When asked if he had reimbursed employees who donated to Trump’s campaign, DeJoy replied, “That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it.”
Postal delays in elections, holidays
DeJoy faced strong objections from Democrats and Republicans last year about the changes he made delayed delivery of mail. Some proposed changes included overtime cuts, shorter post office hours, and the removal of mail handling equipment such as blue collection boxes. This happened when many states expanded the vote by mail in an effort to limit the crowds on election day due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Democrats argued that the changes would hamper the agency’s ability to handle an influx of ballot papers during elections. Other changes the Democrats have identified in a 10-page letter a DeJoy included the declassification of electoral mail as first class and a ban on “late” or “extra” delivery trips.
He defended the changes as a cost-cutting measure intended to improve the agency’s financial health ahead of a Senate panel in August 2020.
“I want to assure this committee and the American public that the postal service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail safely,” DeJoy he told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
A few days after the Senate hearing, DeJoy again appeared before the House Oversight Committee to defend his actions. DeJoy condemned the allegations he was undermining the delivery of the agency’s electoral mail as “false narrative.He also argued that the changes were necessary to offset the financial burdens of postal services and that the pandemic had led to a dwindling number of postal workers.
But later, DeJoy suspended changes to operations until after the 2020 presidential election. “To avoid even the appearance of an impact on the poll, I suspend these initiatives until the election is over,” DeJoy said in a statement. known at the time.
In February, he blamed the 2020 holiday season delays on the pandemic in a hearing before the House Oversight Committee. DeJoy once again stated that the the agency had “persistent problems” and that “the erosion has been going on for years”.
The postal service has struggled with long-standing financial burdens. In fiscal 2020, the agency lost $ 9.2 billion. In the past 14 fiscal years, the postal service lost $ 87 billion.
What’s happening now with DeJoy?
Five of the nine members of the postal service’s board are Democratic candidates.
Last month the Senate approved three of the candidates for president Joe Biden – Anton Hajjar, former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union; Ron Stroman, a former deputy post general manager; Amber McReynolds, who leads the nonprofit National Vote at Home Institute, to the board.
The Democrats have called for DeJoy to be removed from office.
“Postmaster General DeJoy would not be in his place if he worked for any other company,” said Representative Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y.
Neither Congress nor a president can remove the postmaster general; that is up to the board of directors.
However, during the February House Oversight Committee hearing, DeJoy told Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., That he would oversee the agency for “a long time. Get used to me.”
As part of a ten-year “Delivering for America” plan to reduce the agency’s debt, the postal service wants to raise prices on first class stamps from 55 cents to 58 cents and raise prices for first-class mail, magazines, and marketing mailers. DeJoy said the increases will allow the agency to “remain viable and competitive and offer reliable postal services that are among the most affordable in the world.”
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Contribution: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Louis DeJoy to the USPS: FBI delays, controversy and investigation