House Democrats on Monday announced plans to investigate Postmaster General Louis DeJoy after a report surfaced claiming that he and his aides encouraged employees at his former company to make campaign contributions to Republican candidates and reimbursed them for their funds, according to multiple reports.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said in a statement obtained late Monday by The Washington Post that her committee plans to investigate whether DeJoy lied to the group under oath. She also called for DeJoy’s suspension, writing that the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors “never should have hired (him) in the first place,” according to the Post.
The announcement came after the newspaper reported allegations that DeJoy urged employees at his former business, New Breed Logistics, to give money to and attend fundraisers for Republican candidates. Former employees told the Post that workers were later reimbursed for their contributions through boosted bonus payments and other award bonuses.
“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’” said a former employee who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity.
Three former employees, who were not named, told The New York Times that it was “widely believed that the bonuses were meant to reimburse the political contributions,” though they did not say how explicit DeJoy was about linking the two.
Encouraging people to make donations to candidates is not illegal, however, straw-donor schemes in which a person reimburses someone else for making political contributions are illegal under federal campaign finance law, according to the Times.
A spokesman for DeJoy, Monty Hagler, told the Post that DeJoy didn’t know employees felt pressured into making donations and pointed to a statement in which he said the Postmaster Genreal “believes that he has always followed fundraising laws and regulations.”
At a news conference Monday, President Donald Trump said he would be open to an investigation into the situation.
“I think, let the investigations go. But he’s a very respected man,” the president said. “I think he’s a very honest guy, but we’ll see.”
In response to a question about whether DeJoy should lose his job if the allegations prove to be true, Trump said, “If something can be proven that he did something wrong, always.”
DeJoy was put in charge of the Postal Service in June after a career in logistics 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 House Oversight Committee recently subpoenaed DeJoy for records about widespread mail delivery delays that have pushed the Postal Service into the political spotlight.
He has appeared before Congress twice in recent weeks to testify about the changes, some of which he said he has put on hold until after the elections.
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