In a “policy departure” by the U.S. Postal Service, under incompetent Trump campaign donor Louis DeJoy, lawmakers have been barred from observing “firsthand how mail is being processed at large facilities in the final weeks of the election.” According to the Wall Street Journal, at least five Democratic lawmakers have been barred from entering facilities by Trump’s postal service, and their excuses have been “inconsistent.”
New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell told the WSJ that he was refused entry last month, and then again on Monday. He and his delegation wanted to see how the handling of mail-in ballots, amidst the building workload, was being handled at a large mail-processing plant in Kearny, New Jersey. According to Pascrell, the post office said there were security concerns and that Pascrell’s appearance might be a violation of the Hatch Act.
USPS spokesman David Partenheimer told Forbes that surprise, surprise, in 2018 under Trump the agency “updated its ethics guidelines to include this phrasing: “members of Congress who are on the ballot are not allowed to tour a postal facility within 45 days of a primary or general election.” Of course, because this is the incompetently corrupt Trump administration, the WSJ and Forbes point out that even under their own revised guidelines elected officials can visit federal facilities for “official purpose, such as receiving briefings, tours, or other official information.”
Other Democrats that have been turned away include Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was told she hadn’t taken a “special training course first,” and California Rep. Jared Huffman who has not been able to observe his post office in Eureka, California, saying this is completely new, and that he has had “all sorts of previous meetings and tours and it’s never been an issue.”
Considering that the Trump administration has done everything in its power to hamstring the U.S. Postal Service in their duties, especially approaching Election Day, requests to see how things are progressing should be considered essential for a democracy. The level of blowback the Trump administration received for its transparent attacks on the Democratic process of mail-in-voting during a pandemic when record numbers of Americans will be casting their vote by mail, has been almost nonpartisan. Unfortunately, the Republican Party is a minority party of authoritarian fetishists at this point, and many have kept mum.
The Trump administration has been one enormous Hatch Act violation after another, and right now their only chance at getting four more years in office is to steal the election. To say this is not their plan is to forget that through gerrymandering they have stolen what little remained of the democratic process of the Senate, and through that they have stolen the Judicial Branch of our country away from the majority of Americans.