U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is back in the news over even more allegations of corruption and a conflict of interest over investments he and his family hold in 14 companies that have done business with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). He held these investments when he took office and kept them for months, according to the new documents released by government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and reported first by NBC News.
DeJoy and his family trusts maintained business interests in DeJoy’s former employer, XPO Logistics, as well as AT&T, CVS, Verizon, UnitedHealth, Lockheed Martin, Capital One, Discover Financial Services, Dominion Energy, Honeywell International, IBM, Regions Bank, Travelers Insurance, and JPMorgan Chase, the documents show. They were obtained by CREW in a public records lawsuit. His and his family’s investments in each company were worth more than $15,000 each, the limit allowed for government employees to hold without divesting or recusing themselves from any interaction with the company.
DeJoy took over the Postal Service in June 2020 and didn’t begin the recusal process until July and August of last year. During those weeks, CREW charges, he could have exploited his position to personally benefit. For example, he still held the investments in JPMorgan Chase in August 2020. Chase had been having talks with the Postal Service for several months about the possibility of putting ATMs in post offices.
It’s not clear if DeJoy was in on those discussions, but it wasn’t until Aug. 3, 2020 that he notified the Postal Service’s board of governors of his financial interest and was recusing himself “from participating personally and substantially in any particular matter that would have a direct and predictable effect on the financial interests of this company.” The fact that he did eventually recuse himself—when he was already under scrutiny from Congress and external watchdogs for his actions to hobble the mail and because of his political ties to Trump—was all the Office of Ethics of the Postal Service needed.
That’s not good enough for Noah Bookbinder, the president of CREW, who says the Ethics conclusion was “woefully inadequate.”
“Everybody knows that he has these interests,” he told NBC News. “And so even then there are going to be potentially incentives, even if he’s not in the room, for others to make decisions that could benefit him.” That continued for a number of weeks. “There was a period of time where the head of the Postal Service was making decisions when there could have been a conflict, and he could have been thinking about his own financial interest, rather than the interest of the Postal Service and the country,” Bookbinder said, referring to the months after DeJoy became postmaster general and before he recused himself. “That’s significant.”
“I think it really raises questions about whether we can trust DeJoy and trust the Postal Service to make the right call as issues arise in the future,” Bookbinder said. It’s pretty clear by now that we can’t trust DeJoy. Nor can we trust Ron Bloom, the chairman of the board of governors for the USPS, a Democrat who nonetheless is a big DeJoy booster.
DeJoy isn’t even doing the one thing the Postal Service is legally, constitutionally bound to do: “The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.”
Because the Postal Service is purposefully not meeting the mission because of DeJoy’s new 10-year plan to both slow mail delivery and make it cost more. That plan has drawn a complaint from 20 states’ attorneys general against the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which argues that the Postal Service didn’t fully vet DeJoy’s 10-year plan.
“The Plan will transform virtually every aspect of the Postal Service … rework how the Postal Service transports mail and other products; overhaul its processing and logistics network; enact slower service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals and First-Class Packages Services; reconfigure the location of places where customers can obtain postal products and services; and adjust rates,” the attorneys general said in a joint statement.
They are joined in that by members of Congress. Here's the latest from Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois to Bloom demanding that he fire DeJoy, writing that it is Bloom’s “duty to uphold the mission enshrined in the Postal Service Reorganization Act of 1970: ‘[T]to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people.’”
“Following a field hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in Chicago, at which USPS employees testified to the recent deterioration of this decades-old institution, I am compelled to express my solemn belief that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must be immediately removed through a majority vote by the Board of Governors,” Krishnamoorthi wrote. “It is no longer in the best interests of the USPS or its customers – the American people – for Mr. DeJoy to continue in his role.”
That follows a request from last summer by the state attorneys general to the PRC to reject the proposal. The attorneys general wrote back in June that the plan reflects a “flawed philosophy that would prioritize the services it offers in competitive markets over those that it alone provides and on which countless Americans depend.”
But the piling up of evidence of possible corruption on DeJoy’s part is untenable. DeJoy remains the subject of an FBI investigation for alleged illegal campaign finance activity. In September 2020, The Washington Post reported on DeJoy’s former company, New Breed, and what looked to be an unlawful straw donor scheme to pump more than $1 million to Republican candidates from 2000 to 2014. During that period, DeJoy became a major donor to the GOP in North Carolina and nationally. Those irregularities continued when New Breed was purchased by XPO Logistics, with DeJoy remaining on the board of directors.
Everything about DeJoy stinks, as does his plan to tear down the USPS, the oldest American government institution—it pre-dates the Revolution. Bloom needs to save the post office by firing DeJoy. If Bloom continues to fail to do so, President Biden needs to fire him.