Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Friday with the Federal Elections Commission, as calls grow for the controversial Postal Service chief to face consequences for allegedly reimbursing employees who made donations to Republican political campaigns at his former logistics company.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that while DeJoy led New Breed Logistics from 2000 to 2014, he allegedly pressured employees to donate to Republican candidates to help him grow his profile as a GOP fundraiser, and used company bonuses to reimburse them, which may constitute an illegal straw-donor scheme.
CREW, a Washington-based nonpartisan ethics watchdog group, called for an “immediate investigation and enforcement action” against DeJoy, XPO Logistics (which bought New Breed), and the campaign of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C), which benefited from the allegedly improper New Breed donations.
Though the statute of limitations has passed for the FEC to “impos[e] civil fines, penalties, or forfeitures” for the alleged violations, CREW said that the agency could still obtain “equitable relief,” such as by ordering false disclosures to be corrected, and the statute of limitations wouldn’t apply if DeJoy had “fraudulently conceal[ed] the wrongful conduct”—which could have happened if donations were recorded as having been made by employees, but were actually reimbursed by DeJoy and New Breed.
The CREW complaint follows a complaint filed Wednesday by watchdog Common Cause with the North Carolina State Board of Elections and state Attorney General Josh Stein, who has suggested he may investigate the allegations.
The House Oversight Committee has announced its own investigation into the alleged campaign finance violations, and committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and a number of other Democratic lawmakers have called for DeJoy to resign or be removed by the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors.
Members of the board—which is made up entirely of Trump appointees, though two are Democrats—have continued to support DeJoy: Board member John Barger told senators Wednesday the board is “thrilled” and “tickled pink” with DeJoy’s job performance, and board member William Zollars told the Post the board has no intention of disciplining DeJoy over the alleged campaign finance violations.
“By utilizing straw donors, DeJoy and his company were able to make excessive contributions, use illegal campaign funds to make donations, and conceal these activities and the true sources of the contributions from the public, in violation of the law,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “The FEC needs to thoroughly investigate this.”
DeJoy spokesman Monty Hagler said in response to the Post report that DeJoy received advice from the FEC while at New Breed “to ensure that he, New Breed Logistics and any person affiliated with New Breed fully complied with any and all laws,” and Zollars told the Post that DeJoy told the USPS board “that he feels like he has done nothing wrong.” Hagler and DeJoy have not specifically addressed or denied the allegations that employees were reimbursed for donations.
The FEC is currently hampered by the fact that the agency does not have a quorum; the commission only has three members currently, and four members minimum are required in order for the commission to meet.
The alleged campaign finance violations are the latest in a string of controversies to befall DeJoy, a Trump donor who has drawn widespread scrutiny since becoming postmaster general in June. DeJoy’s changes at the U.S. Postal Service have spurred widespread mail delays, prompting nationwide outrage and accusations from Democrats that he is working with President Donald Trump to “sabotage” the election. (DeJoy has denied these allegations.) The postmaster general has also come under fire for his financial holdings, which include millions of dollars in XPO Logistics, a USPS contractor that bought New Breed, and Amazon stock options. CREW had already filed a criminal complaint against DeJoy alleging that he’s undermining mail-in voting, and DeJoy also faces a number of lawsuits from state attorneys general and mail-in voters, as well as congressional investigations into his changes at the agency.
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