A Major Trump Donor Will Lead The Postal Service; Schumer Wants To Know How It Happened
Welcome to your first day on the job as Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. Now, how in the hell did you get picked for it, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to know.
"Although he has previous experience in the logistics industry, Mr. DeJoy will be the first Postmaster General in decades without direct experience within the Postal Service," Schumer wrote in a letter sent Monday to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Robert Duncan.
"Questions have also been raised about Mr. DeJoy’s ability to effectively manage an organization with over 600,000 employees and whether White House and Treasury Department officials inappropriately pressed the Board for his selection over other candidates," Schumer wrote, before detailing a series of questions he wants answered.
The Postal Service Board of Governors began looking for a new postmaster general in October, when Megan Brennan announced she was leaving, and after an unexpectedly long search, settled to DeJoy, a major Trump political donor.
President Trump had been dissatisfied with Brennan over the Postal Service's pricing deal with Amazon -- owned by Trump whipping boy Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post -- and Trump has repeatedly tried to force the service to raise prices.
The Post reported that Trump wanted Brennan fired. Brennan's resignation said nothing about pressure, but said it would take effect in January. The board of governors failed to find a successor until May.
It is unclear what the problem was, but the postal news outlet Linn's Stamp News reported in March three postal officials had been interviewed for the job late in the process, before DeJoy was announced.
They wound up with DeJoy, a major Republican donor who, along with his wife Aldona Wos, has given $1.28 million to Trump's campaign operations, according to Federal Election Commission data. He was also in charge of fundraising for the National Republican Convention this year, and has given hundreds of thousands to the RNC over the years.
He gave $310,600 to the Trump Victory fund this year alone, after the search for a new postmaster general was well under way. He also gave $182,300 to the RNC; more than $10,000 to Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell's committees, and nearly $100,000 to Senate and House Republican campaign committees since the search began.
The Postal Service Board of Governors said in a statement that it started with a list of 200 potential candidates, and gradually whittled it down. It hailed his experience running the company XPO Logistics, as well a company XPO bought, New Breed Logistics, which DeJoy founded. New Breed had a decades-long support contract with the Postal Service.
DeJoy's selection raised alarm among Democrats not just because the Postal Service is facing an acute crisis with COVID-19 crushing already drastically insufficient revenue, but because the Postal Service likely will be key to voting this November as the nation tries to stem the pandemic.
"GOP is naming a political operative with no USPS experience as the Postmaster General right before an election where millions of people will try to vote by mail to save their own lives," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "They are eroding our democracy and crushing our public institutions before our very eyes."
The postmaster general is not a position confirmed by the Senate, but the members of the board are.
Schumer has 10 specific demands for the chairman, Duncan:
1. All communications to or from members of the Board of Governors and White House or Treasury Department officials regarding the search process for a new Postmaster General.
2. Minutes of closed Board of Governors meetings regarding the search process for a new Postmaster General.
3. Names and accompanying documentation of the more than a dozen individuals who in a first round were interviewed by the Board of Governors as part of its search process for a new Postmaster General.
4. Presentations made to Board of Governors regarding the narrow list of finalist who underwent a final vetting process as part of the search process for a new Postmaster General.
5. Documentation and dates of any meetings or conversations that occurred with Mr. DeJoy and the Board of Governors, including by individual Board members or groups of members.
6. Contracts with, documents create by, and communication to and from the Board of Governors, the national executive search firm Russel Reynolds, and the advisory service firm Chelsea Partners regarding the search process for a new Postmaster General.
7. Analysis by the Board of Governors, if any, of the quality of Mr. DeJoy’s performance on previous contract his former companies, including New Breed Logistics, Inc. or XPO Logistics, Inc., had with the Postal Service.
8. Analysis by the Board of Governors, if any, before the selection of Mr. DeJoy of how he will comply with federal ethics laws and regulations, including any review of his financial disclosure statement and determination of assets he must divest or conflict of interest waivers he must seek.
9. Analysis by the Board of Governors, if any, before the selection of Mr. DeJoy of how he will comply with the Hatch Act’s prohibition against federal employees participating in certain partisan political activities and the steps Mr. DeJoy has committed to take in response.
10. Commitments or representations Mr. DeJoy made to the Board of Governors regarding universal service obligation and accessibility of postal services; the affordability of products and services; service standards and the quality of services provided to Americans; the rights of Postal Service workers to unionize and collectively bargain; and the Postal Service’s workforce and financial condition.