The House Oversight Committee will begin an investigation into allegations that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy pressured his employees to make political contributions and then reimbursed those individuals, which is illegal.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the committee, announced the investigation late Monday evening, according to the Washington Post. She called for DeJoy’s immediate suspension and claimed that he may have lied under oath last month when he testified in front of the committee.
Maloney claimed that DeJoy, a Republican megadonor who assumed his position as postmaster general in June, faced “criminal exposure” if the allegations are true and “for lying to our committee under oath.”
The announcement of the committee’s investigation came a day after the allegations surfaced. According to a report from the Washington Post, DeJoy, during his time running his former business, New Breed Logistics, and his aides would urge subordinates to donate to political causes and then provide them with inflated work bonuses as compensation.
Monty Hagler, a spokesman for DeJoy, said DeJoy believes he hasn’t violated any laws, but he didn’t address the claims that employees were reimbursed for their contributions. Hagler said DeJoy was unaware of “any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason.”
The act of urging employees to donate is not a crime, but reimbursing them would be in North Carolina, and it would also violate federal election laws. There’s no statute of limitation for felony offenses in North Carolina, but the relevant federal laws have a five-year statute of limitations.
During the 14-year period from 2000 to 2014, more than a hundred New Breed Logistics employees donated more than $1 million to federal and local GOP candidates, while fewer than a dozen gave a combined $700 to Democratic candidates.
DeJoy’s testimony last month focused on how the U.S. Postal Service is preparing to handle the November election, which will likely be more reliant on the Postal Service for absentee and mail-in voting than previous elections as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after DeJoy’s testimony, Maloney issued a subpoena for information about the removal of mail sorting machines, mailboxes, and other “policies and practices” that may be slowing mail delivery.
Since he took over as postmaster general, DeJoy has implemented an array of changes, such as the decisions to prohibit overtime and curtail late trips for mail carriers that ensure on-time delivery.
Democrats have accused President Trump and DeJoy of working to undermine the Postal Service and of hampering their ability to aid the election, while the president’s administration has argued that mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud and shouldn’t be done.
Trump told reporters on Monday that DeJoy is a “very honest guy” but indicated that he supports removing his postmaster general if it “can be proven that he did something wrong.”