Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
One of Trump's most loyal saboteurs still remaining in office might not be able to hold that distinction for a whole lot longer. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is under FBI investigation for campaign finance activity according to the Washington Post. The New York Times advances the reporting by confirming "Mr. DeJoy has received a grand jury subpoena for information connected to the investigation, according to a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to talk about information related to the grand jury."
That makes the very careful, very precise statement from DeJoy spokesman Mark Corallo to the Washington Post, confirming the investigation, just a little bit incriminating: "Mr. DeJoy has learned that the Department of Justice is investigating campaign contributions made by employees who worked for him when he was in the private sector," Corallo said. "He has always been scrupulous in his adherence to the campaign contribution laws and has never knowingly violated them." He has never knowingly crimed? He might have accidentally crimed? Seems like now would be a really good time for DeJoy to leave that office, either voluntarily or by having the newly complete Board of Governors fire his ass.
The investigation stems from reporting from the Post last September, detailing how DeJoy's former company, New Breed, was at the center of what looked to be an illegal 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.
The Post investigation found contributions from 124 New Breed employees to Republican candidates and quoted current and former employees who said that managers "received strongly worded admonitions" to give to DeJoy's fundraisers. DeJoy's executive assistant also "personally called senior staffers" to make sure they were attending or to make contributions to Republican candidates. The employees then received bonuses that matched their political donations, which sure looks like an illegal scheme—both federal and state—to funnel corporate money into campaigns and evade campaign finance laws. In April, District Attorney Lorrin Freeman in Wake County, North Carolina, announced she would not pursue an investigation because the matter would be better handled by federal authorities. Who are now, in fact, on it.
What's unclear from the Post's reporting is whether the FBI is also looking into further irregularities in donations in subsequent years surrounding the same company, which was bought out by XPO Logistics in 2014. DeJoy retired from his executive position at the company in 2015, but was then appointed to the board of directors and served there until 2018. The Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy organization, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the pattern of straw donations continued after New Breed was acquired by XPO, and highlighting donations from employees and from DeJoy's family that look awfully suspicious.
The group alleges that from 2015 to 2018, it found "several instances of XPO employees contributing to the same candidate or committee, during the same period of time, and often in similar amounts," and that "DeJoy family members, including DeJoy's college-aged children, also made contributions on the same day or in the same period as those employees." By 2018, DeJoy had become a Trump donor and former deputy finance chair of the RNC.
During a congressional hearing in September, Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat, pressed DeJoy about whether he engaged in these campaign-finance irregularities. DeJoy—under oath—denied the claims. Cooper asked DeJoy about his fundraising for the Trump campaign, saying: "you were picked along with Michael Cohen and Elliott Broidy, two men who have already pled guilty to felonies, to be the three deputy finance chairmen of the Republican National Committee."
He asked straight up: "Did you pay back several of your top executives for contributing to Trump's campaign by bouncing or rewarding them?" DeJoy vehemently denied the allegation. Technically, DeJoy's denial of this might not be a lie because the Post'sreporting predates the Trump campaign. It alleges that DeJoy did precisely this, but for other Republican candidates. That's not to say that DeJoy kept up the practice after the XPO Logistics acquisition of New Breed (and by the way, XPO has been under investigation for exceedingly lucrative contracts with the USPS).
Precisely what the FBI and the grand jury are investigating isn't clear. The felony statute of limitations on campaign finance violations is five years, so the initial allegations from the New Breed era, which ended in 2014, are likely not it, though the Post suggests those employees have been interviewed. That could be to establish a pattern that continued through DeJoy's tenure at XPO and clear up until he was donating hundreds of thousands to Trump's 2020 convention. Before he was tapped to head the USPS in May 2020, of course.
This should finally be enough. DeJoy crippling the Postal Service should have been enough. The weeks-long delays in mail delivery should be enough. All of it should finally be enough for the USPS Board of Governors and for President Joe Biden. DeJoy has got to go.
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