The Postmaster General's changes look like efforts to support his own personal, financial interests while doing Trump’s bidding
By Julia D'Eletto
From the moment he was appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy’s tenure at the USPS has been fraught with criticism. As a businessman with numerous conflicts of interests and a long-time Republican political operative with no experience in the public sector, DeJoy has taken his place among the ranks of awful Trump Administration appointees. As his time as Postmaster General reveals more instances of possible corruption, it has become clear he was the worst possible choice to lead the U.S. Postal Service.
DeJoy is the first Postmaster General in 20 years without prior experience in the USPS. His appointment immediately raised concerns within the independent agency. American Postal Workers Union president Mark Dimonstein spoke out in opposition in May, saying “he can choose to be a postmaster general who implements the destructive plans of this White House: raising postal rates, cutting services, undermining stable union and family-sustaining jobs and selling the public Postal Service to corporations for their private profit. And if that is his choice, Mr. DeJoy will be met with stiff resistance from postal workers and the people of this country.”
Board of Governors Vice Chairman David C. Williams resigned shortly before DeJoy was announced as Postmaster General, echoing concerns about the politicization of the Post Office. Williams described DeJoy’s appointment as “the beginning of what the president wanted, [and] the end of the Postal Service.”
These fears seemed to be quickly realized by the USPS, coming to fruition in Mr. DeJoy’s immediate and sweeping changes to Post Office operations, including cuts to overtime, shortened Post Office hours and limiting delivery trips, all contributing to slowing down and delaying mail delivery. With 70% of Americans planning to vote by mail this November, these changes caught the attention of lawmakers almost immediately. U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.,) Gerald Connolly (D-Va.,) Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.,) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) wrote a letter to DeJoy with concerns that the changes he implemented would have “negative impacts on service standards and cause significant delays in mail delivery.” They then went on to say, “while we share the goal of ensuring the Postal Service’s solvency, the rhetoric used in the document compares the Postal Service to a private company concerned only with the bottom line.”
Not only are mail-in ballots being threatened by DeJoy’s changes, but as Americans rely on online ordering and mail delivery of essentials such as medicine, these new “reforms” have the potential to be life-threatening. According to an Ipsos-Axios poll, nearly one-in-five Americans receive medication through the mail. These reforms, which prioritize on-schedule trips at the expense of delivering all pieces of mail each day, have already significantly impacted delivery times. DeJoy has also centralized post office power around himself and has allowed for leaving undelivered mail behind in the name of “efficiency.” This has already caused food to rot inside of packages and mail deliveries in parts of major cities to slow almost to a halt.
DeJoy’s efforts to sabotage mail delivery seem to be in the interests of his boss: Donald Trump. While Trump has consistently criticized mail-in voting, spewing outrageous and false claims about fraudulent ballots being sent through the mail, these allegations have been proven to be extremely rare. In 2016 and 2018, only .0025% of mail-in ballots in three vote-by-mail states were fraudulent, according to the Washington Post.
But Dejoy’s sweeping operational changes to the Post Office may be driven by his own personal financial interests.
Best known for his time as CEO of New Breed Inc, a transportation and logistics contract company, which was sold to XPO logistics for $165 million in 2014, Louis DeJoy’s only experience with the Post Office has come from his $265 million in dealings with the USPS while on the board of XPO. DeJoy has also been a major Republican political donor helping fund campaigns for former President George W. Bush, serving as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, and has donated around $1.3 million to Trump’s campaign since 2016, with about $440,000 in 2020 alone. He has even gone so far as to urge his employees to attend and donate to Republican fundraisers at his North Carolina mansion, allegedly under the promise of reimbursements and increased bonuses for doing so – breaking campaign finance laws in the process.
Financial records obtained through the Office of Government Ethics show that DeJoy and his wife still hold significant investments in companies that are in direct competition with the Post Office. DeJoy’s investments include stakes in XPO Logistics, UPS, J.B. Hunt, Forward Air Corp, and Saia Inc, with total investments in USPS competitors of between $30 million and $75.8 million.
These financial stakes in competing companies are illegal for DeJoy or his wife to own while he remains an active federal government employee. Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said that “the idea that you can be a Postmaster General and hold tens of millions in stocks in a postal service contractor is pretty shocking.” In August, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez suggested a subpoena of Mr. DeJoy’s personal calendars to shed more light on his potential conflicts of interest. On September second, the House Committee of Oversight and Reform announced it will serve him with one, asking for him to divulge not just his personal calendars, but all documents and communications related to recent changes in mail delivery, communications with the Trump re-election campaign, or any other political organization, documents dealing with XPO’s contracting histories with the USPS, and all his financial holdings in Amazon.
The changes made by DeJoy have not been subtle, and look more like efforts to support his own personal, financial interests while doing Trump’s bidding. Without a completely independent Post Office, there may be no way to verify that the upcoming election will be free and fair – a sentiment those on all sides of the political spectrum seem to agree is essential for this November. Public Citizen has filed a lawsuit to suspend implementation of DeJoy’s changes ahead of the election, but Congress must act to protect the Post Office from political sabotage as well.