As Alice in Wonderland may have put it, “Things at the U.S. Postal Service keep getting curiouser and curiouser.” The source of the dysfunction is the Trump-appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. At issue is whether DeJoy, a former major donor to the president’s campaign, has a direct hand in the unusual things that are gumming up the works in the Postal Service.
The latest headlines highlight how some employees in DeJoy’s former company, New Breed Logistics felt coerced into donating money to the Republican Party only to be “reimbursed” later with hefty bonuses. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that “over a dozen management-level employees at New Breed would routinely donate to the same candidate on the same day, often writing checks for an identical amount of money.” Four former New Breed Logistics employees anonymously told the publication that the apparent donations were rewarded with bonuses. Other information came from campaign finance records.
DeJoy has vigorously refuted the allegations both in person and in a statement read by his spokesperson, Monty Hagler. He told the New York Times that New Breed Logistics employees weren’t pressured to send money to the Republican Party. Hagler said that DeJoy only wanted to encourage his managers “to get involved in activities that a family member or employee might feel was important or enjoyable.”
Responding to the concerns that a coordinated attack on postal delivery will lead to massive delays in absentee ballots during the presidential election, last Friday, postal police at two different Florida USPS facilities blocked Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz from inspecting the operations. Congressional Democrats are concerned about reports of delayed or destroyed mail, sorting machines pulled out of operation and canceled mail carrier overtime prohibiting the delivery of overdue mail.
According to the Postal Service, Congresswoman Wasserman was not allowed onto the premises because postal authorities learned “too late” that she “wanted a tour.” Wasserman notes she has received pictures of pallets filled with undelivered mail with dates going back to July 23.
In addition to members of Congress, current postal service employees as well as critics in the public and in the media have raised alarms over what appears to be another voter suppression technique. In response, DeJoy pushed back. “I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” he said last month while speaking in front of a congressional committee.
Still, the Postmaster General’s “cost-cutting” mission at the USPS has created a major slowdown all over the country for people who rely on “snail mail.” This is particularly true for residents in Rural America. Mail deliveries are often delayed and much anticipated.
Farmers depend on machinery shipments by mail as well as deliveries of livestock, seeds, and honeybees. One farmer who depends on deliveries of baby chicks for his farming operation told NBC News last week that one of his latest deliveries was a disaster. All summer long, numerous delays have resulted in hundreds of his baby chicks showing up DOA — dead on arrival.
Concerns from Postal Service consumers over delivery slowdowns affecting checks, medications, and other goods are raising alarms all over the country. According to the Postal Service’s own numbers, timely delivery is down approximately 10 percent over the last three months.
With DeJoy’s history of giving large sums of money to the Trump campaign in addition to well-documented questions of conflicts of interest involving DeJoy’s relationship with XPO Logistics, Democrats continue to question the Postmaster General’s leadership and political motives. NPR reported that DeJoy received millions of dollars from XPO Logistics last year.
The president weighed in recently saying that he would be open to investigating DeJoy, “if something can be proven that he did something wrong” according to reporting by the Washington Post.
With one of the closest elections in U.S. history taking place within two months in the middle of a global pandemic, will Democrats be able to hold DeJoy accountable for the timely delivery of the nation’s mail or will Trump get to stay in the White House due to the efforts of yet another Republican crony?
Image Credit: postaltimes.com