The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over allegations that came out over the weekend he pressured former employees to make campaign contributions.
Democratic New York Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement Monday the panel will investigate whether DeJoy lied under oath when he claimed he never forced employees to donate to candidates in exchange for reimbursement, according to The Washington Post. Maloney is calling for the Postal Service’s Board of Governors to suspend DeJoy, noting “they never should have hired [him] in the first place,” per the same report.
The announcement of a probe comes after The Washington Post reported allegations DeJoy pressured former employees at his North Carolina-based logistics company, New Breed, to donate to Republican candidates. Two former employees say DeJoy would then boost employee bonuses, per the same report.
Reimbursing employees for political contributions is illegal and carries a five-year statute of limitations, however it is legal for employers to encourage employees to make donations, according to the New York Times (NYT).
Maloney said DeJoy faces “criminal exposure” if the allegations are true “but also for lying to our committee under oath,” per The Washington Post.
But DeJoy denied allegations he repaid executives for contributions to President Donald Trump during his testimony to the House Oversight panel last month, calling the allegations “outrageous,” according to the NYT.
“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it. What are you accusing me of?” he reportedly said.
More than a dozen management-level employees at New Breed are reported to have donated to the same candidate on the same day, and in many cases donating the same amount of money, according to the NYT.
Between 2000 and 2014, 124 employees donated over $1 million to GOP candidates, according to The Washington Post.
“These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately, independent of Donald Trump’s Justice Department,” said Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, per the same report. “The North Carolina attorney general, an elected official who is independent of Donald Trump, is the right person to start this investigation.” (RELATED: Trump Says Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Should Lose Job If ‘Proven’ Guilty Of Campaign Finance Violations)
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein released a statement on Twitter Sunday night, saying if the allegations are true, then DeJoy committed a crime.
My statement on today’s @washingtonpost story “Louis DeJoy’s rise as GOP fundraiser was powered by contributions from co. workers who were later reimbursed, former employees say”:
It is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for a political contribution.1/2
— Josh Stein (@JoshStein_) September 6, 2020
“Louis DeJoy’s rise as GOP fundraiser was powered by contributions from co. workers who were later reimbursed, for employees say. It is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for political contribution,” he tweeted. “Any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities. Beyond this, it would be inappropriate for me as Attorney General to comment on any specific matter at this time.”