The embattled postmaster general Louis DeJoy is a political appointee of Donald Trump’s who has been pilloried for his supposed cost-savings efforts at the United States Postal Service that have resulted in major mail delivery snafus and threatened the ability of the USPS to handle the anticipated record-breaking number of mail-in ballots for the November elections in this time of COVID-19 danger in a timely fashion.
With a background in private logistics, rather than any public postal delivery service, DeJoy came to his political appointment by way of his copious donations to the Republican party for whom he has also been a major fundraiser and a deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Now, employees of DeJoy’s New Breed Logistics company are accusing him of illegally reimbursing employees whom he pressured into making large contributions to Republican candidates and causes as a way to avoid individual donation limits on his own contributions.
According to The Washington Post:
“Five people who worked for DeJoy’s former business, New Breed Logistics, say they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by the chief executive himself to write checks and attend fundraisers at his 15,000-square-foot gated mansion beside a Greensboro, N.C., country club.”
While social and business pressure to contribute to political candidates that may support policies helpful to an individual company’s future success is not illegal, it is the arrangement to pay the employees back through a system of illicitly-motivated bonus payments that run afoul of our nation’s campaign finance laws and could now create a major problem for the Trump acolyte.
“Two other employees familiar with New Breed’s financial and payroll systems said DeJoy would instruct that bonus payments to staffers be boosted to help defray the cost of their contributions, an arrangement that would be unlawful,” The Washington Post reports.
David Young is DeJoy’s retired longtime director of human resources at New Breed and had access to the company’s payroll records from the late 1990s to 2013. He described how the suspect reimbursement scheme worked.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” Young relates. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”
A different former employee confirmed Young’s account, saying DeJoy arranged for extra compensation for employees who made political contributions, ordering managers to give bonuses to specific individuals.
“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said the anonumous former employee, who feared retribution from DeJoy.
A spokesman for DeJoy told the newspaper that the postmaster general “believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations.”
The Washington Post, however, found in its own analysis of federal and state campaign finance records “a pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates, with the same amount often given by multiple people on the same day.”
“Between 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company together gave more than $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates. Many had not previously made political donations, and have not made any since leaving the company, public records show. During the same period, nine employees gave a combined $700 to Democrats,” the paper reports.
If the accusations made by the former employees prove true, DeJoy could be in legal peril with his alleged straw-donor scheme which illegally lets donors evade individual contribution limits and obscures the true source of money used to influence elections.
You can read more of The Washington Post’s coverage of the latest scandal to rock the Trump administration here.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.