New calls went up for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to be fired from his job Sunday after it was reported that former employees of the GOP megadonor and logistics executive now running the U.S. Postal Service reimbursed workers at the company for donations they made to the Republican Party at his behest—an arrangement that is illegal under both state and federal campaign finance laws.
The arrangement with former employees at his company, New Breed Logistics, was first reported by the Washington Post on Sunday.
According to The Post, Louis DeJoy engaged in what is known as a straw-donor scheme as he rose to prominence as a Republican fundraiser prior to his May 2020 appointment as US Postmaster General by pressuring employees of his former business, New Breed Logistics, to donate to GOP candidates; he then would reimburse contributions using bonuses. Now he could be in deep legal trouble.
At least seven New Breed employees spoke to the Post, five of whom said they were pressured by DeJoy or his aides to give to Republicans and attend fundraisers. Two others reportedly said that at DeJoy’s direction, bonus payments were “boosted” to offset the cost of the donations. Campaign finance records show his employees gave large amounts of money to Republican candidates, according to the investigation.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party,” said David Young, the now-retired former director of human resources. “He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses. When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”
The other source on the reimbursement, bonuses detail–speaking on condition of anonymity our of fear of retaliation–said Dejoy got more compensation for employees who made political contributions.
“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,’” the person said.
Five former employees said Dejoy or his aides urged them to make contributions and attend fundraisers at his mansion in Greensboro, North Carolina.
A Washington Post analysis of federal and state campaign finance records found 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. The investigation found that 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.
Although it can be permissible to encourage employees to make donations, reimbursing them for those contributions is a violation of North Carolina and federal election laws. Known as a straw-donor scheme, the practice allows donors to evade individual contribution limits and obscures the true source of money used to influence elections.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chair of the subcommittee on Government Operations which has oversight over the USPS, said such behavior would be reason to have DeJoy removed from his powerful post.
Add Trump’s crony DeJoy to the list of allies who should be indicted. This is against the law and DeJoy must be fired. https://t.co/f6YRAyZUk1
— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) September 6, 2020
Although it can be permissible to encourage employees to make donations, reimbursing them for those contributions is a violation of North Carolina and federal election law, known as a straw-donor scheme. https://t.co/M8kT6CFDP0 pic.twitter.com/tylREyI7F4
— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) September 6, 2020
Breaking — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's rise as a GOP fundraising powerhouse was fueled by his urging his employees to donate to the GOP — and then he illegally reimbursed them for those donations. https://t.co/XqU56Dc0sf
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) September 6, 2020
A DeJoy spokesperson told the Post that the Trump appointee was unaware employees felt pressured to donate, and that DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations.”