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Democrats Ask FBI Director to Open Criminal Investigation of Postmaster General and USPS Board of Governors

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy (2nd R) arrives for a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on August 5, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

A pair of Democratic members of Congress on Monday urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to open an investigation into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS Board of Governors. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) cited to recent reports detailing nationwide delays in mail deliveries and requested the bureau probe whether top officials at USPS were intentionally attempting to impede mail distribution for personal or political gain.

“There is overwhelming evidence that Postmaster General DeJoy and the Board of Governors have hindered the passage of mail. At least 19 mail sorting machines, which can process 35,000 pieces of mail per hour, have been dismantled and over 671 are slated for reductions later this year,” the letter stated. “If Postmaster General DeJoy and/or the Board of Governors took these actions ‘for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate’ then they violated both 18 U.S.C. § 595 [Interference by Administrative Employees] and 18 U.S.C. § 1701 [Obstruction of Mail]. Indeed, there is evidence that making mail-in balloting more difficult may be one of the motivations for the changes instituted at the Post Office.”

The letter comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s interview last week with Fox Business Network, in which he effectively conceded that he was withholding funds to the USPS knowing that this would hamper mail-in voting.

Earlier this month USPS notified election officials in 46 states that the sweeping changes being made within the agency, coupled with the increased demand for mail-in ballots due to the pandemic, meant that voters’ ballots were at risk of not being delivered by the Nov. 3 deadline.

Prompted by complaints from Democratic Senators, the USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has also launched a dual-pronged investigation into DeJoy that will center on his agency directives and compliance with ethics rules.

Under DeJoy — a Trump mega-donor with millions of dollars invested in USPS contractors and competitors who was confirmed by the Postal Service’s Board of Governors in May — the USPS has undergone a slew of worrying transformations including the mass reorganization of top executives and cost-cutting measures. The moves have come amid a ten-fold increase in mail-in voting due to the resurgent pandemic and the Trump administration’s attempts to prevent expanded access to mail-in ballots.

Lieu and Jeffries noted that DeJoy recently met with Trump and top GOP officials, stating that it was “not unreasonable to conclude” that those at the top of the USPS were simply executing on Trump’s desire to “affect” voting through the mail.

“Postmaster General DeJoy and the Board of Governors have already taken action to delay the passage of mail. Unless these actions are reversed, these changes will affect the elections this November in at least 46 states,” the letter stated. “We therefore urgently request that you open such an investigation.”

Read the full letter to Wray below:

2020-08-17 Lieu Jeffries Letter to FBI on USPS by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.