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Postmaster General’s ‘Criminal Exposure’ Could Extend Beyond Alleged Straw Donor Scheme

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have opened an investigation into the allegations that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy pressured his former employees to donate to Republican political candidates and causes, then later reimbursed them through excessive bonuses. Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) announced the launch of the investigation on Monday evening. That probe may also examine whether DeJoy lied to Congress during testimony.

The committee’s probe into DeJoy, known as a “Trump campaign megadonor” and prolific fundraiser, will focus on his private sector tenure as the CEO of High Point, North Carolina-based contract logistics handler New Breed Logistics. Five of DeJoy’s former employees claimed they were implored by DeJoy or one of his chief executives to make large monetary contributions to Republican fundraising efforts and to attend GOP events where tickets “routinely fetched $100,000 or more apiece,” The Post reported Sunday.

Two former employees further alleged that DeJoy then offset the cost of the contributions by instructing the company to provide those employees with excess bonus payments.

“He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” New Breed’s former director of human resources David Young told The Post. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”

The allegations, if true, constitute a classic straw donor scheme used to bypass restrictions on an individual’s political donations – a practice that is a felony with no statute of limitations for prosecution under North Carolina state law. But Democrats are already saying that DeJoy’s “criminal exposure” may extend further than the alleged straw donor scheme.

“If these allegations are true, Mr. DeJoy could face criminal exposure – not only for his actions in North Carolina, but also for lying to our Committee under oath,” Maloney said. “We will be investigating this issue, but I believe the [USPS] Board of Governors must take emergency action to immediately suspend Mr. DeJoy, who they never should have selected in the first place.”

DeJoy spokesman Monty Hagler responded to the allegations, saying the postmaster general “believes that all campaign fundraising laws and regulations should be complied with in all respects.”

However, Hagler never explicitly denied the claims from his former employees.

“Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason,” Hagler said.

During sworn testimony before Congress last month, DeJoy said any claim that he participated in such a scheme was “outrageous.”

“The answer is no,” DeJoy said of the allegations. “I’m fully aware of legal campaign contributions, and I resent the assertion, sir.”

[image via TOM WILLIAMS_POOL_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.