Claims about the political fundraising conduct of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy when he was a private business owner, have apparently attracted an FBI investigation, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
DeJoy had previously been accused, according to a 2020 Washington Post report, of pressuring the employees of his former business to make campaign contributions with the use of bonuses and other tactics. DeJoy has vigorously denied the allegations.
The FBI is now, according to the Washington Post, investigating the fundraising activities of the shipping logistics business DeJoy ran before his controversial USPS appointment. The probe has included interviews with the company’s current and former employees, and DeJoy himself was also issued a subpoena for information, the Washington Post reported.
DeJoy’s spokesman confirmed the investigation, but denied that DeJoy had knowingly violated any laws.
“Mr. DeJoy has learned that the Department of Justice is investigating campaign contributions made by employees who worked for him when he was in the private sector. He has always been scrupulous in his adherence to the campaign contribution laws and has never knowingly violated them,” the spokesman Mark Corallo said in the statement to the Post, which he also shared with TPM.
Corallo pointed to DeJoy’s cooperation when Congress questioned him on “these matters,” as well as his cooperation in a “Postal Service Inspector General’s inquiry which after a thorough investigation gave Mr. DeJoy a clean bill of health on his disclosure and divestment issues.”
“He expects nothing less in this latest matter and he intends to work with DOJ toward swiftly resolving it,” Corallo said.
The allegations about DeJoy’s fundraising conduct emerged when he was also under fire for implementing policies at the U.S. Postal Service that stood to hamper its mail voting operations — right as President Trump was making false claims about mail voting, which skyrocketed during the pandemic.
DeJoy backed off of some of the policies while insisting that they were not aimed at screwing up mail voting. Litigation brought by civil rights groups also forced the agency to take extra steps to facilitate the mail voting process during the pandemic.
The current investigation comes as the Biden administration is under pressure to find a way to oust DeJoy, who was a mega donor for the GOP. He was selected by Trump appointees to the USPS Board of Governors in what was an unusual hiring process.
On Thursday morning, hours before the news of the FBI probe broke, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) released a letter to Biden’s three new appointees to the board urging them to move towards the “immediate” removal of DeJoy from his role “at the next available opportunity.” However, the likelihood of such a removal remains unclear, as the Biden appointees to the USPS board remain outnumbered by the board members who support DeJoy.
House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), whose committee oversees the postal service, doubled down on that call with the news of the investigation.
“If these allegations are true and Postmaster General DeJoy violated campaign finance laws, he must resign immediately or the Board of Governors must remove him,” she said. “The Board should also immediately disclose what information it had about these allegations and whether it has reviewed them.”
Updated: This story has been updated to include comment from House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney.