House Democrats said Monday they would open an investigation into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over accusations that he broke campaign finance laws in pushing his employees to make campaign contributions to Republicans that he would later reimburse.
House Committee on Oversight and Reform chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) said in a statement that the committee would open an investigation and called on the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service to immediately suspend DeJoy, whom “they never should have hired in the first place,” she said.
Maloney’s announcement followed a Washington Post report that DeJoy and his aides would allegedly pressure employees at his former business, New Breed Logistics in North Carolina, to make donations and attend fundraisers at DeJoy’s mansion — events which regularly drew $100,000 or more apiece. Former employees say they made payments between 2003 and 2014 and would then allegedly receive large bonuses to offset the cost of their contributions at the instruction of DeJoy, the Post reported.
DeJoy was not aware any employees had felt pressured to make donations, a spokesperson told the Post.
While not a crime to encourage employees to make donations, reimbursing them for their contributions would be a violation of North Carolina and federal elections laws.
Maloney said DeJoy faces “criminal exposure” not only if the allegations are true, “but also for lying to our committee under oath.”
DeJoy gave testimony under oath to the House Oversight committee last month, during which he denied having repaid executives for contributions to President Trump’s campaign.
While Democrats including the Democratic Attorneys General Association and Representative Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) called for an independent investigation, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) called on the North Carolina attorney general to open a criminal investigation.
“These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately, independent of Donald Trump’s Justice Department,” Schumer said in a statement Sunday.
President Trump, when asked whether he was open to an investigation into DeJoy during a news conference on Monday said, “Sure, sure, let the investigations go.” He also said DeJoy should lose his job “if something can be proven that he did something wrong.”
The postmaster general’s short tenure has been marked by controversy as Democrats have accused DeJoy, a Trump ally, of implementing changes to slow mail delivery to damage mail-in voting in the November election, as the president has repeatedly expressed distrust of mail voting.
“I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” DeJoy said in his testimony last month. “We will do everything in our power and structure to deliver the ballots on time.”