Aug 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

USPS inspector general reviewing policy changes by chief Louis DeJoy

A person with a mask on his face.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Postal Service Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb is reviewing recent policy changes and potential conflicts of interest involving Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, following a request from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other Democrats, CNN reports.

Why it matters: A growing number of lawmakers are sounding the alarm over cost-cutting measures and modifications to mail-processing practices that they fear could delay election mail, disenfranchise voters and delay election results.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders discussed Saturday the possibility of bringing the House back early to act on what they see as a crisis with the Postal Service, a House Democratic aide confirmed to Axios.
  • DeJoy is slated to appear for a hearing before the House Oversight Committee on Sept. 17, but some lawmakers fear that could be too late and ineffective in forcing him to reverse changes.

Detais: A group of Senate Democrats led by Warren wrote a letter to the inspector general last week asking her to look into DeJoy's policy changes, which include eliminating overtime for USPS workers, and whether DeJoy has "met all ethics requirements."

  • DeJoy — a former Trump donor and fundraiser — still owns at least $30 million in equity in his former company, which is a USPS contractor, and recently bought stock options for Amazon, a USPS competitor, CNN first reported Wednesday.
  • A spokesperson for the USPS watchdog confirmed to CNN the office has "initiated a body of work to address the concerns raised, but cannot comment on the details."
  • It is unclear if the inspector general has launched "a full-scale investigation into possible politicization at USPS by DeJoy," or if it is just reviewing the matter for Congress, according to CNN.

What they're saying: A number of Democrats in Washington over the weekend called for DeJoy to step down or appear before lawmakers for a hearing.

  • Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) tweeted:"We need to subpoena the Postmaster General, and if he fails to appear, we should send the Sgt at Arms to arrest him."
  • House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tweeted: "The Postmaster General must resign. He’s slowed delivery, banned overtime & decommissioned mail-sorting machines. Right before the election. During a pandemic. The House must demand answers. Hearings should start now. It can’t wait. We won’t let Trump destroy the Post Office."
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) tweeted: "Tonight I’ve made a criminal referral to the New Jersey Attorney General asking him to empanel a grand jury to look at subversion of NJ election laws by Donald Trump, Louis DeJoy, and other Trump officials in their accelerating arson of the post office."
  • Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) tweeted: "Enough is enough: the House Oversight Committee, which oversees the U.S. Postal Service, should come back to Washington as soon as possible to hold a public hearing with the Postmaster General."

The other side: President Trump defended DeJoy at a briefing on Saturday, saying he wasn't sure what changes the postmaster general was making but that "he wants to make the post office great again."

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