Federal law enforcement authorities are investigating the controversial US postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who was widely criticized for his handling of the post office during the election, in relation to political fundraising that involved his former company, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
FBI agents recently interviewed present and former employees who worked for DeJoy and his business, according to the Post. They are asking about campaign contributions and business activities, sources told the newspaper. Prosecutors also hit DeJoy with a subpoena for information, according to the report.
The Post reported in September 2020 that staffers at DeJoy’s former business in North Carolina, New Breed Logistics, claimed that he or his aides pressured them to patronize fundraising events or contribute to GOP candidates. These employees alleged that they were reimbursed through bonuses.
This sort of repayment could violate federal or state campaign contribution laws that bar “straw-donor” set-ups, which enable deep-pocketed donors to bypass contribution limits. Straw donors can also obscure the source of politicians’ fund
DeJoy’s spokesman, Mark Corallo, reportedly confirmed that there was an investigation. He was adamant that DeJoy did not knowingly break 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,” Corallo was quoted as saying. “He has always been scrupulous in his adherence to the campaign contribution laws and has never knowingly violated them.”
The investigation could suggest looming legal problems for DeJoy. He has not been charged with any crime and maintained that his campaign fundraising complied with the law.
DeJoy is a “prominent GOP fundraiser, who personally gave more than $1.1m to the joint fundraising vehicle of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican party,” the newspaper noted.
The postal service’s board of governors appointed DeJoy to postmaster general in May 2020. DeJoy’s tenure in the opstal service has been contentious.
Shortly after DeJoy assumed his role, he enacted cost reduction initiatives that prompted limits to overtime and limiting mail runs, spurring delivery delays. Democrats claimed that DeJoy was trying to weaken the postal service in advance of the election, as Donald Trump vehemently distrusted mail-in voting.
DeJoy previously insisted that he was not trying to impact the election. “I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” DeJoy reportedly said at an August 2020 congressional hearing. “We will do everything in our power and structure to deliver the ballots on time.”