The lawsuit, filed by liberal legal group American Oversight, ratchets up the pressure on the agency to disclose who DeJoy met with over the weeks in which he oversaw broad changes to the USPS that slowed mail delivery shortly after he took office in June.
DeJoy’s history as a prominent fundraiser for President Donald Trump and as a former executive for a logistics company that contracts with the USPS has raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest and political manipulation of the Postal Service ahead of the presidential election in November. Mail-in ballots could easily decide the election in a year in which many people will avoid the polls due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Legal groups, the media and the House Oversight Committee have all sought DeJoy’s calendar, viewing it as a key document for understanding whether and to what degree he has politicized the USPS.
The agency acknowledges that DeJoy created a calendar on a government computer to carry out government work and to apprise staff of his availability. At least one agency ethics officer also has access to the calendar, DeJoy told the House Oversight Committee last month.
But the USPS has so far refused to release the calendar, claiming that records of his meetings aren’t covered by the Freedom of Information Act, which allows the public to access government records.
“Who has Postmaster General DeJoy been meeting with, and why is he trying so hard to keep it a secret?” Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said in a statement. “DeJoy is supervising the delivery of everything from mail-in ballots to medications right now, and the public is entitled to see how he’s spending his time and who has been influencing his decisions.”
In a widely publicized exchange, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) questioned DeJoy about his calendar last month at a hearing before the House Oversight Committee, asking whether he or his staff had deleted events since taking office. (He said no.) The committee, which is investigating changes to the Postal Service under DeJoy, subpoenaed the USPS for the postmaster general’s calendar earlier this month.
The lawsuit asks the USPS to hand over the records within 20 days. But lawsuits over records sought through FOIA routinely drag on for months or years, raising the possibility that the records won’t be released until well after the election ― if they are released at all.