The chief Democrat on the House Oversight Committee said late Monday the panel will open an investigation into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy amid a series of bombshell claims that he pressured former employees to donate to GOP lawmakers and then reimbursed them through large bonuses.
The Washington Post reported late Monday that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, planned to probe whether DeJoy had broken the law or if he had lied under oath to the panel.
The publication first reported Sunday that DeJoy urged workers at his former company, New Breed Logistics, to write checks to Republican lawmakers he supported for more than a decade between 2003 and 2014. Several employees told the Post it was expected they would then be reimbursed for the donations with large bonuses.
“He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” David Young, a former director of human resources at DeJoy’s company, told the Post. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”
If true, the donations could be illegal if they constitute a straw-donor donation scheme. The donation ploy sees individuals bypass political donation limits by reimbursing others who effectively donate for them, which is a federal and state crime in North Carolina, where New Breed was based.
It is legal for people to encourage their employees to donate to a candidate, as long as the money is not reimbursed in any way.
On Sunday, a spokesman for DeJoy rejected the assertions made by the former employees and said he “believes that all campaign fundraising laws and regulations should be complied with in all respects.”
“Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason,” the spokesman, Monty Hagler, told the Post.
DeJoy was asked directly if he had done so during testimony before House lawmakers last month, prompting a fiery rebuke from the Postmaster General.
“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it. . . . The answer is no,” he told Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) at the time.
Maloney said Monday that DeJoy should be suspended while the investigation goes forward amid the claims, which were also corroborated by The New York Times.
Asked about the allegations, President Donald Trump said Monday DeJoy should be investigated and lose his job “if something can be proven.”
“I think he’s a very honest guy, but we’ll see,” the president said.