POLITICS

House Committee Prepares Subpoena For Postal Service Head Louis DeJoy

The subpoena seeks documents related to controversial mail delays that threaten the timely delivery of absentee ballots in November.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) stated her intent to issue a subpoena for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, requiring him to produce documents related to recent Postal Service changes that have resulted in mail delays that could potentially threaten mail-in voting in November.

Maloney’s subpoena comes after DeJoy failed to provide documents to Maloney’s committee after appearing for a hearing on Aug. 24. She previously requested DeJoy produce documents by Aug. 26 to explain the removal of mail sorting machines from post offices across the country, provide analyses of truck delivery schedule changes, and detail any conversations with the White House or President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, among other things.

This subpoena covers these document requests and more, including details about how $10 billion in coronavirus relief allocated to the Postal Service was spent and plans related to delivering mail-in ballots for the general election.

Since DeJoy became postmaster general in June, the Postal Service has seen an increasing deterioration in its delivery capabilities, in part due to a new delivery schedule he implemented that cut overtime and required trucks to leave on time, even if the mail was not loaded. Simultaneously, post offices began dismantling hundreds of automated mail sorting machines.

These changes came as Trump said that he didn’t want to fund the post office because he opposes mail voting. 

“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said on Aug. 13. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”

That opposition is part of Trump’s open campaign to undermine the democratic process in November and win reelection without having all the votes counted.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Aug.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Aug. 24.

DeJoy said that he was responsible for the delivery schedule change, but denied responsibility for the removal of mail sorting machines during his testimony before both the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee.

While he said he would halt any additional changes that he aims to make to the Postal Service until after the election, he also declared he had “no intention” of restoring the disabled sorting machines or any other service reductions that he ordered.

In addition to the subpoena issued to DeJoy and the Postal Service, Maloney also sent a letter to Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Robert M. Duncan, asking for documents previously requested by other members of Congress. 

Under Duncan, who also chairs a pro-Trump super PAC, the Board of Governors has refused to comply with document requests from members of Congress based on a memo issued by Trump’s Office of Legal Counsel, the basis of which has been questioned by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), among others.

Based on a certain interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act, the memo suggests that agencies do not need to comply with document requests from Congress unless they come from a sitting committee chair. But that act explicitly excludes Congress from limitations on document requests, as every member of Congress is a constitutional officer in their own right and their requests for documents are not made under that act.

Maloney’s request now fulfills even that erroneous legal memo’s requirements.