A leading government ethics watchdog on Wednesday cheered a federal judge's ruling ordering the United States Postal Service to hand over documents concerning potential conflicts of interest involving embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates on Tuesday granted Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) a full summary judgment (pdf) and ordered the United States Postal Service (USPS) to give the advocacy group seven documents it requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
USPS claimed the documents were FOIA-exempt. According to Law & Crime, "Four of the documents concerned a request for a certificate of divestiture from DeJoy and the remaining three concern his recusal from matters where he may have a conflict of interest."
As CREW explained Wednesday:
Over the past seven years, the USPS has reportedly paid approximately $286 million to XPO Logistics, DeJoy's ex-employer, and has "ramped up its business" with the company since DeJoy's appointment as postmaster general. After his appointment, DeJoy continued to hold financial interests in XPO totaling between $30 and $75 million. DeJoy also held a significant amount of stock in Amazon, a major USPS competitor.
Earlier this month, Common Dreams reported on growing calls to fire DeJoy following the revelation by The Washington Post that USPS will pay XPO Logistics $120 million over the next five years. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) responded to the Post report by calling DeJoy a "walking conflict of interest."
Last Friday, a Post report that DeJoy had purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of publicly traded bonds from Brookfield Asset Management—where USPS Board of Governors Chair Ron Bloom is a managing partner—fueled further calls for DeJoy's termination, with Connolly calling Bloom and the postmaster general "bandits" whose "conflicts of interest do nothing but harm the Postal Service and the American people."
CREW communications director Jordan Libowitz called Bates' order "a big win not just for CREW, but for transparency advocates everywhere."
"DeJoy's decision-making as postmaster general has raised some serious ethical questions—now we should finally get some answers," Libowitz added.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) on Monday sent President Joe Biden a letter urging him to sack everyone former President Donald Trump appointed to the USPS board. Pascrell welcomed the Tuesday court order and reiterated his call for Biden to fire Trump appointees and "show DeJoy the door now before it's too late."
DeJoy and six of the nine USPS governors, including Bloom, were appointed by Trump; the rest are Biden appointees.
In addition to the alleged conflicts of interest in connection with XPO Logistics and Brookfield Asset Management, CREW, in advocating DeJoy's ouster, notes that:
- DeJoy and his wife, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada, got their jobs after contributing $2 million to Trump's campaign coffers;
- DeJoy is the first person in decades to lead the USPS without any previous experience in the agency;
- DeJoy is under federal investigation for allegedly operating a scheme where he asked employees of his former company to make campaign contributions, then arranged for bonus payments to reimburse the employees; and
- DeJoy apparently violated federal criminal laws by commanding the USPS to make policy changes at the agency that would depress or delay voting by mail in the 2020 election.
"Bottom line: Louis DeJoy has overseen an attack on the Postal Service and on American democracy itself," CREW tweeted Wednesday. "The USPS Board of Governors must fire him before it's too late."
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams - Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community and was authored by Brett Wilkins.