Recently released documents from the United States Postal Service (USPS) reveal that, in the first months of Louis DeJoy’s tenure as Postmaster General, he had more than a dozen instances of conflicts of interest due to his and other family members’ investments in companies tied to the government agency.
The documents showThat DeJoy had failed to divest himself from several companiesHe had contracts with USPS, including XPO Logistics, a transport company he was the chief executive of. He also had between $30 million to $75 million in financial interests in the company when he started serving as postmaster general. In addition to that, DeJoy and his family had notable conflicts of interest with other companies due to investments, including AT&T, CVS, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Discover Financial Services, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and more. These companies have contracts with the USPS.
The documents detailing DeJoy’s conflicts of interest — as well as his failure to stay out of decision-making processes in the first few months after he was appointed Postmaster General by former President Donald Trump — were obtained after the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and won a court challenge earlier this year requiring USPS to release them.
Federal law requires that government employees, including agency head, must comply with federal law to divest from investments worth more than $15,000 in companies that may be affected by their work. Although the documents that CREW obtained do not put a set dollar amount on how much he had, they do show his and his family’s investments exceeded that amount for all 14 companies they were involved with.
The documents also detail how DeJoy didn’t begin the formal process for recusal from decision-making matters related to these companies until August 2020 — months after his initial appointment by the USPS Board of Governors in May of that year. CREW reported that DeJoy could be criminally charged if he was involved in the awarding of contracts to his former company XPO Logistics.
“There was a period of time where the head of the Postal Service was making decisions when there could have been a conflict, and he could have been thinking about his own financial interest, rather than the interest of the Postal Service and the country,” CREW president Noah Bookbinder said. “That’s significant.”
“The United States Postal Service seriously mismanaged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s conflicts of interest from the start,” wrote CREW digital director Meghan Faulkner, adding that “USPS’s initial decision to allow DeJoy to recuse from matters involving his former company XPO Logistics rather than divesting from the conflict-creating assets was clearly insufficient.”
The refusal of USPS to be forthright in releasing the information — only releasing it due to a court order, after CREW sued to have the documents made public — also “raises questions about whether they were trying to cover up how badly they mismanaged DeJoy’s conflict,” Faulkner wrote.
DeJoy’s conflicts of interest from the start of his tenure “were handled about as badly as ethics watchdogs had feared,” as he was “allowed to continue holding millions of dollars in shares of a USPS contractor, which was awarded additional contracts before he ultimately divested,” Faulkner added.
The revelations will likely step up effortsSome Democrats in Congress call for DeJoy to be reinstated, a Trump legacy. To be fired. In addition to his connections to private companies that could benefit from his being postmaster general, DeJoy has been heavily criticized for implementing a number of policies that could cause significant harm to USPS’s reputation, including Plans that will enable mail deliveryMuch slower.
DeJoy can only be fired by the USPS’s Board of Governors. The current chair, Ron Bloom, a Democratic appointment to the board, has signaled he won’t support such action against the current Postmaster General. His term expires December 31st, so President Joe Biden could be replacing Bloom. Biden could replace DeJoy, as some Democrats hope.