Americans who haven’t been living in caves the past few months have heard a lot about Donald Trump’s assault on vote-by-mail and the post office.
Trump has attacked the post office pretty consistently, even before he began his most recent efforts at vote suppression. (He hates Jeff Bezos and Amazon, and is convinced that USPS undercharges Bezos for deliveries. As with so many other things Trump “knows,” this has been debunked by people who actually know what they’re talking about.)
It was bad enough when Mitch McConnell–aka “the most evil man in America”–refused to allow a Senate vote on House-passed measures to shore up USPS finances, but things really started going to you-know-where-in-a-handbasket when the administration installed Louis DeJoy as Postmaster. As Paul Waldman noted in an article in The Washington Post,“Like many Trump appointees, DeJoy seems to have been hired for the purpose of undermining the agency he now leads.”
Ignore LeJoy’s transparent efforts to sabotage the vote. He would have been an appallingly inappropriate choice even if he hadn’t been willing to wage war on democratic self-government..
LeJoy was a major Republican donor, thanks to the sale of a family shipping company for some $615 million, and he is heavily invested in shipping companies that are not only not the USPS, but are in direct competition with the postal service. As a post to Daily Kos put it, DeJoy “stands to make a serious chunk of change if he can either redirect a larger chunk of the nation’s mail to those companies or, alternatively, sabotage the constitutionally-mandated USPS severely enough to cause those redirections to become nonoptional.”
Evidently, DeJoy was Trump’s kind of “businessman.” His shipping company was sued multiple times for sexual assault, sexual harassment, racism, wage theft, and union busting. In 1997, the National Labor Relations Board found that, after taking over the Compton Army Terminal in California, DeJoy directed the company to take extreme efforts to hide job opportunities from union workers.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to hold a multimillion-dollar stake in his former company XPO Logistics, a United States Postal Service contractor, likely creating a major conflict of interest, according to newly obtained financial disclosures and ethics experts.
Outside experts who spoke to CNN were shocked that ethics officials at the postal service approved this arrangement, which allows DeJoy to keep at least $30 million in XPO holdings….
“The idea that you can be a postmaster general and hold tens of millions in stocks in a postal service contractor is pretty shocking,” said Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, who resigned in 2017. “It could be that he’s planning on selling it, but I don’t understand the delay. He has managed to divest a lot of other things. And if he wasn’t prepared to sell that off, he shouldn’t have taken the job.”
Schaub, who is now a senior adviser at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, suggested that if DeJoy doesn’t divest his holdings soon, it could be construed as an illegal conflict of interest. Schaub also questioned why the ethics officials approved this arrangement.
It’s illegal under federal law for federal government employees or their spouses to have a “financial interest” in companies that intersect with their official duties. The ethics experts who spoke to CNN said DeJoy could have mitigated these conflicts by divesting, agreeing upfront to recuse himself from some matters, receiving legal waivers, or even establishing a blind trust.
“If you have a $30 million interest in a company, of course it’s going to impact you,” said Stuart Gilman, who spent 12 years at the Office of Government Ethics, where he was the assistant director. “I would assume that there is a problem here. It certainly doesn’t pass the smell test.”
CREW–Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington–also issued a letter detailing DeJoy’s conflicts of interest, noting that DeJoy personally participated in particular matters that directly affect two companies in which he retains ownership interests, and that “These actions run counter to his obligations under the conflict of interest law.”
More recently, we’ve been treated to blockbuster reports that DeJoy routinely violated campaign finance laws.
Is there a single person in Trump’s cabinet or administration who isn’t sleazy and dishonest?