Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin answers questions at a White House press briefing. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

"It's a Cover-Up": White House Accused of Hiding Mnuchin Role in Recruiting Postmaster General DeJoy

Documents obtained by a watchdog group reveal that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with the Postal Service Board of Governors in February "to discuss the search for a new postmaster general."

Jake Johnson, staff writer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday accused the Trump White House of covering up the role Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin played in recruiting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor with no prior experience working for the U.S. Postal Service.

"If it looks like a cover-up, sounds like a cover-up, and smells like a cover-up, it's a cover-up."
—Rep. Jackie Speier

In a letter to Robert Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, Schumer wrote that as part of his investigation into DeJoy's selection and unanimous appointment in May, his office "learned of the role Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had with the Postal Board of Governors, including through meetings with individual governors as well as phone calls with groups of governors, which has not been previously disclosed by the board."

"This administration has repeatedly pointed to the role of [executive search firm] Russell Reynolds to defend the selection of a Republican mega-donor with no prior postal experience as postmaster general while at the same time blocking the ability of Congress to obtain briefings from the firm and concealing the role of Secretary Mnuchin and the White House in its search process," the New York Democrat wrote.

Schumer demanded that the Board of Governors—which is completely controlled by Trump appointees—immediately release Russell Reynolds from any nondisclosure agreement barring the firm from providing details about its postmaster general search and provide a full "explanation of the role of President Trump and Secretary Mnuchin in the search process for a new postmaster and the selection of Mr. DeJoy."

Schumer's investigation into the process that resulted in DeJoy's appointment began in June, when he demanded that the Board of Governors turn over any communications with the White House related to the postmaster general's selection. Shortly after taking charge of USPS on June 15, DeJoy moved to impose operational changes that caused severe mail backlogs across the nation. DeJoy this week vowed to suspend, but not reverse, the changes.

"In your July 2 response to me, the board asserted that much of the information I requested was confidential and declined to provide it," Schumer wrote Wednesday. "As a result, my staff sought the cooperation of Russell Reynolds with Congress... My office was informed by counsel for Russell Reynolds that the board was not willing to waive its nondisclosure agreement so that Congress could satisfy its oversight obligations."

In response to stonewalling by the Board of Governors and the Trump White House, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) tweeted, "If it looks like a cover-up, sounds like a cover-up, and smells like a cover-up, it's a cover-up."

On Wednesday, watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) obtained documents confirming that Mnuchin was involved in the Board of Governors' effort to find a replacement for former Postmaster General Megan Brennan, a 34-year Postal Service veteran who retired in June.

As CREW's Donald Sherman and Linnaea Honl-Stuenkel wrote Wednesday, the documents reveal that "Mnuchin met with the United States Postal Service Board of Governors in February to discuss the search for a new postmaster general as part of his larger campaign to exert influence over the USPS."

"It's clear that Mnuchin had a candidate for postmaster general in mind, who was personally invested in USPS competitors," Sherman and Honl-Stuenkel continued. "The Washington Post reports that Louis DeJoy, the eventual pick, was recruited by Mnuchin."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Summit Participants Embrace 'Vaccine Internationalism' to End Pandemic

"Our goal is simple: to end the pandemic as quickly as possible by securing Covid-19 vaccines for all," says the coordinator of Progressive International's four-day virtual summit.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


As Iran Elects New President, Experts Urge Biden to Rejoin Nuclear Deal, Lift Sanctions

"The Biden administration must remain resolute and seek a break from the disastrous conditions that helped contribute to this result."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


UN General Assembly Condemns Myanmar Junta Violence, Urges Arms Embargo

Member nations voted 119-1 in favor of the resolution, which also calls for a return to the country's fragile democracy.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Dems Introduce Abolition Amendment to Scrap Constitution's 'Slavery Clause'

"The loophole in our Constitution's ban on slavery not only allowed slavery to continue, but launched an era of discrimination and mass incarceration that continues to this day," said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


'Surreal' and 'Distressing': Climate Experts' Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

"The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·