Common Cause North Carolina filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections and Attorney General Josh Stein on Wednesday, calling for the immediate investigation of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over alleged campaign finance law violations that may have "been a means to illegally circumvent donation limits."
The embattled head of the U.S. Postal Service is accused of organizing an illegal straw-donor scheme between 2003 and 2014 while serving as the CEO of North Carolina company New Breed Logistics. According to former employees interviewed by The Washington Post, DeJoy's rise to the top of the GOP fundraising world was "powered by contributions from company workers who were later reimbursed"—a scheme that would violate federal and state campaign finance laws.
The complaint (pdf) filed by Common Cause North Carolina could add to DeJoy's potential legal trouble because "while there is a five-year statute of limitations on federal campaign finance charges, there is no such statute of limitations in North Carolina," the pro-democracy organization said in a statement.
North Carolina campaign finance laws prohibit making contributions in the name of another person, and state law also prohibits corporations from donating to campaigns. If he "pressured employees of his company to make political contributions" and used "his company's funds" to provide bonuses reimbursing employees for donating to his preferred candidates, DeJoy would have violated both provisions, the organization explained.
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Bob Phillips, executive director of the group, said:
Our state's campaign finance laws are designed to protect the fundamental integrity of our elections and guard against undue influence by self-serving megadonors and special interests. Violations of these laws undermine public trust in our democracy and must be treated with the utmost seriousness. No one is above the law, no matter the size of their bank account.
Voters deserve to know who is funding politicians' campaigns. But straw donor ploys hide the true source of political donations and make it impossible for voters to make fully-informed choices. This troubling fundraising scheme allegedly perpetrated by Louis DeJoy has the appearance of bypassing North Carolina's campaign finance limits in order to illicitly buy political access and curry favor with elected officials. These allegations should be thoroughly investigated and, if true, Mr. DeJoy must be held accountable.
Speaking with MSNBC, Attorney General Stein confirmed Tuesday that "for a corporation to reimburse an employee for a political contribution would be a felony in North Carolina, and for felonies there are no statute of limitations."
DeJoy, the former head of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte and a megadonor to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, is also facing possible perjury charges if the House Oversight Committee finds that he lied under oath.