Government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Friday filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over reports that he unlawfully reimbursed employees for making political contributions to Republican candidates during his tenure as CEO of a North Carolina logistics company.
CREW's complaint (pdf) demands an "immediate investigation and enforcement action" from the FEC against the postmaster general for his "direct and serious violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act," citing Washington Post reporting from September 6 that detailed DeJoy's efforts to pressure his employees to donate to Republicans running for office. If necessary, CREW said, the FEC should refer "this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution."
Noah Bookbinder, executive director of CREW, said in a statement that "by utilizing straw donors, DeJoy and his company were able to make excessive contributions, use illegal campaign funds to make donations, and conceal these activities and the true sources of the contributions from the public, in violation of the law."
"The FEC needs to thoroughly investigate this," Bookbinder continued. "As Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy has done potentially irreparable damage to Americans' ability to vote safely in this election. It does not come as a surprise he apparently has a history of electoral malfeasance."
BREAKING: We just filed an FEC complaint against Louis DeJoy for orchestrating an illegal straw donor scheme to help elect Republicans https://t.co/P7gJjX8k81
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) September 11, 2020
The CREW filing comes as DeJoy is already facing a House Oversight Committee investigation into the alleged straw donor scheme, which was uncovered as the postmaster general continues to face scrutiny over operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that caused nationwide mail slowdowns, potentially threatening the timely delivery of ballots in the upcoming November election.
On Wednesday, as Common Dreams reported, advocacy group Common Cause North Carolina filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections and Attorney General Josh Stein over DeJoy's alleged violation of campaign finance laws.
"Violations of these laws undermine public trust in our democracy and must be treated with the utmost seriousness," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. "No one is above the law, no matter the size of their bank account."
Facing numerous congressional investigations and ongoing public outrage over his Postal Service changes and potentially illegal conduct as a logistics executive, DeJoy is reportedly planning to hire a veteran Republican insurance industry lobbyist to help push back against claims that he and other top USPS officials are attempting to advance Trump's political interests by undermining mail-in voting.
According to the New York Times, DeJoy "informed postal officials that he had selected Peter Pastre, a former Republican congressional aide and insurance lobbyist, to act as a liaison for the agency with Congress and state and local governments."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said DeJoy's move is "a joke," calling it "the Trump Swamp in a nutshell."
"DeJoy gets caught and, instead of facing consequences from the administration, he hires a lobbyist to help cover it up," Schumer tweeted Wednesday.