Postmaster General Louis DeJoy May Have Done A Tiny Bit Of Criming On His Way To Wrecking The Mail
Holding out for a pardon is a useful job skill.
Louis DeJoy, Donald Trump's pet postmaster general, has been under fire for allegedly slowing down delivery of mail (that's three different links, why not catch them all!) prior to this fall's elections, because that would be awfully helpful to a "president" who's at war with voting by mail, at least when Democrats do it. But wait! There's more! Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that one way DeJoy made a name for himself as a top fundraiser for Republicans involved putting the squeeze on employees at his company to donate as well, and then reimbursing them for those donations with annual bonuses. Five former employees told the Post they'd made donations and then been paid back for them, a good ol' "straw donor" election fraud scheme [allegedly] to get around limits on how much one person can donate to political candidates. That's a felony under both federal law and in North Carolina, where his company, New Breed Logistics, was located. Oh, yes, New Breed had contracts with the United States Postal Service, nothing fishy there .
And despite those meddling journalists, DeJoy may get away with it, since the scheme appears to have ended when he sold New Breed in 2014, and there's a five-year statute of limitations on the federal charges. North Carolina doesn't have a statute of limitations on felonies, so state charges might be a possibility. House Democrats are opening an investigation into the allegations. Donald Trump said at his weirdass presser yesterday that he's open to an investigation of DeJoy, and even said that if wrongdoing is proven, DeJoy should lose his job, but then, Trump says a lot of things.
Hey, remember that time GOP fanboi Dinesh D'Souza pleaded guilty to doing straw donations to a Republican candidate friend, whined about having to do hard (overnight) prison time for the felony, and then Donald Trump pardoned D'Souza for the felony he'd admitted to, because D'Souza had been a "political prisoner" unfairly persecuted by Barack Obama? In the unlikely event DeJoy is charged by North Carolina, Trump can't pardon him for state crimes.
Donate Now, Get A Bonus Later
One retired executive at New Breed, former human resources director David Young, went on the record for the Post story, while other former employees insisted on anonymity because they're still afraid of the guy. Young said it was all pretty routine:
Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses. [...] When we got our bonuses, let's just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.
It was all very tidy; the Post notes that the bonuses didn't exactly match employees' donations, but "but were large enough to account for both performance payments and donations," according to "two people with knowledge of company finances."
The story also explains that while it's legal, sometimes, for employers to solicit campaign contributions from their employees (depending on how they're asked), it's definitely not OK to pressure employees to give, and super doubleplusungood to reimburse them for such contributions. In total, the investigation found that
Between 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company together gave more than $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates. Many had not previously made political donations, and have not made any since leaving the company, public records show.
DeJoy his own self donated over $1.1 million to Trump Victory, a combined fundraising machine for Trump and the GOP, plus assloads of earlier money to various GOP candidates and other Republican party funds. And the company was very clear about letting employees know which candidates they should support.
During the House's recent hearings into the Postal Service slowdowns, DeJoy got quite testy when Democrats asked about his campaign donations, objecting to all their witch hunting: "Yes, I am a Republican," he said. "I give a lot of money to Republicans." He probably likes beer, too! When Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tennessee) asked DeJoy if he'd ever repaid executives for donating money to the Trump campaign, the postmaster got very indignant, answering, "That's an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it. . . . The answer is no."
Which would probably be accurate, too, since Trump wasn't running for anything while DeJoy was allegedly doing that for executives who donated to other Republicans, SO THERE.
Also, since the reporters were digging around in campaign finance records, they add that during the same period of time, nine New Breed employees "gave a combined $700 to Democrats." Insert Dana Carvey as Ross Perot exclaiming, "Now that's just sad!"
Elsewhere, the piece says that when DeJoy was fundraising for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 campaign, New Breed employees kicked in a total of more than $85,000, and that once Giuliani dropped out, his campaign returned "$16,000 in excess contributions" to "multiple employees [who] gave identical contributions that were twice the legal limit." That year, two employees gave Ron Paul a combined $550, presumably because they were extremely independent-minded. No word on whether they got in trouble for festooning their cubicles with Ayn Rand quotes.
No Pressure, Really. Nice Office You Have Here.
The story details that while the official word was that giving to DeJoy's chosen candidates, or attending fundraisers at his mansion, was purely voluntary , it was the kind of "voluntary" that involved some very meaningful glances. Former plant manager Steve Moore said he definitely felt pressured to donate to Giuliani in 2007, not long after he'd started working at New Breed. After DeJoy sent an email announcing a fundraiser at his home, Moore said his manager, Philip Meyer, followed that up with a very unsubtle suggestion that a contribution was "highly recommended," even if Moore couldn't make the party.
"I took that to mean my job is on the line here, or things won't go smooth for me here at New Breed if I didn't contribute," Moore said in an interview. He donated $250. "I didn't really agree with what was going on," he said. Moore said he was terminated in 2008 after a dispute with his supervisors.
Well then he's just one of those disgruntled ax-grinders! Meyer declined to comment for the story. Probably a very busy guy.
We Love Our Boss's Candidates, Yes We Do!
We should note that several other former employees went on the record to say they'd been asked to donate to Republican candidates, but they were happy to do so because they agreed with DeJoy that these were very good candidates who were much better than "Cats," so they donated again and again. Those folks denied that they'd ever felt pressured to donate, and also said don't be silly, they never got any reimbursement in the form of a bonus.
One management dude, Joe Hauck, said he had contacted employees to urge them to help out candidates, but said nah, he definitely never pressured anyone to donate, heavens no!
"I created a list of people that had indicated that they were interested. And whenever there was an event coming up, I would let them know about the event and they would either say, 'Yeah, I want to participate' or 'No, I don't,' " he said.
Hauck said he sometimes did collect checks for candidates in the office, but only because some employees "happened to have their checkbooks on them."
That was nice of him! As for reimbursing people for their donations, that too never happened, said Hauck:
He said he never received any bonuses for that purpose, nor was he offered any. "That's illegal — you can't do that[.]"
That's illegal, you can't do that? Sounds like a mantra for losers and dopes.
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