Legal watchdog group American Oversight filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Postal Service in a bid to view Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s calendar after a Freedom Of Information Act request was denied, as critics raise concerns about the controversial postmaster general’s potential contacts with the Trump administration and campaign and his continued ties to the private sector.
The USPS previously denied American Oversight’s FOIA request for DeJoy’s calendar, alleging that his electronic calendar is not subject to FOIA rules because “it was created for [DeJoy’s] personal use and included personal and business appointments.”
American Oversight argues that the calendar should be turned over because it is “composed of agency records,” and DeJoy has testified that ethics officers at the USPS have access to his calendar to screen for conflicts of interest.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) requested DeJoy turn over his calendar during a House Oversight Committee hearing, calling the document “extraordinarily important” to lawmakers’ investigation into changes he’s imposed at the agency, and the calendars are part of a subpoena from the committee for documents that has been issued to DeJoy and the USPS, which are due by Wednesday.
DeJoy, a campaign fundraiser for Trump and GOP candidates, has also been asked to turn over his communications with people associated with the Trump campaign after offering conflicting testimony about his contacts, spurring concern from Democrats that he is concealing discussions about his changes and their potential impact on mail-in voting in the November election.
DeJoy has repeatedly denied being influenced by Trump in any way and said in a letter to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) that his only discussions with Trump campaign officials about the USPS changes have been to relay that Trump’s comments attacking mail-in voting and the USPS are “incorrect” and “not helpful.”
DeJoy has also come under fire for his continued ties to former employer XPO Logistics—a USPS contractor in which DeJoy holds at least a $30 million financial stake—though the postmaster general testified he has not had any meetings with XPO officials since becoming postmaster general.
“Who has Postmaster General DeJoy been meeting with and why is he trying so hard to keep it a secret?” Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, asked in a statement. “DeJoy is supervising the delivery of everything from mail-in ballots to medications right now, and the public is entitled to see how he’s spending his time and who has been influencing his decisions.”
DeJoy’s ties to Trump and his former employer have become a major source of controversy during his time as postmaster general, as scrutiny intensified on DeJoy when his changes at the agency resulted in nationwide mail delays ahead of the election. Though DeJoy has repeatedly denied being influenced by Trump, he has given more than $1 million to the Trump Victory Fund PAC since 2016, and donated $600,000 to Trump, GOP and the Republican National Committee through a series of donations to PACs and the RNC specifically after the postmaster general vacancy was announced. Trump has praised DeJoy as a “fantastic man,” and the postmaster general previously was criticized for having a “congratulatory meeting” with Trump on August 3; the meeting was not publicized, and Trump claimed a few days later that he “didn’t speak” to the postmaster general. Experts have also raised concerns about DeJoy’s continued stake in XPO Logistics as a potential financial conflict of interest, with former White House chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter testifying at a House hearing Monday that it is “very likely” that DeJoy has violated federal conflict of interest rules “unless he has recused from so many matters at the USPS that he is not fully functioning as Postmaster General.”
Why Is The Postal Service Hiding Louis DeJoy’s Calendar? (Huffington Post)