Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced late on Monday that a formal investigation would commence into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, after reports over the weekend detailed how he may have been involved in an illegal scheme to raise funds for Republican candidates for office.
Allegations into DeJoy’s conduct were first reported by The Washington Post, which revealed on Sunday that between 2003 and 2014, DeJoy may have reimbursed his employees for political contributions they made to GOP candidates by paying them back in the form of bonuses.
It is illegal to make such payment arrangements under both federal and North Carolina state law, where the alleged reimbursements took place. The accusations were made by David Young, who served as DeJoy’s human resources director at the time the supposed transactions took place.
Democrats in Congress have called on DeJoy to step aside from his role as postmaster general until the matter can be resolved and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has said that an investigation could be launched in his state.
“Any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities,” Stein said.
On Monday evening, Maloney echoed Stein’s sentiments, announcing that the committee she chairs would begin an investigation into DeJoy’s actions. But the committee wouldn’t stop there, she added.
Maloney suggested that DeJoy also faces “criminal exposure” because he had denied engaging in such behavior during a congressional hearing last month. He is likely to face repercussions “for lying to our committee under oath,” Maloney said.
DeJoy’s boss, President Trump, tried to defend the postmaster general during a press briefing on Monday, prior to Maloney’s announcement. When asked about the allegations, Trump stated to reporters that he believed DeJoy was an “honest guy.” He also deflected the question by stating he wasn’t familiar enough with the reporting to make a statement on it.
“I don’t know exactly what the story is. I’ll certainly know within a short period of time. I just read it for the first time — I read it this morning, just like you did,” Trump said.
Pressed on whether he’d want DeJoy to lose his job if the allegations are proven true, Trump responded in the affirmative.
“If something can be proven that he did something, always,” Trump said. However, immediately after that question, the president launched into a tirade against investigations into his administration in a general sense, proclaiming that a friend had told him he was “the most innocent, honorable man ever” to be president.
Other lawmakers, however, have been less passive toward DeJoy’s alleged conduct than Trump was on Monday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) urged North Carolina’s attorney general to launch a formal investigation into the postmaster general, to ensure a fair inquiry into the matter.
“These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately, independent of Donald Trump’s Justice Department,” Schumer added.