Brushing aside widespread alarm over mail slowdowns, prescription medicine delays, potential election sabotage, and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s reported role in an illegal straw-donor scheme, members of the Republican-dominated U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors on Wednesday said they are “thrilled” by DeJoy’s performance thus far as the head of America’s most popular government institution.
After meeting with DeJoy behind closed doors to discuss several ongoing congressional investigations into his actions as USPS chief and previous work as a GOP fundraising powerhouse, two Republican board members gushingly praised the postmaster general and said there are no plans to discipline him over his destructive policy changes or possible criminal actions.
“The board is tickled pink, every single board member, with the impact he’s having,” board member John Barger — who, like DeJoy, is a Republican donor — told the Washington Post in an interview following the private meeting. “He’s an excellent leader. He’s an excellent supply-chain logistics savant. And I’m very, very pleased with his performance since coming on board.”
William Zollars, another GOP member of the board, said DeJoy has the full support of the panel, which currently consists of four Republicans and two Democrats — all appointed by President Donald Trump. Zollars told the Post that DeJoy insisted during the closed-door meeting that “he feels like he has done nothing wrong.”
“From a logistics and operations standpoint, Louis DeJoy is as good as it gets,” said Zollars. “He has support on both sides of the aisle.”
The board members’ comments drew outrage from lawmakers and watchdogs who have been urging the body to exercise its authority to remove — or, at the very least, suspend — DeJoy over policy changes that have significantly disrupted Postal Service operations just weeks ahead of an election that could be decided by mail-in ballots.
Appalling! The Postal Board of Governors met secretly today and issued a statement saying they’re fine with DeJoy slowing the mail before an election and they’re not worried about any campaign finance violations because DeJoy has decided he’s innocent.https://t.co/GVMJZ7cwJB
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) September 9, 2020
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, tweeted late Wednesday that “when given the opportunity to restore confidence in the USPS, the Board of Governors today chose instead to continue their dereliction of duty.”
“Mr. DeJoy’s term as postmaster general has been defined by conflict, sabotage, incompetence and politicization,” said Connolly. “Anything short of his immediate removal is a total failure in oversight and accountability.”
The USPS Board of Governors unanimously appointed DeJoy — a former logistics executive with zero prior Postal Service experience — in May following a search process that Democratic lawmakers have deemed “highly irregular.”
David Williams, a former board member who resigned in protest in April, told the Congressional Progressive Caucus last month that he believes it was Barger who suggested DeJoy as a postmaster general candidate “late in the process.” Williams also alleged that Barger assisted DeJoy in job interviews with the board, helping him “finish a number of sentences where he got stuck.”
Members of the board have come under closer scrutiny in recent weeks as they’ve remained largely silent about DeJoy’s policy changes, which have altered longstanding USPS practices and required postal workers to leave mail behind, significantly delaying package deliveries across the country.
As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, documents show that Robert Duncan, the chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, is serving on two major Republican super PACs, one of which is closely aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Duncan, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, also briefly appeared in a GOP convention video clip in which he backs Trump’s reelection bid.
According to the New York Times, Republican members of the USPS Board of Governors have “helped raise more than $3 million” to support Trump and “hundreds of millions more for his party over the past decade.”
“It’s appalling,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said of the board members’ ties to Trump and the GOP. “The Postal Service is respected and revered because it has a single job: delivering the mail, not serving the partisan interest of whoever happens to be president at the moment.”