Investigations against Postmaster Louis DeJoy
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D) said Tuesday that an investigation is warranted in response to allegations that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy used his former company's funds to reimburse employees for political donations made to Republican candidates.
"The idea that somebody would make a contribution and then be reimbursed by corporation or individual that’s a straw donor, that would be a violation of the law," Stein said while speaking on MSNBC.
"And clearly, any credible allegations along those lines need to be investigated to determine whether the law was violated."
"Any allegations that’s this serious merits investigation," he added.
The comments from Stein came amid the fallout from a Washington Post report published Sunday detailing an alleged campaign finance scheme orchestrated by DeJoy while he served as the head of New Breed Logistics in North Carolina.
Five former employees told the newspaper they were urged to make political contributions to Republican candidates and that DeJoy later reimbursed them using company funds. The reimbursements were offered through bonuses, according to the former employees.
Such an arrangement would amount to a violation of federal and North Carolina state campaign finance laws. Federal law has a five-year statute of limitations, however no such limitations exist under state authority.
Democrats quickly pushed for an investigation into the report. Just hours after the allegations were published, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Stein was the right person to lead such a probe.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) also on Monday announced the panel would launch a probe into the allegations. DeJoy could face “criminal exposure,” both for the payments and “for lying to our committee," if the allegations were true, Maloney said in a statement.
Speaking on MSNBC Tuesday, Stein declined to offer details on any potential investigations into DeJoy. Stein said that as attorney general, he is counsel to the state board of elections, which is the agency that investigates campaign finance violations.
"I am the counsel to the state board, and sometimes I will assist local district attorneys in prosecuting cases, therefore I can’t get into the specifics of any particular case," he said.
DeJoy is a Republican mega-donor who was appointed to lead the U.S. Postal Service in May. A spokesman for DeJoy told the Post on Sunday that he was not aware of any pressure placed on his former company's employees to make political donations.
During congressional testimony last month, DeJoy also denied reimbursing employees for making contributions to President Trump's campaign.
“Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason,” the spokesman said.
Louis DeJoy’s prolific campaign fundraising, which helped position him as a top Republican power broker in North Carolina and ultimately as head of the U.S. Postal Service, was bolstered for more than a decade by a practice that left many employees feeling pressured to make political contributions to GOP candidates — money DeJoy later reimbursed through bonuses, former employees say.
Intense scrutiny of the United States Postal Service and its likely role in November’s election is calling new attention to the chairman of the organization’s board of governors, who has deep ties to influential Republicans including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.
The president said it would be a way to check if anti-fraud efforts are "as good as they say."
The states of New York, Hawaii and New Jersey filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the U.S. Postal Service over changes at the agency ahead of the election.