Louis DeJoy was a wealthy transportation executive and Republican megadonor with a limited national profile just months ago. He’s now in the middle of a roiling political fight between Democrats and President Donald Trump over voting and the integrity of the November election.

DeJoy, the postmaster general, is set to be questioned over two days on Capitol Hill. On Friday, he is to go before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and on Monday he is to face the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Both will be forums for DeJoy and Republicans to defend his management of the Postal Service and for Democrats to tether him to Trump and to mail slowdowns that they say could tarnish the presidential election.

“I’ve heard from over 7,300 people across the country about how postal delays are harming them,” Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement. “Postmaster General DeJoy has repeatedly refused to clearly answer key questions and I’m going to be pressing for answers.”

Louis DeJoy

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, is escorted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington on Aug. 5. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Republicans might seek to blame the Obama administration for decisions to trim costs that were put in play since DeJoy arrived in June while also arguing that they are necessary. Those have included scrapping sorting machines, removing mail boxes and restricting overtime that has left mail piled up as workers’ shifts end.

DeJoy, in a statement on Tuesday, said he had put in place “operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service” and announced that he was suspending them. He pledged that mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes would remain where they are, and overtime would be approved as needed.

GOP lawmakers are likely to use the hearings to counter calls for more funding for the beleaguered agency, which members of both parties say is overdue for profound reform.

“Democrats have fabricated a baseless conspiracy theory about the Postal Service and now they are asking American taxpayers to foot the bill for their fake crisis,” Representative James Comer, of Kentucky, the top Oversight Republican, said in a statement.

A statement from the office of Representative Steve Scalise, the second-ranking House Republican, said that the recent changes are “sensible reforms designed to get the American people their mail on time and get the USPS on a sustainable fiscal path.”

Scalise said the Postal Service moves mailboxes that receive little use, and “Democrats are using this routine practice to amplify misinformation.”

The office of the Postal Service inspector general in 2016 said that nationally, the number of collection boxes had declined over five years by more than 12,000. It outlined “a tough balancing act” that weighs the convenience of the boxes versus the expense of maintaining even those that are barely used.

Trump, who has claimed without evidence that voting by mail is ripe for fraud, complained that the hearings would run into the start of the Republican National Convention on Monday. He blamed Republicans, tagging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a tweet, for letting that happen, even though the Monday hearing is in the Democratic-controlled House.

DeJoy’s announcement on Tuesday didn’t mollify critics.

“The postmaster general’s alleged pause is wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Wednesday. She said said she had spoken with DeJoy who “frankly admitted that he had no intention” of replacing sorting machines and mailboxes or allowing “adequate overtime, which is critical for the timely delivery of mail.”

Pelosi has called the House back from a break to vote Saturday on legislation that would bar Postal Service cutbacks and provide it with $25 billion in additional funding. McConnell has given no indication the Senate would take up the bill.

“There has been documentation that mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes have already removed in some locations around the country,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter Wednesday to DeJoy. “Will USPS replace those items?”

The service’s recent travails have become a potential liability for vulnerable Senate Republicans running in states where the Postal Service plays a critical role, including Maine, Alaska, and Colorado.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine is leading a bipartisan effort for a $25 billion Postal Service bailout, separate from the House measure, with substantial Republican support. Neither McConnell nor Trump has backed the extra money, though White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday the administration might consider that amount.

DeJoy was selected by the Postal Service Board of Governors, which is controlled by Trump appointees.

He was well-known in Republican and North Carolina power circles, and his wife, Aldona Z. Wos, was nominated in February as the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

He once played host to Trump at his North Carolina home and served as national finance chair for the Republican National Convention, which was scheduled to be held in his home state’s biggest city, Charlotte.

Since 2009, DeJoy and Wos have given $2.6 million to Republicans, Federal Election Commission records show. A little less than half that amount went to Trump Victory, the large-donor fundraising organization that shares contributions among the president’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and state parties. DeJoy also gave $100,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee in 2017.

DeJoy nurtured family-owned New Breed Logistics as it grew from 10 employees into a nationwide provider of logistics services employing more than 9,000 people, according to the Postal Service. New Breed Logistics was a contractor to the the Postal Service for more than 25 years, the service said in a statement announcing DeJoy’s selection.

Greenwich, Connecticut-based supply chain company XPO Logistics bought New Breed in 2014 for $615 million, and DeJoy used $30 million of proceeds from the transaction to purchase restricted stock from the company, XPO said in a news release. The company counts the Postal Service among its customers.

DeJoy served as chief executive of XPO’s supply chain business in the Americas until December 2015, when he joined XPO’s board of directors, where he served until 2018, according to the Postal Service. DeJoy’s 92-page financial disclosure shows that he owns a stake in XPO worth between $30 million and $75 million. Officials disclose the value of their assets in broad ranges.

USPS senior ethics counsel Jessica Brewster-Johnson told CNN, which first reported DeJoy’s ownership stake, that issues related to the company haven’t been presented to DeJoy, and wouldn’t likely rise to his level.

Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Robert Duncan is to join DeJoy at Monday’s hearing. Duncan was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2007 to 2009, raising an unprecedented $428 million and growing the donor base to 1.8 million, according to his biography on the Postal Service website.


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