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Pascrell Again Calls on Biden to Clean House on Post Office Board

Slew of investigations find chaos and corruption at USPS under DeJoy

Highlighting what has been uncovered from various investigations of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today urgently wrote to President Joe Biden again calling on him to fire all the Trump-appointed members of the United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors to allow the board the opportunity to remove DeJoy and end his destructive leadership of America’s cherished Post Office.

“There is perhaps no body more trusted by the public and upon which more Americans rely every day. That trust and that agency have been frayed. Americans’ faith in their Post Office must be restored,” Pascrell writes President Biden. “As these revelations further undermine public confidence in USPS, I again urge you to take decisive action by removing members of the postal Board of Governors who continue to support DeJoy’s tenure before it’s too late.”

Conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts, have been pervasive at the USPS under DeJoy. A blockbuster report recently revealed that USPS had awarded a $120 million contract to XPO Logistics, a company formerly led by DeJoy. This agreement comes to light as DeJoy pursues a disastrous plan to remake the Post Office while under federal criminal investigation himself. And late last week, a Washington Post piece uncovered that DeJoy invested up to $305,000 through Brookfield Asset Management, where USPS Board of Governors Chairman Ron Bloom serves as Vice Chairman and Managing Partner.

On January 25, 2021, Pascrell became the first member of Congress calling on President Biden to fire the entire Postal Board of Governors sitting before his election for their silence and complicity in DeJoy’s ongoing sabotage of postal operations. In February, Pascrell immediately praised the nominations by President Biden of the three new nominees to the USPS Board of Governors and on March 18, Pascrell and Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) led over 50 House Democrats urging Biden to immediately remove the then-sitting USPS Board of Governors.

Since this postal crisis began, Rep. Pascrell has aggressively demanded accountability from USPS. On May 21, 2020, Pascrell wrote to USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb demanding an investigation of turmoil at the USPS, stemming from a pattern of interference engineered by the Trump administration in its efforts to destabilize the post office.

On August 14, 2020 Pascrell became the first member of Congress to call for DeJoy and Trump to be investigated by a state criminal grand jury for their dismantling the Post Office, making a criminal referral to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal alleging Trump and DeJoy subverted state elections.

On September 30, 2020 Pascrell led members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation in a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy demanding an emergency visit to the Dominic Daniels mail sorting center in Kearny and requesting information on USPS’s ability to carry out New Jersey’s all vote-by-mail general election. In October, Pascrell made a surprise appearance at the Daniels Facility and demanded access.

The text of Rep. Pascrell’s latest letter to President Biden is provided below.

 

August 16, 2021

 

President Joseph Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear President Biden:

            A blockbuster report last week revealed that the United States Postal Service (USPS) had awarded a $120 million contract to XPO Logistics, a company formerly led by U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. This agreement comes to light as DeJoy pursues a disastrous plan to remake the Post Office while under federal criminal investigation himself. As these revelations further undermine public confidence in USPS, I again urge you to take decisive action by removing members of the postal Board of Governors who continue to support DeJoy’s tenure before it’s too late.

            At present, DeJoy’s family business still leases four office buildings to XPO, which could net DeJoy businesses $23.7 million in rent payments over the next decade.[1] Sustaining the conflicts of interest rampant under your predecessor, DeJoy is financially benefiting from the Post Office – all while he is already the subject of a separate FBI probe into possible campaign finance crimes.[2] Meanwhile, DeJoy continues to helm USPS and is pursuing an organizational scheme that could further enfeeble the Post Office as it struggles to survive.

           DeJoy’s ten-year plan would institute slower delivery standards for 30% (roughly 5 billion pieces annually) of first-class mail, while increasing the price for postage. A scathing report issued by the independent Postal Regulatory Commission found DeJoy’s plan not backed up evidence, unlikely to fix USPS’s finances, and unresponsive to customer concerns. In an extraordinary public comment last week, postal board member Ronald Stroman assailed DeJoy’s plan as “strategically ill-conceived” and likely to create “dangerous risks [un]justified by the relatively low financial return” that will “disproportionately impact our seniors, middle-and-low-income Americans and small businesses who are our most loyal customers.”[3]

          Mr. Stroman’s courageous leadership brings credit to him and to your administration, and lays bare the failure of board members who inexplicably support DeJoy. This past winter, as the on-time rate for first-class mail had cratered to a meager 38%[4], the five Trump-appointed board members penned an op-ed in sycophantic support of DeJoy and his then forthcoming ten-year plan.[5] This group includes board chairman Ron Bloom. A new Washington Post piece on Friday reported that since June 2020, DeJoy has invested up to $305,000 through Brookfield Asset Management, where Mr. Bloom serves as Vice Chairman and Managing Partner.[6]

         The cloud enveloping USPS threatens to erase the public’s already strained confidence in our sacred institution. The Post Office has already been implicated in Donald Trump’s unsuccessful assault on American democracy. Last year, DeJoy presided over the dismantling of mail sorting machines, cutting employee overtime, and removal of mailboxes that slowed mail delivery to a crawl as Trump openly confessed efforts to make it harder for USPS to process mail-in ballots. On August 14, 2020, I filed a complaint with our state’s Attorney General calling on him to seek indictments against Trump and DeJoy for election subversion.[7] It was only through the dedication of rank-and-file postal employees, congressional oversight and public outrage that this scheme was unsuccessful.

        Despite the litany of public abuses, staggering malfeasance, and shameful tribulations, every member of the postal board of governors appointed before your inauguration has remained silent or in support of DeJoy’s catastrophic management. Your power to remove postal governors “for cause” is absolute.[8] It would be difficult to identify clearer cause than the refusal of board members to protect USPS from chaos and ruin. Each legacy board member should be fired and then DeJoy shown the door before the damage they are inflicting becomes irreversible.

        The window to act is short. There is perhaps no body more trusted by the public and upon which more Americans rely every day. That trust and that agency have been frayed. Americans’ faith in their Post Office must be restored. Please continue to fight to save our Post Office.

Sincerely,

 

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Member of Congress



[2] Matt Zapotosky and Jacob Bogage, “FBI investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with past political fundraising,” Wash Post. (June 3, 2021), https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/louis-dejoy-fbi-investigation/2021/06/03/4e24e122-c3d3-11eb-93f5-ee9558eecf4b_story.html

[3] “The Postal Service Presses Forward With Unpopular Plan To Slow Some Mail Delivery,” NPR (Aug. 6, 2021), https://www.npr.org/2021/08/06/1025488630/the-postal-service-presses-forward-with-unpopular-plan-to-slow-some-mail-deliver

[4] Jacob Bogage and Hannah Denham, “Postmaster general’s new plan for USPS is said to include slower mail and higher prices,” Wash. Post (Feb. 12, 2021), https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/02/12/dejoys-new-plan-usps-slower-mail-higher-prices-sources-say/

[5] “USPS Board of Governors: We're applying lessons from the election and the holiday season,” USA Today (Feb. 3, 2021), https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2021/02/03/usps-applying-lessons-election-holiday-season-editorials-debates/4382093001/

[7] “Pascrell Makes Criminal Referral of Trump, DeJoy for Election Subversion,” https://pascrell.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=4428

[8] 39 U.S.C. § 202(a)(1).


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