House Subpoenas Embattled Postal Service Leader Over Delays

Written by on September 2, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Home Oversight Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed Postmaster Normal Louis DeJoy for data concerning the widespread mail supply delays which have pulled the Postal Service into the political highlight because it prepares to deal with an onslaught of ballots within the November election.

The subpoena, which seeks paperwork associated to operational adjustments which have slowed mail and the company’s plans for the presidential election, comes after committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney mentioned DeJoy has not sufficiently answered the panel’s requests for extra info.

“It’s clear {that a} subpoena has turn into essential to additional the Committee’s investigation and assist inform potential legislative actions,” Maloney, D-N.Y., mentioned this week.

DeJoy, a significant donor to Republicans and President Donald Trump, took over the company in June after a profession in logistics and set in movement a set of coverage adjustments which have delayed mail and sparked concern over the company’s capability to course of mail-in ballots this fall.

He has appeared earlier than Congress twice in latest weeks to testify concerning the elimination of the company’s blue assortment packing containers and mail sorting machines, in addition to adjustments to trucking operations and time beyond regulation hours that postal staff say are leading to delays. Amid a public outcry, DeJoy mentioned he halted a number of the adjustments till after election.

Democrats have been pushing for elevated oversight of the Postal Service following DeJoy’s operational adjustments and Trump’s baseless claims that mail-in voting will result in widespread fraud. The president has additionally admitted that he was withholding emergency cash from the company in an effort to make it harder for the service to course of what is predicted to be a report variety of mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee can be asking for details about how DeJoy, whose appointment broke an extended line of postmaster generals with earlier expertise on the company, was picked for the job, in addition to any communications between DeJoy and the Trump marketing campaign. Additionally it is requesting DeJoy’s unredacted calendar together with data on potential communications with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White Home Chief of Employees Mark Meadows.

In a letter Friday to the committee, DeJoy mentioned postal management has expanded a job drive on election mail with native officers and mentioned his employees was working to offer the requested supplies. He has mentioned election mail is his “No. 1 precedence,” and that he’ll authorize expanded use of time beyond regulation, additional truck journeys and different measures within the weeks earlier than the election to make sure on-time supply of ballots.

A spokesman for the Postal Service mentioned the company will adjust to its authorized obligations.

“We stay stunned and confused by Chairwoman Maloney’s insistence on issuing a subpoena to the Postal Service within the midst of ongoing dialogue together with her employees on the Home Committee on Oversight and Reform to provide info in an orderly trend. We totally intend to adjust to our obligations underneath the regulation,” the assertion learn.

The subpoena positioned a midday Sept. 16 deadline for DeJoy to offer the data.

Individually, an audit from the inspector normal of the Postal Service discovered that greater than one million mail-in ballots had been despatched to voters late in the course of the main elections. The watchdog urged better cooperation between states and the company forward of the November election.

The report discovered state election boards despatched greater than one million ballots inside every week of their primaries, making a “excessive danger” that they couldn’t be crammed out and returned in time to be counted. In 1000’s of instances throughout the nation, ballots had been despatched out after states’ mailing deadlines or on election day.

The inspector normal additionally recognized a handful of “considerations” surrounding election mail, together with ballots despatched with out bar-coded monitoring expertise, mail-in poll designs that make processing troublesome, postmark necessities and out-of-date voter addresses.

“Resolving these points would require increased degree partnerships and cooperation between the Postal Service and varied state officers, together with secretaries of state and state election boards,” the auditors wrote. “Well timed supply of election and political mail is critical to make sure the integrity of the U.S. election course of.”

The report discovered election officers in Kentucky and New York despatched greater than 600,000 mail-in ballots late throughout their primaries. In Pennsylvania, 500 ballots had been mailed after election day. Seventeen states despatched greater than a half-million ballots after mailing deadlines, and 44,000 ballots had been mailed on or a day earlier than election day in 11 states. Additionally, an evaluation of political and election mail in seven Postal Service processing facilities between April and June recognized round 1.6 million mailpieces that weren’t delivered on time.

The report didn’t consider controversial operational adjustments applied by DeJoy. The inspector normal’s workplace has opened a separate inquiry into these adjustments.

DeJoy has really helpful that voters request absentee ballots a minimum of 15 days earlier than the election after which return them inside seven days from election day.

“To be clear, these suggestions are designed to assist make sure that ballots will probably be delivered and counted, and may by no means be misconstrued to suggest that we lack confidence in our capability to ship these ballots. We are able to, and can, deal with the quantity of election mail we obtain,” DeJoy advised the Home Oversight committee final week.

The Related Press produced this protection with assist from the Carnegie Company of New York.

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