House Democrats call for U.S. postal chief's suspension, launch probe

(Reuters) – The head of the House Oversight panel on Tuesday urged the immediate suspension of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy following reports that he illegally reimbursed former employees for political contributions, and announced an investigation.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, in a statement, said if the allegations are true, DeJoy faced “criminal exposure” not only for violating the law with the transactions but also for lying to Congress when he denied making them at a recent hearing.

“We will be investigating this issue, but I believe the Board of Governors must take emergency action to immediately suspend Mr. DeJoy, who they never should have selected in the first place,” she said.

The move follows accusations by former workers at DeJoy’s company that he reimbursed employees for campaign contributions to his preferred Republican politicians, an arrangement that would violate federal campaign finance law. The Washington Post and the New York Times both reported the allegations over the weekend, citing multiple unnamed former employees.

President Donald Trump on Monday said he would support an investigation into campaign contributions involving DeJoy, a Trump donor who is already facing a political fire storm after changes he implemented ahead of the November election that critics said could delay mail-in balloting.

On Tuesday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defended DeJoy and accused Democrats of launching a political probe in an election year.

“Louis DeJoy is an honorable man,” Meadows told reporters at the White House. “I’m sure he’ll cooperate completely, and we serve in a great country where you’re innocent until proven guilty.”

The House Oversight committee is already investigating USPS operational changes, including curbed overtime, and sent DeJoy a subpoena last week seeking related documents. New York’s attorney general has also separately filed a lawsuit over the issue.

Democrats have accused him of deliberately disrupting the Postal Service as millions of Americans consider whether to cast their vote by mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election, saying the changes could slow down mail delivery and delay ballots.

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