Top U.S. Senate Democrat seeks probe into postmaster general's campaign finance practices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called on Sunday for the North Carolina attorney general to probe allegations published in the Washington Post that U.S Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s former company reimbursed employees for political donations.

“These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately,” Schumer wrote in reference to the Post story on Sunday about New Breed Logistics, a North Carolina-based company that DeJoy led from 1983 to 2014 when it was acquired by XPO Logistics.

A spokesman for DeJoy said he sought and received expert legal advice “to ensure that he, New Breed Logistics and any person affiliated with New Breed fully complied with any and all laws.”

DeJoy, a donor to President Donald Trump, has been in the political spotlight after ordering operational changes and a clampdown on overtime in a bid to fix the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service.

Democrats have accused him of deliberately disrupting the Postal Service just as millions of Americans consider whether to cast their ballots by mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The Post reported that five former New Breed employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by the chief executive himself to write checks and attend fundraisers at his mansion. They told the newspaper that DeJoy later reimbursed them through bonuses.

“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, the company’s longtime director of human resources, who is now retired but had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013, according to the Post report.

Directly or indirectly reimbursing employee campaign contributions violates federal election laws. The arrangement is sometimes used to evade limits on campaign contributions.

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,” his spokesman said.

Josh Stein, the North Carolina attorney general, said in a statement on Sunday that he could not comment on specific cases but that “any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities.”

A spokesman for XPO Logistics said that the company “stays out of politics” and that staff have the same “right as anyone else to support candidates of their choosing in their free time,” according to the Post.

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