AOC suggests lawmakers subpoena USPS chief's calendar over possible conflicts of interest

House Democrats grill Louis DeJoy over service delays

Alex Woodward
New York
Tuesday 25 August 2020 03:22
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AOC suggests subpoena for USPS Louis DeJoy's calendar

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suggested lawmakers subpoena US Postal Service postmaster general Louis DeJoy for his calendars, an effort that could potentially expose conflicts of interest between the agency Donald Trump appointed him to lead and his former business.

Mr DeJoy, who entered the role in June, appeared to dismiss the congresswoman's request for his calendars, saying: "I don't know. I'll check with counsel. ... I don't want to set a precedent for my calendar to be submitted every two months."

The congresswoman reminded him that the calendars are public record before she suggested to New York Congresswoman and House Oversight Committee chair Carolyn Maloney that lawmakers consider a subpoena for the documents.

"The details of this calendar are extraordinarily important to the committee's investigations," she said. "If we cannot receive them voluntarily, I would recommend consideration of a subpoena for these details."

Monday's hearing followed a House of Representatives vote on Saturday approving a $24bn boost for the agency and to suspend cost-cutting measures. The proposal is likely to be blocked by Senate Republicans; the White House has signalled that it would veto it.

During the four-hour hearing, Mr DeJoy – scrutinised for sweeping cuts to the agency as the president undermines vote-by-mail efforts ahead of crucial November elections – said he would not reverse cost-cutting measures that have caused significant nationwide slowdowns. He denied that he was responsible for several of the operational changes that outside observers believe caused the mail delays, saying those changes had been implemented before he took over the USPS.

Mr DeJoy previously was an executive XPO Logistics, which has a contract with the USPS. XPO had purchased New Breed Logistics, where Mr DeJoy served as its CEO.

"I have a significant investment in XPO Logistics which I vetted with the ethics department of the Postal Service, and I was given specific types of guidelines that I needed to adhere to," Mr DeJoy told the committee.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also asked Mr DeJoy whether his staff had deleted anything from his calendar since he took office and whether any ethics officers were reviewing his calendar.

"Have you taken any meetings with XPO logistics since becoming postmaster general?" she asked. "Have you emailed, texted, called or communicated with XPO logistics?"

He said he "probably would have spoken" with his former colleagues.

The USPS denied request from ethics watchdog American Oversight for Mr DeJoy's calendars, which USPS claimed are not considered "agency records".

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