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Washington Post: DeJoy reimbursed former employees for GOP donations

CNN logo CNN 9/7/2020 By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
a man sitting in front of a piano © Tom Brenner/Pool/Getty Images

Former employees of the company that US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy previously ran told The Washington Post they were pressured to donate to GOP candidates and then reimbursed through bonuses.

The longtime human resources director of New Breed Logistics, David Young, detailed the alleged practice to the newspaper, saying that when DeJoy was a fundraiser for the Republican Party, "He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses."

"When we got our bonuses, let's just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else," he said.

Young, who donated more than $19,000 while at the company, according to the Post, added, "No one was ever forced to or lost a job because they didn't, but if people contributed, their raises and their bonuses were bumped up to accommodate that."

While encouraging donations is not illegal on its own, a reimbursement of campaign contributions would constitute a violation of state and federal election laws. As a result, the report is likely to fuel fresh scrutiny of DeJoy from Democrats who have already hammered him over his motivations since taking on his role leading the US Postal Service in June.

DeJoy's spokesperson, Monty Hagler, told CNN in a statement that DeJoy "believes that all campaign fundraising laws and regulations should be complied with in all respects."

Hagler added that DeJoy had "sought and received legal advice" from a former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission to ensure the company was complying with the law.

"Mr. 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," Hagler said.

DeJoy testified last month that he never repaid executives for making donations to the Trump campaign when asked by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee.

"That's an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it," he said.

That question to DeJoy was specifically about activities rfelated to Trump's presidential campaign but not about the wrongdoing alleged by Young years earlier.

Still, the Washington Post report Sunday prompted the Attorney General of North Carolina -- where the business was based -- to call for an investigation into the alleged practice.

"It is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for a political contribution," Josh Stein tweeted.

"Any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities. Beyond this, it would be inappropriate for me as Attorney General to comment on any specific matter at this time."

Congressional Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, weighed in on the Washington Post report Sunday evening, calling for an investigation as well.

"These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately, independent of Donald Trump's Justice Department. The North Carolina Attorney General, an elected official who is independent of Donald Trump, is the right person to start this investigation," the New York Democrat said in a statement.

California Rep. Adam Schiff echoed the "demand" for an investigation.

"The swamp in action: DeJoy pressures his employees to make political contributions, and allegedly illegally reimburses them," Schiff tweeted. "This report demands a full, independent investigation."

And California Rep. Jackie Speier, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, tweeted, "It now appears that we have a US Postmaster who engaged in campaign money laundering when he was running his logistics company that had and has a contract with USPS. POTUS here's someone you should actually FIRE."

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