Washington, DC, Aug. 7, 3030 – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Representatives Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) requested that the United States Postal Service (USPS) Inspector General investigate all recent staffing and policy changes put in place under former Trump megadonor and current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Recent changes have slowed mail delivery, threatening the well-being of millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service for delivery of Social Security checks, prescriptions, and everyday mail of all kinds – and they appear to pose a potential threat to mail-in ballots and the 2020 general election.
“The Postal Service has served Americans since before the founding of the Republic, and any actions by President Trump or Postmaster General DeJoy that damage the Postal Service’s ability to quickly and reliably deliver the mail would represent a significant breach of their responsibilities. But that appears to be exactly what has happened,” wrote the lawmakers.
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DeJoy has failed to adequately explain recent fundamental changes to Postal Service operations, including cutting back hours at some Postal Service offices, denying overtime to mail clerks and carriers, and requiring that carriers leave some mail behind. These policies were implemented as Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was demanding unprecedented influence over the Postal Service in exchange for an emergency $10 billion loan to keep the agency afloat. These changes have already slowed mail delivery: According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Neighborhoods across the Philadelphia region are experiencing significant delays in receiving their mail, with some residents going upwards of three weeks without packages and letters, leaving them without medication, paychecks, and bills.” These delays may also pose a threat to the November election, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic when millions of Americans are expected to choose to vote by mail. As problems with the mail service grow, state election officials have raised concerns that ballots will not be delivered on time, not delivered at all in some cases, and not returned in time for counting, which could lead to “mass disenfranchisement.”
Given the ongoing concerns about the adverse impacts of Trump Administration policies on the quality and efficiency of the Postal Service, the lawmakers asked the Inspector General to conduct a thorough audit of all operational changes put in place in recent weeks to determine the rationale behind these changes, if any analyses of their impact were conducted before implementation, their effect on the quality of mail delivery, and how it will impact services needed for the 2020 election. In addition, noting that DeJoy and his wife reportedly own assets worth tens of millions of dollars in Postal Service competitors and contractors, the lawmakers also requested that the Inspector General determine if DeJoy has met all ethics requirements regarding disclosure, divestment, and recusal from decisions in which he may have a conflict.