Postmaster General Louis DeJoy should thank God every day for the statute of limitations. Without a five-year cutoff, he’d be staring down a tidal wave of legal trouble for what appears to be fifteen years of pressuring employees to make political contributions and reimbursing them via company 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,” DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources at New Breed Logistics, David Young, told the Washington Post. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”
That’s not exactly what DeJoy told congress last month when Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked him about possible campaign finance violations.
“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it,” DeJoy huffed angrily. “What are you accusing me of?”
Which is … not a denial.
In an extraordinarily well-reported story, five former New Breed employees confirmed to the Post that DeJoy would solicit them for contributions to Republican politicians, send division managers around to ask employees for money, send his personal secretary to collect checks at the office, and then gross up bonuses to cover the contributions plus the tax liability on the money earned.
Another former employee acquainted with company payroll practices said DeJoy personally told staff which employees should get the bonus enhancement.
“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’” the source told the Post. Which would be the classic definition of a straw man scheme and illegal use of corporate funds for campaign contributions.
And since campaign contributions are a matter of public record, the Post was able to document ample evidence of checks from New Breed employees exceeding $1 million between 2000 and 2014 when DeJoy sold the company. Most of those employees significantly curtailed their giving or ended it altogether after the company was sold.
And if the Post was able to unearth all this dirt just by digging around, a U.S. Attorney with subpoena power could probably come up with some unpleasant stuff. Well, she could if the statute hadn’t already tolled.
Unluckily for DeJoy, North Carolina has no statute of limitations on campaign finance crimes, and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has vowed to investigate the allegations against DeJoy, as has the House Oversight Committee.
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. 2/2
— Josh Stein (@JoshStein_) September 6, 2020
As for DeJoy, he’s issued a statement congratulating himself for “encourag(ing) employees and family members to be active in their communities, schools, churches, civic groups, sporting events and the politics that governs our nation” and providing them with “various volunteer opportunities to get involved in activities that a family member or employee might feel was important or enjoyable.” He claims to have consulted with the former General Counsel of the FEC to ensure compliance with election law and “regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason.”
Which is … also not a denial. But with a five-year lookback, he’s already home free anyway.
Louis DeJoy’s rise as GOP fundraiser was powered by contributions from company workers who were later reimbursed, former employees say (WaPo)
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.