The Slatest

Louis DeJoy Reportedly Reimbursed Employees for GOP Donations Through Bonuses

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy arrives to testifiy during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy arrives to testifiy during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Pool/Getty Images

We already knew that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s profile in Republican circles grew on the back of big campaign donations. The North Carolina businessman who became the first postmaster general in almost two decades to get the job without being a career postal employee, built a reputation as a superstar Republican bundler, which came with numerous benefits, including presidential and gubernatorial appointments for his wife. But it turns out at least part of that success in fundraising had to do with pressuring employees to donate to GOP candidates and then reimbursing them through bonuses, reports the Washington Post.

At least five former employees who worked for DeJoy’s former business, New Breed Logistics, said they were not-so-subtly pressured to write checks and attend fundraisers. DeJoy would then personally direct that bonus payments be made to certain staffers that would make up for the cost of their financial political contributions. “He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” David Young, who as director of human resources had access to payroll records from the late 1990s to 2013, said. An unnamed former employee said DeJoy didn’t hide his requests: “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 pressure didn’t always come directly from DeJoy. His executive assistant regularly called senior staffers to ask whether they would attend fundraisers. Little wonder then that after DeJoy retired, the political contributions by New Breed employees dropped sharply. The Post explains what the numbers show:

A Washington Post analysis of federal and state campaign finance records found a pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates, with the same amount often given by multiple people on the same day. Between 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company together gave more than $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates. Many had not previously made political donations, and have not made any since leaving the company, public records show. During the same period, nine employees gave a combined $700 to Democrats.

Although it isn’t against the law to encourage donations, reimbursing for those contributions does violate the law. A spokesman for DeJoy said the Trump appointee was not aware that employees had felt pressured to donate. Although he didn’t directly respond to questions about whether DeJoy had reimbursed employees, the spokesman said DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations.”