U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told Democratic Representative Katie Porter on August 24 that he does not know who authorized changes at the U.S. Postal Service, including the removal of sorting machines and mail collection boxes nationwide.
He also said during his testimony to the House Oversight Committee that he would not commit to rolling back the changes, despite concerns that they are causing a significant delay in mail delivery and could impact the November presidential election, in which millions of Americans are likely to vote by mail or absentee ballot due to the coronavirus.
Porter, who is well known by watchers of politics for her aggressive questioning of officials during House Oversight Committee hearings, also asked DeJoy if he would commit to resigning if a Postal Service Inspector General report finds he has a financial conflict of interest in serving as postmaster general.
DeJoy declined to do so.
DeJoy Said He Couldn’t Tell Porter Who Ordered Major Changes Like the Removal of Sorting Machines & That He Would Not Commit to Reversing Them
Porter, of California, was one of the last committee members to question DeJoy, and she wasted no time in grilling him on the price of a single first-class postage stamp, the price to mail a postcard, the weight limit for priority mail and the rate at which priority mail prices start.
DeJoy told Porter that a single stamp costs 55 cents but came up blank on the rest of her questions. “I’ll submit that I know very little about postage stamps,” he said.
“I’m glad you know the price of a stamp, but I am concerned with your understanding of this agency,” Porter said, adding that DeJoy had quickly taken “decisive actions” upon assuming his post in mid-June.
Congressional Democrats have accused DeJoy of ordering the unplugging of sorting machines and removal of mail collection boxes nationwide. DeJoy admitted earlier in the hearing that a management hiring freeze is ongoing.
However, the postmaster general told Porter that he wasn’t responsible for the changes.
“I did not order the major overhaul plans,” DeJoy said. “The items you identified were not ordered by me.”
DeJoy added, “The postal service has been around for 250 years. There are plans and many, many executives — almost 30,000 within the organization, and plans that existed prior to my arrival that were implemented.”
When Porter asked DeJoy to tell the committee the name of whoever did order the changes, he said he didn’t know who it was. She then asked him to commit to reversing the changes.
“I will not,” DeJoy said.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex Joined Porter in Questioning Whether DeJoy Had Corporate Conflicts of Interest & Said the Committee May Subpoena His Calendar
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Porter both questioned whether DeJoy has any corporate conflicts of interest or financial stake in companies like Amazon, which could present the opportunity for insider trading.
He strongly denied such conflicts, but Ocasio-Cortez still said she would like the committee to be able to look at his calendar, which would constitute an official government document. DeJoy said he would discuss it with his counsel. Ocasio-Cortez told Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney that the committee may have to pursue a subpoena for the calendar.
The Postal Service’s internal inspector general is currently conducting a review, both of the major operational changes at the post office and DeJoy’s compliance with ethics regulations, CNN reported.
Porter asked DeJoy if, should the inspector general uncover any misconduct in his financial disclosures or ethical compliance, he would commit to resigning.
“I don’t believe they will find misconduct,” DeJoy said. “But I don’t see why I’d commit right here, right now, to resigning for any reason.”
Porter said, “You don’t think there’s any reason you would ever resign?”
“Not that I’ve heard here today,” he replied.
CNN also reported that DeJoy holds stock options in Amazon, as well as his former company, now called XPO Logistics, to the tune of $30 million. At Monday’s hearing, DeJoy categorically denied any stake in Amazon.
“Do you own any financial interest — whether options or stocks or covered calls bought or sold — in Amazon?” Porter asked.
“I do not,” DeJoy replied.