U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has 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.
The letter from Wyden and eight colleagues from the Senate and House comes as 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.
The changes also pose a potential threat to mail-in ballots and the 2020 general election, said Wyden, a long-time proponent of vote-by-mail who is pushing to protect American elections and voters by expanding vote-by-mail and addressing COVID-19 related concerns ahead of the November 2020 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 Wyden and the lawmakers.
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.
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 affect services needed for the 2020 election.
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.
In addition to Wyden, other lawmakers signing the letter are U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) as well as U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.)