Greensboro businessman and U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is facing new scrutiny, for reportedly pressuring ex-employees to contribute to GOP campaigns and then repaying them through bonuses.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that five people who worked for DeJoy’s former business, New Breed Logistics in High Point, were urged by DeJoy or his aides to write checks or attend GOP fundraisers at his Greensboro mansion.
“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,” the Post quoted David Young as saying. Young was DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013, and is now retired.
The donations occurred between 2003 and 2014, according to the Post. The company was sold in 2014 to XPO Logistics, a Connecticut-based company in which DeJoy continues to have a financial interest.
The New York Times reviewed campaign finance records that showed that over a dozen management-level employees at New Breed would routinely donate to the same candidate on the same day, often writing checks for an identical amount of money, the newspaper reported Sunday.
One day in October 2014, for example, 20 mid-level and senior officials at the company donated a total of $37,600 to the campaign of Sen. Thom Tillis. The North Carolina Republican was running to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan. Each official wrote a check for either $2,600, the maximum allowable donation, or $1,000, the Times reported.
Monty Hagler, a spokesman for DeJoy, told the Washington Post that the former New Breed chief executive was not aware that any employees had felt pressured to make donations. Hagler could not be reached by the News & Record on Monday.
“Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason,” he told the Post.
Although employers can encourage workers to make donations, reimbursing them for those contributions is a violation of North Carolina and federal election laws. These types of reimbursements, known as a straw-donor scheme, allows donors to avoid individual contribution limits and hide the ultimate source of money used to influence elections.
"It is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for a political contribution," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement Sunday. "Any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities," said Stein, a Democrat, adding that he would not comment further on the matter.
DeJoy, a major donor to Republicans and President Donald Trump, took over the U.S. Postal Service in June. Policy changes under his watch have delayed mail and sparked concern over the agency’s ability to process mail-in ballots this fall.
In August, hundreds of protesters gathered outside of his Greensboro home, accusing him of trying to sabotage the 2020 election. DeJoy has denied the accusation.
He has appeared before Congress twice in recent weeks to testify about the removal of the agency’s blue collection boxes and mail sorting machines, as well as changes to trucking operations and overtime hours that postal workers say are resulting in delays.
Amid a public outcry, DeJoy said he halted some of the changes until after the November election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Kenwyn Caranna at 336-373-7082 and follow @kcaranna on Twitter.
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