Amid all the perfidy, cronyism, and disregard for democracy and the rule of law the former Trump administration is guilty of, one good thing that came out of four years of the most corrupt regime to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in recent history is the exposure average Americans got to previously obscure federal agencies.
One such agency is the United States Postal Service (USPS).
The mail is just one of those things most probably take for granted.
We just expect it to keep showing up in our mailboxes daily no matter the political environment.
But it’s important for citizens to understand the current Postmaster General is Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee, former republican fundraiser and deputy Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chair.
Under his auspices, the USPS has been the target of what former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman called “starving the beast”–the intentional defunding of vital government agencies so they collapse under their own weight.
Once that happens, republican lawmakers can stand on the House and Senate floors to report that, as predicted, those agencies were a waste of money and need to be handed over to private for-profit corporations.
Some of those corporations benefit DeJoy specifically.
As watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) uncovered:
“DeJoy’s financial disclosures indicate that he retained stocks and stock options worth tens of millions of dollars in a USPS contractor, XPO Logistics. After assuming his role as Postmaster General, DeJoy also bought a stock option worth up to $100,000 in Amazon. DeJoy’s financial stakes in the companies put him at risk of violating the conflict of interest law, which prohibits him from participating in any particular matter affecting either XPO or Amazon. While DeJoy claims to be recusing himself from particular matters that affect these companies, as Postmaster General however, he cannot fully recuse himself from all particular matters affecting either company, as XPO is a major USPS contractor and Amazon is a competitor and top USPS customer.”
Since assuming his role, DeJoy has mapped a plan to “permanently” slow down some first-class deliveries to “slash spending,” a move some say will disproportionately effect small businesses, middle- and low-income Americans, and senior citizens.
His “10-year reform plan” is expected to also cut post office hours and increase prices for customers, a move former Postmaster General Ronald Stroman asserted is “strategically-ill conceived, creates dangerous risks that are not justified by the relatively low financial return, and doesn’t meet our responsibility as an essential part of America’s critical infrastructure.”
The President of the United States does not have the authority to fire a postmaster general outright.
That action must come from the Postal Service Board of Governors.
The Postal Service Board of Governors chair, however, is another Trump appointee, Ron Bloom, managing partner of investment firm Brookfield Asset Management, from whom according to the Washington Post, DeJoy “purchased 11 bonds each worth between $1,000 and $15,000, or $15,000 and $50,000” between October 2020 and this past April.
But a change is in the air, it seems.
On Friday, President Biden announced plans to nominate two former federal officials to the USPS Board of Governors: Daniel Tangherlini, who served as the Obama administration’s General Services Administration director; and Derek Kan, republican former deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
This would replace Ron Bloom, who is at the end of his term.
That means Louis DeJoy’s days are numbered.
As MSNBC‘s Steve Benen wrote:
“The Postal Service’s governing board has nine members, but no party can have more than five members. Currently, six of the nine are Trump appointees, but one of his sextet is Bloom—a Democrat who’s backed DeJoy. Given this makeup, the postmaster general has been relatively safe, at least from the board.
“But that appears likely to change. Three of the nine members are Biden appointees— two Democrats and an independent—and now the incumbent president has nominated two more…As a matter of arithmetic, this would give Biden appointees a majority on the board — three Democrats, a Republican, and an independent—which would presumably spell trouble for DeJoy and his controversial postal plan.”
Under Louis DeJoy’s continued leadership, it’s anyone’s guess whether those funds would be used for their intended purpose.
It’s safe to guess they wouldn’t be.