House subpoenas embattled Postal Service leader over delays

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, talks with Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Capitol Hill, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Washington. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP)
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, talks with Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Capitol Hill, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Washington. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP) (2020 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for records about the widespread mail delivery delays that have pulled the Postal Service into the political spotlight as it prepares to handle an onslaught of ballots in the November election.

The subpoena, which seeks documents related to operational changes that have slowed mail and the agency's plans for the presidential election, comes after committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney said DeJoy has not sufficiently answered the panel's requests for more information.

“It is clear that a subpoena has become necessary to further the Committee’s investigation and help inform potential legislative actions,” Maloney, D-N.Y., said this week.

DeJoy, a major donor to Republicans and President Donald Trump, took over the agency in June after a career in logistics and set in motion a set of policy changes that have delayed mail and sparked concern over the agency's ability to process mail-in ballots this fall.

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 election.

Democrats have been pushing for increased oversight of the Postal Service following DeJoy's operational changes and Trump's baseless claims that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud. The president has also admitted that he was withholding emergency money from the agency in order to make it more difficult for the service to process what is expected to be a record number of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee is also asking for information about how DeJoy, whose appointment broke a long line of postmaster generals with previous experience at the agency, was picked for the job, as well as any communications between DeJoy and the Trump campaign. It is also requesting DeJoy's unredacted calendar along with records on potential communications with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

In a letter Friday to the committee, DeJoy said postal leadership has expanded a task force on election mail with local officials and said his staff was working to provide the requested materials. He has said election mail is his “No. 1 priority,” and that he will authorize expanded use of overtime, extra truck trips and other measures in the weeks before the election to ensure on-time delivery of ballots.