The FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with campaign fundraising activity involving his former business, according to people familiar with the matter and a spokesman for DeJoy. FBI agents in recent weeks interviewed current and former employees of DeJoy and the business, asking questions about political contributions and company activities, these people said. Prosecutors also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself for information, one of the people said.
A spokesperson for the postmaster general denied that DeJoy had broken any laws, but confirmed the existence of the Justice Department's investigation.
For those who may need a refresher, let's review how we arrived at this point.
It was nine months ago when the Post first reported that DeJoy -- a prolific Republican fundraiser and former deputy finance chair of the RNC -- allegedly relied on fundraising practices that left "many" of his private-sector employees "feeling pressured" to make political dubious contributions to Republican candidates.
As we discussed at the time, what the article described is generally known as a "straw-donor scheme." The newspaper spoke to several employees from DeJoy's former business, New Breed Logistics, who said they were urged to make campaign contributions, and those who wrote checks were later rewarded with bonus payments that, as the Post reported, were used to "help defray the cost of their contributions."
DeJoy would then allegedly try to capitalize on the money he illegally directed to GOP candidates and officials, leveraging his influence to advance his own interests.
"He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, 'I'll get it back to you down the road,' " one former employee told the Post last year.
A New York Times report added soon after, "A review of campaign finance records shows 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."
During a congressional hearing, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) pressed DeJoy about whether he engaged in these campaign-finance irregularities. The postmaster general, while under oath, denied the claims.
To be sure, some campaign-finance transgressions are minor, resulting in modest fines and/or slaps on the wrist, but those who use straw-donors are often prosecuted. A Post analysis added, "Chief executives have gone to federal prison for similar schemes."
Let's also not forget that when the story first broke, even Donald Trump suggested the matter would need to be investigated. The then-president also agreed that the controversy could force DeJoy from his position.
Nearly a year later, the postmaster general is still on the job -- the USPS last week announced a postage-rate hike as part of his 10-year plan -- but now that President Biden's nominees to the USPS board of governors have been confirmed, there may be enough votes to oust DeJoy.
On-the-fence members of the board should probably take note of the fact that the postmaster general is facing an FBI investigation.
Postscript: For the record, four years ago, the Republican National Committee issued a press release introducing the members of its finance team: Steve Wynn would serve as the RNC's national finance chair, while Elliott Broidy, Michael Cohen, and Louis DeJoy would serve as deputy finance chairs.
Four years later, we know that the Justice Department investigated Wynn. And Broidy. And Cohen. And now DeJoy. (Broidy pled guilty to illegal lobbying and later received a pardon from Trump. Cohen went to prison.)