Connect with us

Politics

FBI Investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for Possible Campaign Finance Violations

Published

on

The inquiry is centered around previously reported allegations that DeJoy pressured employees at his business to donate to Republican candidates and paid them back with bonuses.


Federal Inquiry Into DeJoy

The Department of Justice is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over possible violations of campaign finance laws involving his former business, a spokesperson for DeJoy confirmed Thursday.

The spokesman, Mark Corallo, corroborated the inquiry’s existence in a statement to the media after several unidentified officials told reporters that the FBI has been interviewing current and former employees of DeJoy’s business about political contributions and company activities.

DeJoy, who was a Republican megadonor before former President Donald Trump tapped him to lead the Postal Service, has also been issued a grand jury subpoena for information, one of the officials said.

“Mr. DeJoy has learned that the Department of Justice is investigating campaign contributions made by employees who worked for him when he was in the private sector,” Corallo said. “He has always been scrupulous in his adherence to the campaign contribution laws and has never knowingly violated them.”

News of the investigation was first reported by The Washington Post, which reported in September that multiple employees of the company, New Breed Logistics, said DeJoy pressured them to donate to his preferred Republican candidates and then reimbursed them with bonuses.

It is not illegal for employers to encourage their workers to donate to political campaigns. However, reimbursing political donations violates both state and federal campaign finance laws that prevent so-called “straw-donor” schemes utilized by wealthy donors to avoid individual contribution limits and conceal donation sources.

Previous Allegations

In an analysis of federal and state campaign finance records outlined in the September report, The Post found “a pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates, with the same amount often given by multiple people on the same day.”

According to the outlet, from 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company collectively gave more than $1 million to federal and state Republican candidates. 

Many of the people who made the contributions had never previously donated to political campaigns before joining New Breed, and many did not make any more contributions after leaving the company.

It is currently unclear what period of time the DOJ investigation is covering. 

DeJoy sold New Breed to the Connecticut-based company XPO Logistics in 2014 — a fact that could complicate the five-year statute of limitations for violations of federal campaign finance laws. The postmaster general, however, did remain on the board of XPO until 2018.

Shortly after The Post published its initial investigation last fall, the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy organization, alleged in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission that suspicious donation activity had continued during the period in which DeJoy remained on the board.

According to the group, between 2015 and 2018, campaign finance records showed “several instances of XPO employees contributing to the same candidate or committee, during the same period of time, and often in similar amounts.” 

DeJoy’s family members, including his college-aged children, “also made contributions on the same day or in the same period as those employees,” the organization claimed. “XPO Logistics employees and DeJoy family members following this pattern together gave over $150,000 to the same candidates and committees, including over $50,000 to Trump Victory, President Donald Trump’s joint fundraising committee.”

Continued Scrutiny

Employees who spoke to The Post in September indicated those fundraising efforts allowed DeJoy to cement his status and rise in the ranks of the Republican Party, ultimately culminating in his appointment as postmaster general.

DeJoy, who himself donated $1.1 million to Trump’s fundraising committees, has long faced scrutiny over whether he used his position to help the former president’s re-election campaign by intentionally slowing mail deliveries last summer to make mail-in voting less reliable.

The embattled Postal Service leader has repeatedly denied he abused his authority or violated any laws prior to his service in the Trump administration.

During an August Congressional hearing, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tn.) asked DeJoy if he had repaid employees for making donations to the Trump campaign.

“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it,” he responded. “The answer is no.”

When The Post published its report a month later, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which she chairs, would investigate the reimbursement allegations. Maloney added that DeJoy may have lied to the panel under oath if the claims were true.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (NPR)

Politics

Republicans Say They Will Block Bill To Avert Government Shutdown and Debt Default

Published

on

Democrats argue the bill is necessary to prevent an economic catastrophe.


Democrats Introduce Legislation

Democrats in the House and Senate unveiled sweeping legislation Monday that aimed to keep the government funded through early December, lift the federal debt limit, and provide around $35 billion for Afghan refugees and natural disaster recovery.

The bill is needed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires next week. It is also necessary to prevent the Treasury Department from reaching the limit of its borrowing authority, which would trigger the U.S. to default on its debt for the first time ever.

For weeks, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Congress to raise the federal debt limit, also known as the debt ceiling, warning that the department will soon exhaust all of its measures to keep the federal government within its legal borrowing limit.

If the U.S. were to default, it would be unable to pay its debts, sending massive shockwaves through the financial system.

Democrats have painted the bill as crucial to avert an economic doomsday that would massively undermine recovery.

They argue that the combination of a government shutdown and a debt default would destabilize global markets and leave millions of Americans without essential aid.

Republicans Vow to Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling 

Despite the considerable threats, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly said Republicans will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, arguing that Democrats should do it without their help because they are pushing trillions of dollars in new spending priorities.

Democrats have slammed the Republican leader’s stance as hypocritical. They point out that while it is true they are proposing new spending, it has not been approved yet, and the debt that currently risks default has been incurred by both parties.

Democrats also noted that trillions of dollars were added to the federal debt under former President Donald Trump, which is more than what has been added by President Joe Biden. As a result, Republicans raised the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration with the support of Democrats.

McConnell, however, remains unlikely to budge. On Monday, White House officials said McConnell has not outlined any requests or areas of negotiation in exchange for support of the legislation. 

While the bill is expected to pass the House, it appears all but doomed in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to break the filibuster.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (Politico)

Continue Reading

Politics

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Survives Recall

Published

on

Experts say the outcome should act as a warning for Republicans who tie themselves to former President Donald Trump and attempt to undermine election results by promoting false voter fraud claims.


Recall Effort Fails

After seven months and an estimated $276 million in taxpayer money, the Republican-led effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) failed Tuesday.

Just under 70% of the votes have been reported as of Wednesday morning, showing that “no” on the recall received 63.9% of the vote. That’s nearly twice as many votes as “yes,” which had 36.1%.

According to The Washington Post, even if the margin narrows as more votes are counted, this still marks one of the biggest rejections of any recall effort in America over the last century.

Analysts say the historic rebuke was driven by high Democratic turnout and broader fears over resurging COVID cases.

While the Delta variant continues to push new infections to record highs in many parts of the country with lax mask rules and low vaccination rates, California, once a global epicenter of the pandemic, now has one of the highest vaccination rates and lowest new caseloads in the nation.

Newsom has continually tried to convince voters that those figures are the results of his vaccine and masking policies, which have been some of the most aggressive in the U.S. 

Given that polls showed the pandemic was the top concern for California voters, it is clear that the majority favored his policies over those of his competitors. Larry Elder, the Republican talk radio host of led the field of 46 challengers, ran on a platform of getting rid of essentially all COVID restrictions.

Newsom’s Remarks

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Newsom painted the recall’s failure not only as a win for Democratic coronavirus policies but also for Democracy at large.

“We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic,” he said. “We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression.” 

“I think about just in the last few days and the former president put out saying this election was rigged,” he continued. “Democracy is not a football. You don’t throw it around. That’s more like a, I don’t know, antique vase. You can drop it and smashing a million different pieces. And that’s what we’re capable of doing if we don’t stand up to meet the moment and push back.”

“I said this many, many times on the campaign trail, we may have defeated Trump, but Trump-ism is not dead in this country. The Big Lie, January 6th insurrection, all the voting suppression efforts that are happening all across this country.” 

A Warning for Republicans

Newsom’s remarks took aim at the efforts by Elder and other Republicans — including former President Donald Trump — who over the last week have claimed falsely and without evidence that voter fraud helped secured the governor’s win before Election Day even took place.

While it is currently unknown whether that narrative may have prompted more Republican voters to stay home, Newsom’s effort to cast Edler as a Trump-like candidate and the recall as an undemocratic, Republican power grab appears to have been effective.

Now, political strategists say that the outcome of the recall should serve as a warning that Republicans who pin themselves to Trump and his Big Lie playbook may be hurt more in certain states.

“The recall does offer at least one lesson to Democrats in Washington ahead of next year’s midterm elections: The party’s pre-existing blue- and purple-state strategy of portraying Republicans as Trump-loving extremists can still prove effective with the former president out of office,” The New York Times explained.

Even outside of a strongly blue state like California, analysts say this strategy will also be effective with similar candidates in battleground states like Georgia, Arizona, Missouri, and Pennsylvania, which will be essential to deciding control of the Senate.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (NPR)

Continue Reading

Politics

Justice Department Sues Texas Over Abortion Ban

Published

on

The department claims the Texas law violates past Supreme Court precedents on abortion and infringes on Constitutional protections.


Biden Administration Takes Aim at Texas Law

The Department of Justice sued Texas on Thursday in an attempt to block the state’s newly enacted law that effectively prohibits all abortions by banning the procedure after six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant.

The abortion law, which is the most restrictive in the country and does not provide exceptions for rape or incest, allows private citizens to take legal action against anyone who helps a person terminate their pregnancy after six weeks.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department argued that the Texas law is unconstitutional because it violates past Supreme Court precedents through a technical loophole.

While numerous other states have passed similar laws banning abortion after about six weeks, federal judges have struck down those measures on the grounds that they are inconsistent with Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions that states cannot prevent someone from seeking an abortion before a fetus can viably live outside the womb, usually around 22 to 24 weeks.

The Texas law, however, skirts the high court decisions by deputizing citizens to enforce the law rather than state government officials, taking the state out of the equation entirely and protecting it from legal responsibility.

Individuals who do so do not have to prove any personal injury or connection to those they take legal action against, which can range from abortion providers to rideshare drivers who take someone to a clinic.

If their lawsuit is successful, the citizen is entitled to a $10,000 award.

DOJ Lawsuit Targets Constitutionality

During a press conference detailing the DOJ lawsuit, Attorney General Merrick Garland referred to the enforcement mechanism as “an unprecedented” effort with the “obvious and expressly acknowledged intention” to prevent Texans from their constitutionally protected right to have an abortion.

“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans — whatever their politics or party — should fear,” Garland said, adding that the provision of the law allowing civilians “to serve as bounty hunters” may become “a model for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”

The Justice Department argued that the Texas policy violates equal protection guarantees under the 14th Amendment as well as the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which establishes that the Constitution and federal law generally take precedence over state law.

The lawsuit also claimed that the law interferes with the constitutional obligation of federal employees to provide access to abortion, including in cases of rape or incest, to people who are under the care of federal agencies or contractors such as those in prisons.

Both Sides See Path to Supreme Court

While proponents of abortion rights applauded the Justice Department’s legal challenge, officials in Texas defended the law and accused the Biden administration of filing the lawsuit for political reasons. 

“President Biden and his administration are more interested in changing the national narrative from their disastrous Afghanistan evacuation and reckless open border policies instead of protecting the innocent unborn,” a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), said in a statement. 

“We are confident that the courts will uphold and protect that right to life.”

The DOJ’s suit will now be decided by a federal judge for the Western District of Texas, based in Austin. 

Depending on how that court rules, either opponents or supporters of the abortion ban are expected to appeal the case, sending it to the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and likely ultimately placing the matter before the Supreme Court again in a matter of months.

The Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect by declining to approve an emergency petition to block the measure last week, but it did not rule on the constitutionality of the policy.

As a result, the Justice Department’s legal challenge could force the high court to hear another facet of the law that it has not yet considered if it decides to see the case.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (The Texas Tribune)

Continue Reading