WASHINGTON – Federal campaign finance regulators have dismissed two complaints against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy after a legal review found that there was no evidence of DeJoy wrongdoing within a five-year statute of limitations.
Washington state monitoring groups Campaign Legal Center and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) accused DeJoy of running a “straw donation program” prior to joining the US Postal Service in complaints filed last year. The complaints came after five people who worked for DeJoy’s former company told the Washington Post that they were being asked by its employees or by DeJoy himself to write checks and participate in fundraising drives for Republican candidates at his Greensboro, NC home Participate in 2003 and 2014.
The watchdog groups said a contribution pattern from some DeJoy employees suggested that he continued such a program – asking for dues and reimbursing employees with salary or bonuses – even after he sold his business, but always was still associated with it. But the Federal Election Commission released documents on Wednesday in which nearly 20 people who worked for the successor company denied having been pressured or compensated.
“Given the peculiarities of the rejections and the circumstances of the statute of limitations, we do not recommend that the Commission devote further resources to this matter,” FEC lawyers concluded in April, according to one of the documents published by the Commission in support of his decision.
In a statement on Thursday, DeJoy praised the layoffs.
“I am pleased that this matter has been examined and resolved by the Federal Electoral Commission,” said DeJoy. “I remain fully focused on the mission ahead: restoring financial sustainability and service excellence to the United States Postal Service.”
DeJoy could still face criminal exposure in connection with the alleged fundraising.
The FBI opened a criminal investigation into DeJoy’s fundraising activities last spring, issued a subpoena to the Postmaster General, and interviewed current and former employees of DeJoy and his former business, according to several people familiar with the matter and DeJoy’s personal spokesperson. The dismissal of the Federal Electoral Commission does not affect the criminal investigation, which appears to be ongoing. A Justice Department spokesman did not want to comment on Thursday.
The two watchdog groups that filed the FEC complaints against DeJoy said they were disappointed with the result.
Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center, noted that the FEC refused to open a civil investigation despite the fact that there was enough evidence for the FBI to open a criminal investigation and summon DeJoy.
“In fact, the FEC couldn’t even get 4 votes to get that [Justice Department] on the status of a criminal investigation of straw donors, “said Fischer in a statement. “This is yet another example of how the FEC’s failure to enforce the law has enabled wealthy special interests to manipulate the system in their favor.”
Jordan Libowitz, CREW’s communications director, said in an interview that his group was “obviously disappointed that the FEC has decided to reject our complaint”.
“Our Legal Department is currently reviewing the General Counsel’s report, which appears to be based on affidavits inconsistent with the Post’s reporting,” said Libowitz. “Given the information we had, we felt it was right to file the complaint.”
The FEC decision, released this week, was made in October, documents show. The commission voted 4: 1 to reject the complaints and 3: 2 in a separate vote not to communicate with the Justice Department on the cases. Acting General Counsel of the commission, Lisa J. Stevenson, recommended the dismissal, writing that most donations were made outside of the statute of limitations and 26 of the 63 individual donors had denied the allegations.
None of those who denied the allegations were among the staff who raised concerns about The Post over the past year. One of those who spoke to The Post was David Young, DeJoy’s longtime HR director.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he returned the favor with big bonuses, ”said Young, who had access to salary records at DeJoy’s New Breed Logistics from the late 1990s to 2013, saying they were bigger, they exceeded expectations – and that covered the tax and everything else. “
Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.