Politics DeJoy Tells Judge Mail-Sorting Machines Can’t Be Reassembled
DeJoy Never Should Have Been Approved as Postmaster General, Expert Witnesses Tell House Oversight Committee
Louis DeJoy's large stake in his former logistics company, which is a major contractor for the Postal Service, should have posed far too great a risk for a criminal financial conflict of interest, the men testified to a congressional panel.That is what Richard Painter, a former top ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, and David Fineman, former chairman of the U.S.P.S. Board of Governors under the Bill Clinton and Bush administrations, said before the House Overisight Committee.
(Bloomberg) -- Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told a judge the U.S. Postal Service can’t reassemble the hundreds of high speed mail-sorting machines that were taken apart this year, a project that more than a dozen states allege was intended to undermine the upcoming election.
Aissued last week in Yakima, Washington, should be amended to acknowledge that the machines can’t be put back together, DeJoy and the USPS said in a filing in the case on Wednesday. The machines, dismantled under a DeJoy initiative, were stripped for parts to improve or repair other machines, they said.
Empty trucks, falsified records, late mail: How Louis DeJoy's changes at the Postal Service brought chaos
New rules requiring U.S. Postal Service trucks to leave exactly on schedule went relatively unnoticed amid the public outcry over the removal of sorting machines across the country — but they were far more disruptive to mail delivery.So in July he ordered drivers to start leaving post offices and distribution centers exactly on schedule and curtailed extra trips to pick up any mail that missed earlier cutoffs.
Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg
“It is therefore not possible to return such machines to service,” the USPS and DeJoy, a major Republican donor, said in the filing.
The Sept. 17 injunction granted by U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian, requires the USPS to reverse disruptive operational changes implemented by DeJoy, including restrictions on overtime and changes to the handling of election mail, such as absentee ballots applications. The order was sought by a group of Democratic state attorneys general who have sued the postal service.
'A politically motivated attack': Federal judge says he'll block USPS changes after mail delays
Judge Stanley Bastian found the agency was "involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency" which would "irreparably harm the states’ ability to administer the 2020 general election.” Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning. During a court hearing, Bastian said he would be issuing a nationwide injunction against the USPS. The scope of the injunction was not immediately clear, with the judge saying he would provide more detail in the written order to be issued later Thursday or on Friday, according to the Washington Post.
Bastian has yet to rule on DeJoy’s request to amend the injunction.
A second injunction was issued against the USPS this week in a suit brought by voters in federal court in Manhattan. Another group of states is seeking a third nationwide injunction on DeJoy’s changes in federal court in Pennsylvania, where arguments took place on Thursday. At that hearing, lawyers for the USPS said delays are being reversed and claimed states were exaggerating the impact of the changes.
In his Sept. 17 ruling, Bastian blasted the USPS changes, saying it was “easy to conclude” that DeJoy’s effort was intended to disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election. The judge noted that 72% of the decommissioned high speed mail-sorting machines were located in counties where Hillary Clinton got the most votes in 2016.
The fight over the USPS changes is part of a broader clash between Republicans and Democrats over an expected surge in voting by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the increased use of mail-in ballots will lead to a massive fraud and a “rigged” election.
The USPS has said it’s prepared for the election and repeatedly denied that the operational changes instituted in July were intended to help Trump.
(Updates with arguments over a third potential injunction.)
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