INSTITUTE INDEX: Meet the Trump megadonor behind Postal Service delays

After Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman and major donor to President Trump, was appointed postmaster general a few months ago, the U.S. Postal Service announced an "operational pivot" that would mean delays — especially concerning during an election year in a pandemic when an unusually high number of people are expected to vote by mail. (Photo of DeJoy courtesy of Elon University, where he serves as a trustee.)

Citing concerns about the handling of mail-in ballots during the 2020 election, date on which the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform requested that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testify at a hearing about recent changes to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) operations that have resulted in mail delays: 8/3/2020

Date on which four Democratic U.S. senators wrote a letter to DeJoy demanding information about those changes, calling it "essential that the Postal Service not slow down mail or in any way compromise service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail – including significant numbers who will be relying on the Postal Service to exercise their right to vote": 7/30/2020

Number of West Virginia post offices that the USPS had scheduled to close next month, though it reportedly "slowed" its plans after receiving a July 28 letter of concern from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who had heard what he called "troubling reports" about planned closures in his state and nationwide: 2

According to one small business owner who heavily relies on USPS, percent of their packages — which used to be delivered within about seven days — that are now taking weeks to arrive at their destination: 5-10

Date on which the USPS distributed a document later obtained by the Washington Post and verified by the American Postal Workers Union in which the USPS, an independent agency in the federal executive branch, announced an "operational pivot" to control costs through overtime limits and other changes that it says mean "temporarily — we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks": 7/10/2020

Of the $8.8 billion loss the USPS reported in fiscal year 2019, amount that was attributable to a law the lame-duck Republican Congress passed in 2006 requiring the agency to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees rather than the usual pay-as-you-go approach: about $6.6 billion

Value of the grant a bipartisan deal reached in the Senate as part of coronavirus relief legislation would haven given the USPS, only to have the grant canceled after President Trump — an outspoken foe of voting by mail and of Jeff Bezos, CEO of USPS-dependent online retail giant Amazon — threatened to veto the entire $2 trillion bill over its inclusion: $13 billion

Value of a Treasury loan the USPS got instead that requires it to hand over proprietary information about its biggest private-sector contracts: $10 billion

Month in which the Trump-appointed USPS Board of Governors unanimously selected DeJoy, the wealthy former CEO of North Carolina-based New Breed Logistics and a major Republican donor, to serve as the new postmaster general: 5/2020

Value of the contracts DeJoy's company held with the USPS beginning in 1992 to repair postal equipment including mail bags and hampers: $3.5 billion to $4 billion

Size of investments in USPS competitors or contractors currently held by DeJoy and his wife, Dr. Aldona Wos — a physician who serves as vice-chair of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships and who as secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services under Gov. Pat McCrory (R) floated a plan to privatize the state Medicaid program: between $30.1 million and $75.3 million

Value of DeJoy's and Wos's combined stake in USPS competitors UPS and trucking company J.B. Hunt: about $265,000

Amount DeJoy has contributed to the Trump Victory Fund since 2016: over $1.2 million

Amount he's contributed to the Republican National Committee since he began giving to the organization in 2008: over $1.4 million

Month in which DeJoy was named the lead fundraiser for the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, which has since been scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic: 5/2019

According to a poll released this week, percent of Americans who say all voters should have the option to mail in their ballot this year to help slow the spread of COVID-19: 58

(Click on figure to go to source.)