WASHINGTON (AP) — Louis DeJoy is uninterested in the niceties of Washington. The wealthy longtime businessman with an outer borough New York accent prides himself as a problem solver ready to disrupt an unwieldy bureaucracy. And he’s facing potential legal troubles.
In other words, the postmaster general may be the closest thing to former President Donald Trump left in the nation’s capital. But there’s little President Joe Biden can do about it.
“Get used to me,” DeJoy told critics in Congress during a hearing earlier this year.
As he approaches his first anniversary at the U.S. Postal Service’s helm, DeJoy is under mounting pressure to resign. He’s been criticized by lawmakers from both parties for changes to the agency that have resulted in service slowdowns. Democrats are particularly worried that he’s purposefully undermining the post office, which is critical to the conduct of elections and is one of the few federal agencies a vast majority of Americans like.
The scrutiny of DeJoy, 63, has intensified as the Justice Department investigates him over political fundraising at the North Carolina-based company he ran prior to his work at the post office.
“Postmaster General DeJoy would not be in his job if he worked for any other company,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the House oversight committee.
DeJoy spokesman Mark Corallo said the postmaster general “never knowingly violated” campaign finance laws.
DeJoy was born in Brooklyn and still retains its distinct accent, despite long living in Greensboro, North Carolina. After growing up in New York, he took over his father’s small, declining trucking business in the 1980s, transforming it into New Breed Logistics, which he sold in 2014. His firm offered logistical services nationwide, which critics are quick to note sometimes competed with the post office.
DeJoy became postmaster general shortly after Trump declared the post office “a joke.” DeJoy implemented cost-cutting mechanisms he said would help make the agency — which has lost $9.2 billion in the 2020 budget year — more fiscally solvent. Those included reducing employee overtime and removing mail-sorting machines from postal facilities around the country.
“I am direct and decisive,” DeJoy said in a video message to employees last summer. “And I don’t mince words.”
After the changes, mail slowed enough that Democrats worried about an electoral crisis. The coronavirus pandemic prompted a voting-by-mail surge in last year’s presidential election, and widespread delays sparked concerns that millions of ballots wouldn’t arrive on time.
A federal judge wrote in September that “the Postal Service’s actions are not the result of any legitimate business concerns” but instead consistent with the Trump administration’s goals “to disrupt and challenge the legitimacy” of elections.
Ultimately, while there were complaints about mail delays affecting some balloting and counting, fears of widespread electoral disruptions from DeJoy’s larger changes mostly proved unfounded. The Postal Service says it delivered at least 135 million ballots to or from voters — and delivered…