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Ad Watch: Is the postmaster general a Republican donor with investments in USPS competitors?
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Louis DeJoy was appointed postmaster general in May. Government documents show that he and his wife have tens of millions of dollars invested in companies that provide services similar to the USPS.
Campaign finance data shows that DeJoy has contributed more than $440,000 to Republican causes since January 2020.
The USPS inspector general is investigating DeJoy for potential ethics conflicts and reviewing some of his policy changes, such as eliminating overtime and slowing some mail delivery.
As new coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, public health officials have advised Americans to consider voting by mail this fall. But funding for the U.S. Postal Service is up in the air, and the USPS has warned states that it can’t guarantee all mail-in ballots will be counted in time for the November election.
The White House isn’t helping. In an Aug. 13 interview with Fox News, President Donald Trump said he opposed including additional funding for the Postal Service — which has lost billions of dollars during the pandemic — in new coronavirus bailout legislation.
Why? Because Democrats want to expand voting by mail.
"They want three and a half billion dollars for the mail-in votes," Trump said. "They want $25 billion, billion, for the post office. Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots."
"But if they don't get those two items that means you can't have universal mail-in voting because you, they're not equipped to have it."
RELATED: Postal service says its policy is to deliver even mail ballots lacking postage
Trump’s comments upset Democrats, who said the president was trying to suppress the vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called lawmakers back early from their August recess to vote on legislation that would block the USPS from making operational changes.
Trump has long derided the USPS as a waste of federal dollars. But an Aug. 12 ad from an anti-Trump political action committee claimed there may be ulterior motivations for the administration’s comments.
"This is Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy," says a narrator in the ad, which was published by Really American on Twitter. "A longtime Republican donor, DeJoy has given over $400,000 to Republicans just this year. Coincidentally, DeJoy and his wife have between $30 and $75 million in assets of direct competitors to the United States Postal Service."
"That’s right — they own the competition. The man Trump put in charge of our post office has the most to gain from its destruction."
The ad has more than 4 million views on Twitter, and similar claims have circulated widely on social media, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool. But are they accurate?
We reached out to the postmaster general’s office for a comment, but we haven’t heard back. We also haven’t heard back from Really American. So we dug into DeJoy’s financial records ourselves.
We found that the postmaster general has donated more than $440,000 to Republican causes in 2020. DeJoy’s investments in USPS competitors are less certain, but government documents suggest he could own more than $75 million in assets.
DeJoy was appointed postmaster general in May. Government documents show that he and his wife have tens of millions of dollars invested in companies that provide services similar to the USPS.
DeJoy is the former chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics, a contract logistics firm in North Carolina. The company helped the USPS process mail for more than 25 years.
In 2014, DeJoy sold the company to XPO Logistics, Inc., for $615 million. XPO says it’s a "top 10 global provider of transportation and logistics services" and is valued at more than $7.5 billion.
As part of the 2014 deal, DeJoy joined the board of XPO and agreed to use $30 million of his proceeds to buy restricted stock in the company. That brings us to the low point of the range mentioned in Really American’s ad.
But what about the rest of the purported assets?
DeJoy is married to Aldona Wos, a former U.S. ambassador to Estonia who has been nominated to serve as ambassador to Canada. The Washington Post reported in June that DeJoy and Wos hold "between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors, according to Wos’ financial disclosure paperwork filed with the Office of Government Ethics." A fact-check from USA Today estimated that the couple may have up to $75.8 million in assets.
We requested Wos’ 85-page financial disclosure from the Office of Government Ethics to see for ourselves. Here’s a breakdown of Wos and DeJoy’s assets in logistics companies, as of 2019:
XPO: $30.2-$75.5 million
United Parcel Service: $115,002-$300,000
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.: $1,001-$15,000
Forward Air Corp.: $1,001-$15,000
Saia Inc.: $1,001-$15,000
The vast majority of DeJoy and Wos’ holdings are in XPO. However, whether or not XPO is a "direct competitor" to the USPS, as Really American claimed, is up for at least a little debate. A 2019 Securities and Exchange Commission filing indicates that, as of 2018, XPO’s "peer group" companies included UPS and J.B. Hunt. The Postal Service is not mentioned in the filing, but since XPO arranges more than 10 million last-mile deliveries per year, the company could benefit from a weakened USPS.
Really American is correct to say that DeJoy has a financial interest in companies that provide services similar to the USPS. But is the postmaster general also a Republican donor, as the PAC claims?
In a word: yes.
According to the Federal Election Commission, DeJoy has contributed more than $440,000 to Republican causes since January 2020. Those causes include the Trump Victory committee, the North Carolina Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the (Rep. Kevin) McCarthy Victory Fund.
RELATED: How to make sure your ballot is counted this fall
In total, DeJoy has contributed more than $915,000 to Trump’s re-election campaign since February 2018, according to the FEC.
Congressional Democrats questioned DeJoy’s political and business ties soon after he was appointed in May. CNN reported Aug. 14 that the USPS inspector general is investigating DeJoy for potential ethics conflicts and reviewing some of his policy changes, such as eliminating overtime and slowing some mail delivery.
We reached out to the Louis DeJoy and Aldona Wos Family Foundation for a comment, but we haven’t heard back.
In an ad, Really American said DeJoy "gave $400,000 to Republicans just this year" and has "between $30 and $75 million in assets of direct competitors to the United States Postal Service."
Data from the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Government Ethics confirms those claims. DeJoy and Wos’ holdings in XPO and UPS alone amount to between $30.3 and $75.8 million, and DeJoy has contributed more than $440,000 to Republican causes since January 2020.
Whether XPO is a "direct competitor" to the USPS is up for debate, but the company could benefit from a weaker Postal Service. Meanwhile, the USPS inspector general is investigating DeJoy for potential ethics conflicts.
The Really American ad is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.. We rate it Mostly True.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Considerations for Election Polling Locations and Voters, June 22, 2020
CNN, "Exclusive: Postal service inspector general reviewing DeJoy's policy changes and potential ethics conflicts," Aug. 14, 2020
CNN, "Trump says he opposes funding USPS because of mail-in voting," Aug. 13, 2020
The Dispatch, "Does the Postmaster General Have $70 Million Invested in USPS Competitors?" Aug. 12, 2020
Elon University, "Elon Trustee Louis DeJoy named U.S. postmaster general," May 7, 2020
Federal Election Commission, Individual Contributions
NPR, "Pelosi Calls Lawmakers Back To Block Postal Service Changes," Aug. 16, 2020
NPR, "Trump Keeps Criticizing Universal Vote By Mail. But The Nation Isn't Doing That," Aug. 13, 2020
OpenSecrets.org, McCarthy Victory Fund
OpenSecrets.org, Really American PAC
OpenSecrets.org, Trump Victory
PolitiFact, "No, the Postal Service isn't losing a fortune on Amazon," April 2, 2018
PolitiFact, "The facts behind Trump’s jabs at Amazon on taxes, USPS and lost retail jobs," March 29, 2018
PolitiFact, "Widespread Facebook post blames 2006 law for US Postal Service’s financial woes," April 15, 2020
Senate Democrats, "Leader Schumer Calls On Postal Service Board Of Governors To Disclose Decision-Making Process For Postmaster General Pick DeJoy, The First In Decades Without Direct Experience Within Postal Service, Now Set To Lead Postal Service Amid Global Pandemic," June 15, 2020
Snopes, "Is USPS Purposefully Slowing Mail To Help Reelect Trump?" Aug. 6, 2020
Triad Business Journal, "New Breed bought by Connecticut firm for $615M," July 30, 2014
United States Postal Service, "Board of Governors Announces Selection of Louis DeJoy to Serve as Nation’s 75th Postmaster General," May 6, 2020
USA Today, "What's going on with the post office? Here's what we know," Aug. 13, 2020
U.S. Department of State, Wos, Aldona, M.D. – Canada – March 2020
U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278e): Wos, Aldona Zofia
U.S. Postal Service, "New PMG," May 7, 2020
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934: XPO Logistics, Inc., 2019
Video from Really American, Aug. 12, 2020
The Washington Post, "Postal Service warns 46 states their voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots," Aug. 14, 2020
The Washington Post, "Trump ally takes over crisis-ridden Postal Service as top Senate Democrat demands inquiry on hiring," June 15, 2020
XPO Logistics, About Us
XPO Logistics, Last Mile
Yahoo! Finance, XPO Logistics, Inc. (XPO)
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Ad Watch: Is the postmaster general a Republican donor with investments in USPS competitors?
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