Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Congressional Democrats have called for an investigation into the legality of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's employee campaign contributions during his oversight of a North Carolina-based logistical company between 2000 and 2014.
The lawmakers accused DeJoy of campaign finance violations in response to a report Sunday by The Washington Post accusing him of reimbursing employees he pressured to make donations.
"It now appears that we have a U.S. Postmaster who engaged in campaign money laundering when he was running his logistics company that had and has a contract with USPS," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a member of the House oversight committee, tweeted Sunday.
"I think he's committed two felonies," Speier said "[DeJoy has] laundered campaign money and he lied to Congress."
Former employees of New Breed Logistics told the Post that DeJoy encouraged them to attend fundraisers and donate generously to Republican candidates. Two employees said DeJoy then arranged for them to receive bonuses that matched the donations plus any taxes due.
DeJoy, through a spokesman, denied pressuring employees to make campaign contributions.
Monty Hager said in a statement that DeJoy was "never notified by New Breed employees of any pressure they might have felt and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason."
DeJoy "believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations," Hager added.
New Breed Logistics Human resources Director David Young told the post that DeJoy, considered a "mega donor" to the Republican Party, "asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses."
"When we got our bonuses, let's just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations -- and that covered the tax and everything else," he added."
Young said he donated around $19,000 to GOP fundraising schemes.
The New York Times analysis of state GOP contributions found multiple instances in which 20 "midlevel and senior officials" of New Breed Logistics wrote identical checks on the same day to campaigns, often for the same maximum personal contribution amount of $2,600.
DeJoy has been one of the top GOP fundraiser in the United States, a May study of campaign contributions by NPR showed. DeJoy was chief fundraiser for the Republican National Convention, and has donated more than $1.2 million to the Trump Victory fund and millions more to other GOP funds and candidates in national and state elections.
Senate Democrats challenged DeJoy earlier in the summer over service cuts to the U.S. Postal Service they said might interfere with mail-in voting in November. More Americans are expected to rely on mail-in voting as the coronavirus pandemic keeps high-risk individuals at home to avoid infection.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, tweeted, "It is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for a political contribution."
DeJoy denied pressuring employees to make campaign contributions at a congressional hearing earlier in the summer when asked about it by Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.
"That's an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it," DeJoy said. "What are you accusing me of?"
DeJoy ran New Breed Logistics from the early 1980s until 2014, when the company was sold to Connecticut-based XPO Logistics.