There’s no way of looking at what’s happened to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as anything but partisan sabotage and corruption, engineered by the most dangerous man in our government–;Sen. Mitch McConnell–;on behalf of the most corrupt person ever to occupy the Oval Office. They’ve put the nation’s oldest institution on the precipice of collapse for personal and political gain, installing Republican operatives who are blatant and wealthy Trump partisans in control of the USPS. They did it largely with nary a whimper from Senate Democrats, with voice votes. Democrats are raising hell about it now that the aim of the takeover is clear: Replacing the USPS with the companies in which they still have large financial stakes and, while they’re at it, helping Trump get reelected not just by raising money for him, but by sabotaging what will be a largely vote-by-mail election.
There’s the postmaster general himself, Louis DeJoy, who might have just broken campaign finance laws on his way to getting this job by raising illegal money for Republicans. There’s the chairman of the board of governors, Robert Duncan, who is also on the boards of super PACs for both McConnell and Trump. The board in combination with five Republican Trump appointees has raised at least $3 million for Trump’s reelection. Last month, Duncan went directly from testifying in a House hearing about the USPS sabotage to appearing in a video clip shown at the Republican National Convention (RNC), chanting “Four more years!” with other Kentuckians.
There’s John M. Barger, one of Trump’s board members, who has been pushing an “anonymously sourced news report circulated by the Trump campaign and the president’s son Eric Trump about how mail-in ballots can be manipulated,” a story from The New York Post, of all sources. “If any doubt is ever raised–;like in the New York Post article, or by any other reputable publication–;we want to get to the bottom of that,” Barger told The New York Times.
A Postal Service spokesman refused to provide specific answers to any of the Times”; questions about the partisan political activities of the five Republican Trump board members, most of whom are big donors to the party. But they did say that Duncan’s appearance at the RNC “did not involve government resources and therefore did not violate federal law against partisan activities by federal workers.” Duncan himself did not respond to requests for comment.
Some of the governors, including Barger, are now on a new task force focused on the election. According to the Times, the agency is ramping up an advertising campaign to reassure voters that their ballots will be safe, but “some officials there” are cautioning against encouraging mail-in voting because Trump doesn’t like it. So a mailer that they will be sending out this month will “reassure voters that the Postal Service can handle the flood of mail-in ballots and to urge those who choose to cast them to send them early,” but will not promote vote-by-mail.
Democrats continue to call foul. “It’s appalling,” Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont told the Times. “The Postal Service is respected and revered because it has a single job: delivering the mail, not serving the partisan interest of whoever happens to be president at the moment. […;] It’s pretty ominous,” he said. “It really is different. It’s not the way it’s always been.” Nothing is the way it’s always been since McConnell took over the Senate. Exhibit No. 1: the Supreme Court. No. 2: the Postal Service. This happened in broad daylight, McConnell destroying every procedure and every norm to hand the government to Trump on a silver platter. His name shows up just once in this Times article, however, a clue as to how he’s been able to accomplish so much destruction in such a short time.
Democrats will continue to delve into all of these conflicts of interest and likely illegality at the top of the Postal Service, but time is very short to expose and correct for it before November’s election, particularly when the traditional media is largely focused on the Biden/Trump horse race. They have to continue to do the work, though, in order to be ready to undo it all starting in January, when we’ll hopefully be rid of both Trump and McConnell’s Republican majority.
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