The US Treasury Department “asks[ed] operational control “of the US Postal Service as a condition of approval of a $ 10 billion loan to the agency, new documents reveal, exacerbating concerns about the extent to which the Trump administration is influencing the non-partisan USPS.
Documents obtained by the American Oversight monitoring group and reported by the Washington post– some of which the USPS later order American Oversight to be removed after the To post Article was published saying they were “released in error” – shows USPS hired law firm Mayer Brown to assess Treasury Department terms for $ 10 billion loan .
The lawyer was asked to analyze the Treasury’s “unprecedented” demand for the USPS to “relinquish its authority” to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin or the Federal Financing Bank, which the lawyer concluded in a statement. note “would be illegal”.
The Treasury Department ultimately loaned the money to the USPS in exchange for information about the agency’s private sector contacts, but sources cited by the To post said the Treasury continued to insist that “any loan … should allow it to take operational control” of the USPS “for weeks.”
The Treasury Department made similar requests for a previous loan in 2019, according to a letter from the USPS attorney general at the time, which argued that the terms of the Treasury loan would “cede to the Treasury the all of the important decisions that Congress has assigned to the Postal Service. “
In the spring of 2020, the USPS hired attorney for attorney Stefan Passantino to help resolve his financial woes and negotiations with the Trump administration, emails say, as well as Republican lobbyist Rick Hohlt, and has considered bringing in the former White House chief of staff. Reince Priebus.
Passantino, who was brought in by USPS Board of Governors Chairman and GOP fundraiser Robert Duncan, is a former White House attorney who was later employed by the Trump organization to help manage congressional inquiries, and is currently assisting Trump’s re-election and the GOP lawsuits against postal voting through his company Elections LLC.
Former USPS Board of Governors David Williams recently testified in Congress that Mnuchin exercised improper control over the board – made up entirely of Trump appointees – and that the Trump administration is using the non-partisan USPS as a “political tool.”
“I see President Trump’s fingerprints everywhere,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. To post on USPS documents. “It is clear from the president’s public comments and the actions of his administration that he has a major agenda for the post – and we see a lot of it in black and white here.”
Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley explained the department’s request for scrutiny to the To post by claiming that the Trump administration was trying to “protect” the billions of dollars in loans it was giving to the USPS. As in any arm’s-length negotiation, some of these proposals were rejected by the USPS, while other reforms, such as improved monthly and quarterly financial reports, were agreed upon as part of the recent 10-month loan. billion dollars that the Treasury and the USPS agreed to on terms last month, “she said.” The funding terms proposed by the Treasury have always been commercially reasonable and in accordance with the law. It is absurd to describe the common sense conditions on continued taxpayer funding as a “takeover”.
President Donald Trump has long criticized the Postal Service and reportedly sought to affecting the agency; he has repeatedly pressured the agency to increase its fees on Amazon, which is run by To post owner Jeff Bezos, and allegedly attempted to oust former Postmaster General Megan Brennan, who fought off his attacks on Amazon. (The American Oversight documents also include a memo in which the agency rebuts the president’s claims and argues that the fee hike would “cede” control to competitors like UPS, and exposed a tense standoff between the USPS and Amazon in which Amazon questioned the USPS “viability for them as an ongoing shipping partner.”) The Trump administration potential influence at the agency a closer look under new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump donor and GOP fundraiser who changes implemented at the USPS which resulted in widespread mail delays. The delays have sowed fear among critics that DeJoy is working with Trump to undermine postal voting, which DeJoy has repeatedly denied.
American Oversight documents also reveal that the USPS planned to announce an initiative in April in which the government would send each household five face covers to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan was eventually scrapped, an administration official told the To post, because the Trump administration feared that face masks would “create worry or panic.”