Mark Meadows the White House chief of staff said on Tuesday that despite the House probe into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy being politically motivated, he thinks DeJoy would cooperate with the Democrats’ investigation.
“Never underestimate Congress’s ability to ratchet up an investigation 60 days out from a presidential election,” Meadows told reporters at the White House. “The political rhetoric gets heated and accusations get thrown away, and then many times right after the presidential election, voilà, they go away,” he added.
House Democrats say they are investigating DeJoy over allegations reported by The Washington Post that he asked employees to donate to particular political candidates and then reimbursed them through bonuses.
Meadows said he believes DeJoy will “cooperate completely,” calling him an “honorable man.”
“We serve in a great country where you’re innocent until proven guilty, especially when that guilt is thrown your way by members of Congress,” he said.
While it is not illegal to encourage employees to contribute to candidates, it is illegal to reimburse them as a way of avoiding federal campaign contribution limits.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement that if the allegations about campaign finance violations are true, “DeJoy could face criminal exposure—not only for his actions in North Carolina but also for lying to our Committee under oath.”
She was referring to DeJoy’s testimony in August before her committee when he emphatically denied that he had repaid executives for contributing to Trump’s campaign.
The alleged campaign violation is said to have occurred when DeJoy led New Breed Logistics, a shipping operation, before being appointed to head the U.S. Postal Service earlier this year by the service’s Board of Governors.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” David Young, who directed human resources at New Breed Logistics for about 15 years, told the Washington Post.
No other former employees quoted in the piece were named.
A spokesman for DeJoy told the paper, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, that DeJoy wasn’t aware of any pressure put on employees making contributions.
“Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason,” the spokesman said.
During questioning by Congress last month, a representative asked whether DeJoy paid back top executives through bonuses or awards.
“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent that,” he said. “The answer is no.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.