On Monday, American Oversight sued the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to compel the release of directives, guidance, analyses, and key emails from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and his chief of staff related to voting by mail.
In August, USPS claimed it had no records responsive to American Oversight’s Freedom of Information Act request for any directives or guidance from DeJoy, his predecessor, or the White House related to voting by mail. It also said it had no assessments of USPS’s ability to facilitate the record number of mail-in ballots expected to be mailed in the upcoming election. In July, American Oversight also sent a FOIA request for the emails of DeJoy and his chief of staff containing key terms related to voting by mail; USPS has failed to respond within the time period required by law.
This lawsuit is the latest in American Oversight’s investigation into how the pandemic has impacted USPS, and into whether and to what extent the White House is interfering in the agency’s operations or undermining trust in absentee voting — either on behalf of private industry or to benefit the president’s reelection chances.
“The president tweets misinformation about voting by mail nearly every week,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director. “We find it shocking and hard to believe that neither the White House nor DeJoy has sent any memos or analyses related to Trump’s latest obsession. The public deserves insight into how the USPS is planning to ensure that every vote is counted.”
On Sept. 17, American Oversight published nearly 10,000 pages of documents from USPS containing keywords related to political interference. The documents, first reported on in the Washington Post, contained a press release on a (later scrapped) plan to mail face masks to every household, as well as details on USPS’s deteriorating financial situation and its response to the pandemic. After the records were posted, USPS requested that American Oversight take them down, claiming they had been improperly released. We agreed to temporarily remove many of the records to allow USPS to specify which items it believes should continue to be withheld. Those discussions are ongoing, but American Oversight has posted excerpts of the documents that relate to topics that have already been publicly reported.
Also last week, we sued USPS to compel the release of DeJoy’s calendar, which the agency previously claimed was a personal record not subject to disclosure under FOIA. American Oversight separately uncovered resumes and employment records, reported on by CNN, that revealed that when DeJoy took office, he brought in staff connected to his business ventures. More information on our ongoing investigation is available here, and a copy of today’s lawsuit is available here.
Part of Investigation: