Postal chief DeJoy has long leveraged connections, dollars

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2020 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2020, file photo Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Capitol Hill in Washington. As they searched for a new postmaster general, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors was presented with 53 candidates vetted by an outside firm. Not on the list: Louis DeJoy, the man ultimately hired for job. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP, File)

WASHINGTON – During its search for a new postmaster general, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors was presented with 53 candidates screened by an outside company. Not on the list: Louis DeJoy, who ultimately got the job.

Instead, in what Democrats call a breach of protocol and blatant cronyism, DeJoy's name was added as a contender by the board member leading the search, John Barger. He was acting on behalf of the board's chairman, Robert “Mike” Duncan, a former Republican National Committee chairman who knew DeJoy and his wife through work on a White House advisory group. DeJoy, Barger and Duncan were prominent donors to President Donald Trump and other Republicans.

How exactly DeJoy was hired is among the questions Congress is trying to unravel as lawmakers scrutinize a series of operational changes at the Postal Service that have resulted in widespread mail delays and fears that the agency will not be able to handle an expected surge in mail-in ballots this fall as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats say they also want to learn more about the role of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who met with Duncan and other Republicans on the agency's board while the selection of the new postmaster general was underway.

The Trump administration denies any impropriety in the selection of DeJoy, a former supply chain CEO who is the first postmaster general in nearly two decades not to be a career postal employee. Mnuchin has said he had no involvement, though his heightened interest in the Postal Service has raised questions given Trump's focus on mail-in voting.

The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of pages of records related to DeJoy, revealing a driven businessman who turned his father's trucking company into a national logistics operator, clashed with labor unions and forged political connections that eased his path into lucrative government contracting.

His prolific giving to organizations and GOP candidates, including $1.2 million to Trump, has also drawn a spotlight to the transactional appearance of some of his contributions. His wife, Aldona Wos, is a prominent donor as well, and has been nominated by Trump to serve as ambassador to Canada; her nomination is pending.

The records reviewed by the AP reveal a pattern of DeJoy's family winning coveted opportunities after making generous contributions.