New findings warrant criminal investigation into U.S. Postmaster DeJoy’s alleged ‘straw donor’ scheme in North Carolina
RALEIGH – Common Cause today presented the NC State Board of Elections with new research revealing suspicious donations totaling $300,000 from U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, his family and 60 of his then-employees to Pat McCrory’s campaigns, mostly large donations made by individuals who have made no other contribution in North Carolina over 30 years.
The 20-page report supplements a complaint Common Cause filed last September calling for a criminal investigation into possible unlawful campaign donations tied to DeJoy while he was chief executive of High Point, NC-based New Breed Logistics. The complaint came after a lengthy Washington Post article quoted executives alleging that DeJoy pressured them to make political contributions which he later reimbursed through company bonuses.
It is against North Carolina law to funnel money into a campaign through “straw donors” or to use company funds to make political donations. It’s a felony if either violation involves contributions exceeding $10,000.
The new analysis of hundreds of contributions by company executives raises renewed concerns and provides deeper insight into allegations that DeJoy may have orchestrated illegal campaign activities in the state. The report was prepared for Common Cause by longtime North Carolina campaign finance expert Bob Hall, former executive director of the nonprofit Democracy NC.
In addition to filing the report as an addendum to its complaint with the State Board of Elections, Common Cause is also asking Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman to open a criminal investigation into the allegations against DeJoy. While the FBI is currently investigating whether DeJoy violated federal campaign finance laws, District Attorney Freeman has jurisdiction to investigate contributions made by DeJoy to state candidates.
Earlier this year, Freeman said she would not pursue an investigation into DeJoy’s alleged donation scheme. At the time, Freeman said her office’s review of state campaign finance reports did not disclose sufficient information to warrant a criminal investigation. However, Common Cause said Hall’s in-depth research demonstrates that a thorough investigation should be immediately launched.
“These new, detailed findings reveal an alarming and highly suspicious pattern of campaign donations by Louis DeJoy’s employees while he led New Breed Logistics,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC. “We respectfully urge District Attorney Freeman to review these new findings and begin a full investigation into Mr. DeJoy’s alleged political donation scheme.”
Among the findings in Hall’s report:
— Dozens of New Breed employees who had given little or nothing to NC politics suddenly began making $1,000 and larger donations to Pat McCrory’s 2012 gubernatorial campaign; 54 executives and three of their wives donated a total of $143,130. For 46 of the 54 employees, it was their first reportable contribution to a North Carolina candidate.
— Most of those contributions were delivered around two days during the 2012 primary and general election when three members of Louis DeJoy’s family each gave $4,000 (then the limit per election) to McCrory. DeJoy, his family and New Breed employees gave a total of $181,000 to McCrory’s successful 2012 campaign; the new governor appointed DeJoy’s wife, campaign co-chair Aldona Wos, as secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
— David W. Young, who told the Washington Post that DeJoy reimbursed contributions, donated $2,000 on each of those key days during McCrory’s 2012 campaign. Hall said Young was in a good position to know how “the scheme” worked because he was a donor himself and was also New Breed’s director of human resources with access to employee records.
— In late 2015, 19 employees gave Gov. McCrory $25,600 shortly before DeJoy left his position as chief executive of New Breed, then a division of XPO Logistics. At the same time, DeJoy and three family members each gave McCrory the maximum donation of $5,100.
— Hall said reimbursements of donations may have begun during McCrory’s 2008 campaign when seven employees donated $3,000 after DeJoy gave the maximum contribution; and the practice may have continued into October 2016, when DeJoy was an XPO board member and 19 employees gave another $32,100 to McCrory in a cluster of large donations.
— The report also describes two groups of large federal campaign donations totaling $236,400 to the Thom Tillis Victory Committee in 2014 from Louis DeJoy, his family and 41 New Breed employees. Those donations may be part of the investigation now underway by the FBI.
— Hall said reimbursements of state donations apparently stopped after 2016. DeJoy continued to make large donations to North Carolina politicians but only five of the 60 employees who gave to McCrory have made any contribution in state politics since 2016, and those five only donated a total of $1,850. “This absence of political activity by these New Breed/XPO employees is another indication that their large donations to Pat McCrory were tied to the power of their boss, Louis DeJoy,” Hall wrote in his report to Common Cause.
“These allegations should be thoroughly investigated and, if true, Mr. DeJoy must be held accountable,” Phillips said.
Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy.