Democrats Fear Partisan Slant at Postal Service as Trump Allies Dominate Board

The concerns among Democrats and government watchdog groups go beyond Mr. DeJoy. Five of the board’s seven members have a history of donating to Republicans, though some also have made more limited donations to Democrats. Mr. Duncan is a director for American Crossroads, which has spent more than $1.4 million since April on text messages supporting Mr. Trump’s re-election effort. He is also a director of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC linked to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader and one of his close allies, that has raised about $129 million. Since 2016, Mr. DeJoy has contributed more than $1.2 million in support of Mr. Trump’s campaigns.

With Mr. DeJoy and Mr. Duncan, the three other Republican governors — Mr. Barger, Roman Martinez IV and William D. Zollars — make up a majority of the board, while only two members are Democrats. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, helped vet prospective nominees to the board for Mr. Trump, recommending candidates who would carry out changes that the administration sought. Mr. Mnuchin’s recommendation of Mr. Barger, a California lawyer and financial investment adviser, was seen as helpful, because while he had donated more than $90,000 to Republicans since 2010, he had never given to Mr. Trump.

The board tapped Mr. DeJoy to become postmaster general in June, and he has overseen the removal of hundreds of mail-sorting machines and the limiting of overtime, moves that have coincided with a well-documented slowdown in mail delivery.

Mr. Trump has been able to put his stamp on the board in part because he entered the White House at a time when not a single member was in place — Republicans had blocked all of President Barack Obama’s nominees — and as its long-term fiscal viability was increasingly in doubt.

“It’s pretty ominous,” Mr. Welch said. “It really is different. It’s not the way it’s always been.”

Mr. Trump’s skepticism about the quasi-public agency predates his presidency, but during his time in office, he has repeatedly bashed the Postal Service, claiming that it essentially subsidized Amazon, another target of his ire. That company’s founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post, whose coverage has often angered Mr. Trump.

The board members appointed by Mr. Trump have mostly stood by Mr. DeJoy as the changes he has overseen have drawn mounting criticism, though one Democratic governor told lawmakers last month that he had resigned in protest, in part because of fears about the politicization of the agency. The remaining board members have convened more frequently — albeit by teleconference — during the pandemic, with governors seeking greater oversight into the day-to-day operations of the Postal Service heading into the election.

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