Facing Congressional investigation, Postmaster General DeJoy hires a consulting and PR firm with deep Trump administration ties
- Postmaster General Louis DeJoy hired a consulting firm with ties to President Trump to represent him after the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into his private business.
- The investigation follows a Washington Post report that the longtime Republican fundraiser may have violated campaign fundraising law.
- Patomak Global Partners was founded by Paul Atkins, a former SEC executive who has advised Trump on financial deregulation and served on his business council.
- A USPS spokesperson said the work performed by DeJoy's personal firms, Patomak and RLF Communications, does not relate to his duties as Postmaster General or its main PR agency, Weber Shandwick.
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US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy hired a consulting and PR firm with deep ties to the Trump administration as he faces allegations that he violated campaign fundraising laws as a private businessman and Republican fundraiser, Business Insider has learned.
Since his nomination to lead the US Postal Service as Postmaster General was announced in May, DeJoy has been embroiled in political controversies regarding the role USPS will play in the coming election and his financial interests as a private businessman who invested in companies that compete directly with USPS.
On September 6, The Washington Post reported claims that employees of DeJoy's former shipping company, North Carolina's New Breed Logistics, had been pressured to donate to Republican candidates and compensated with bonuses, in violation of state and federal law.
Two days later, Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that she would investigate the report. A Committee spokeswoman did not provide an update on the status of that investigation.
Spokesman Edward McFadden said the PR and consulting firm, DC-based Patomak Global Partners, now handles all queries regarding DeJoy's personal business. Those could involve the Washington Post article and DeJoy's multimillion-dollar holdings in USPS competitors like UPS and XPO Logistics, which acquired New Breed in 2014.
DeJoy previously used North Carolina-based PR firm RLF Communications on matters from the fundraising allegations to Democrats' claims that DeJoy's appointment was a reward for raising money for Trump. RLF CEO Monty Hagler declined to say if he still represents DeJoy in any capacity and referred further queries to Patomak.
Patomak's founder is an advisor to President Trump who specializes in financial deregulation
The Wall Street Journal describes Patomak Global Partners as a "behind-the-scenes consulting business" founded by Paul Atkins, a former attorney and regulatory expert appointed to the SEC by George W. Bush in 2002. It specializes in helping businesses navigate and minimize government regulations.
After the 2016 election, Trump named Atkins, who has reportedly criticized labor unions, LGBTQ rights groups, and others for encouraging shareholder activism, to a key role on his transition team overseeing regulatory agencies as the incoming administration looked to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
Atkins later joined Trump's business advisory forum along with the CEOs of companies like Disney, Blackrock, and Walmart and continued to speak on behalf of the administration as a top advisor advocating for financial deregulation.
Patomak is not a registered lobbying firm so it does not have to disclose its clients, but they reportedly include government entities like the US Chamber of Commerce as well as private equity, investment, and Chinese accounting firms seeking assistance in disputes with US government regulators.
As DeJoy battles personal controversy, PR giant Weber Shandwick works to counter messaging efforts from the White House
A USPS spokesman said Patomak doesn't do work related to DeJoy's duties as Postmaster General and that USPS refers all queries about his business dealings to his personal representatives. The USPS's PR agency of record is IPG's Weber Shandwick, which said it doesn't represent any USPS employees, including DeJoy.
CNN reported that Weber is also handling crisis communications to counter the White House's own anti-election-mail messaging and promote the USPS, whose board is Trump-appointed and which is run by DeJoy, a Trump donor, after he testified to Congress that he took actions that slowed mail delivery.
It's unclear exactly what Weber does for the USPS because the USPS wouldn't release its unredacted $4 million contract in response to a Business Insider FOIA request. It has, however, promoted a PSA-style ad campaign promoting voting as safe.
The USPS rejected an appeal by Business Insider to release the full contract, arguing that the redactions were the product of contract negotiations between USPS and Weber Shandwick and should not be disclosed "under good business practice" because they would weaken USPS' ability to negotiate future deals with other vendors.
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