Government watchdog group American Oversight filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday over its refusal to turn over Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s calendar in response to a Freedom of Information request, stonewalling that the nonpartisan organization said could indicate the USPS chief has something to hide.
“Who has Postmaster General DeJoy been meeting with and why is he trying so hard to keep it a secret?” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said in a statement. “DeJoy is supervising the delivery of everything from mail-in ballots to medications right now, and the public is entitled to see how he’s spending his time and who has been influencing his decisions.”
The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks an order compelling the Postal Service to release DeJoy’s calendar, which is stored on a government computer.
In response to the Postal Service’s claim that DeJoy’s calendar was “created for his personal use” and “not intended to be an official record of his schedule,” American Oversight said the “postmaster general’s calendar is composed of agency records” and thus subject to FOIA requests.
As HuffPost‘s Roque Planas reported last week, “the USPS doesn’t have to make rock-solid legal arguments to withhold DeJoy’s calendar, or any of the other records critics want to see, ahead of the election.”
“November 3 is less than two months away,” Planas noted. “FOIA allows for a weekslong administrative process to resolve disputes and appeals. Lawsuits often take years to settle. Documents like DeJoy’s calendar, which might shed light on the agency’s politicization, will likely stay out of the public eye until well after Election Day has passed.”
NEW LAWSUIT: We’re suing the #USPS for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s calendar.
In August, USPS claimed the calendar, which is kept on a government computer & accessed by agency staff, is a personal record not subject to FOIA.
Now we’re going to court.https://t.co/t4Cz7snHz5
— American Oversight (@weareoversight) September 15, 2020
American Oversight’s filing comes two weeks after the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed DeJoy for a number of documents, including his “complete, unredacted calendar from June 15, 2020 to the present.” The deadline for DeJoy to comply with the panel’s subpoena is noon Wednesday.
Asked during an Oversight Committee hearing last month whether he would be willing to provide his daily calendar to Congress, DeJoy—a Republican megadonor to President Donald Trump—refused to commit to releasing the information, saying he did not “want to set a precedent for my calendar to be submitted every two months.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) responded by citing current regulations stating that “electronic calendars that are submitted and maintained on USPS computers are agency records.”
Watch the exchange:
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) September 2, 2020
After the USPS expressed surprise at the Oversight Committee’s subpoena for DeJoy’s calendar, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “I said directly in the hearing that if DeJoy didn’t quickly hand over documents, we should issue a subpoena.”
“They knew the consequences of stalling,” said the New York Democrat. “Now, where’s his unaltered calendar?”