Trump’s appointment of Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General has tested the integrity of the USPS’s ethical framework, and this test has revealed huge cracks in its foundation. CREW has submitted a comment urging the USPS to meaningfully address conflicts of interest arising from the financial holdings of its Board of Governors, including the Postmaster General, the Deputy Postmaster General, and the nine members who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

There has seemingly been no end to the number of ethical problems surrounding DeJoy’s appointment and tenure. To start, DeJoy failed to immediately divest his multimillion-dollar interest in XPO Logistics, a Postal Service contractor for which he previously served as a chief executive. XPO Logistics has reportedly received a $120 million contract with the USPS during his tenure. Though DeJoy ultimately divested his shares in XPO Logistics—worth between $26 million and $103.6 million—he continues to receive rental payments from XPO Logistics. DeJoy’s private businesses reportedly could receive rental payments from XPO Logistics that generate up to $23.7 million over the next decade.

There are discrete steps the USPS should take to combat ethical problems like the ones raised by DeJoy. For example, the USPS should prevent all members from holding any financial interest in a USPS contractor or subcontractor, whether publicly or privately-held. Another practical reform would be to strengthen and enhance the ethics review process for an incoming Postmaster General to ensure greater consistency, accountability and impartiality—including an accelerated ethics review process for anyone filling the position.

To be sure, the USPS is making some significant steps to shore up some of the alarming holes in its ethical framework—including making an effort to establish a ban against the Board of Governors, their spouses and dependent children from holding financial interests in postal competitors. But given glaring conflicts like the ones experienced by DeJoy, the USPS must do much more to fully restore public confidence in the USPS’s ethical integrity.

Header image by Paul Saberman under a Creative Commons license.

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