• 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 said the longtime Republican fundraiser may have violated campaign-fundraising law.
  • Patomak Global Partners was founded by Paul Atkins, a former Securities and Exchange Commission 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, did not relate to his duties as postmaster general or the agency’s main public-relations firm, Weber Shandwick.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has hired a consulting and public-relations 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 has invested in companies that compete directly with USPS.

On September 6, The Washington Post reported allegations 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, a 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 she would investigate the report. A committee spokeswoman did not provide an update on the status of that investigation.

Patomak Global Partners spokesman Edward McFadden said the PR and consulting firm now handles all queries regarding DeJoy’s personal business. Those could involve The Washington Post report and DeJoy’s multimillion-dollar holdings in USPS competitors like UPS and XPO Logistics, which acquired New Breed in 2014.

DeJoy previously used the North Carolina 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 represented DeJoy in any capacity and referred further queries to Patomak.

Patomak’s founder is an advisor to Trump who specializes in financial deregulation

The Wall Street Journal described Patomak Global Partners as a “behind-the-scenes consulting business” founded by Paul Atkins, a former attorney and regulatory expert appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission by President George W. Bush in 2002. It specializes in helping businesses navigate and minimize government regulations. 

After the 2016 election, Trump named Atkins — who has criticized labor unions, LGBTQ-rights groups, and others for encouraging shareholder activism, according to Politico — 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 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, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As DeJoy battles personal controversy, PR giant Weber Shandwick works to counter messaging efforts from the White House

A USPS spokesman said Patomak didn’t do work related to DeJoy’s duties as postmaster general and that USPS referred all queries about his business dealings to his personal representatives. The USPS’s PR agency of record is IPG’s Weber Shandwick, which doesn’t represent any USPS employees, including DeJoy, it said.

CNN reported that Weber was also handling crisis communications to counter the White House’s messaging against mail-in voting and promote USPS, whose board is Trump-appointed, after DeJoy testified to Congress that he took actions that slowed mail delivery.

It’s unclear what Weber does for USPS because the agency wouldn’t release its unredacted $4 million contract in response to a Business Insider Freedom of Information Act request. It has, however, promoted a PSA-style ad campaign promoting voting as safe.

USPS rejected an appeal by Business Insider to release the full contract, saying 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’s ability to negotiate future deals with other vendors.

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