Silicon Valley Rep Demands Criminal Probe into Alleged Election-Rigging at USPS

As the U.S. Postal Service this past week dismantled mail-sorting machines and removed its iconic blue collection bins in Silicon Valley and throughout the nation, lawmakers began sounding the alarm about a plot to imperil the agency ahead of Election Day.

Their fears—outlined in an Aug. 12 letter penned by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), among other Democrats—were hardly unfounded.

President Trump made clear last week that he’s holding up $25 billion in federal relief for the USPS because he worries about it paying for universal ballots. At the White House today, the president lobbed new volleys against mail-in voting, repeating one of his favorite conspiracies about unchecked election fraud.

“You can’t have millions and millions of ballots sent all over the place, sent to people that are dead, sent to dogs, cats, sent everywhere,” he said at a briefing.

While the president tries to discredit the USPS as a dysfunctional money-loser and a tool for Democrats to enable fraudulent voting, Trump appointee Louis DeJoy has come under fire for destabilizing the organization from the inside out.

Since Trump tapped the Republican mega-donor as postmaster general in June, DeJoy has precipitated devastating shakeups at an agency already billions of dollars in the hole thanks to a 2006 law that requires it to pre-fund decades of retiree health benefits.

Disruptive reassignments, lowered overtime caps and other crippling cost-cutting tactics immediately followed DeJoy’s arrival.

On Friday, in the face of widespread backlash to running a public service as a private business, the former supply-chain CEO acknowledged the “unintended consequences” of his actions. And today, evidently seeing the writing on the wall, DeJoy finally agreed to temporarily suspend the operational changes.

“There are some longstanding operational initiatives—efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service—that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic,” he explained in a statement. “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”

The about-face follows an Aug. 12 letter co-signed by Eshoo, Lofgren and other Democratic legislators that implored DeJoy to reverse policies that have slowed mail and weakened the nation’s oldest institution just months before one of the most consequential elections in a generation.

Amid a once-in-a-century pandemic that mandates physical distance, the missive argued, preparing for a largely vote-by-mail election is literally a matter of life or death.

By the beginning of this week—even with DeJoy set to testify before the Senate and offering assurances that he’ll rein in his controversial management policies—Eshoo decided to ratchet up demands for accountability.

In another communique—this one dated Aug. 16 and directed at California Attorney General Xavier Becerra—the South Bay rep called on the state’s top cop to investigate DeJoy for trying to “hamper” vote-by-mail efforts.

The Postal Service has already warned 46 states that it may be unable to deliver mail-in ballots in time for the Nov. 3 election, Eshoo wrote in a letter that cast the issue as a politically engineered crisis. “I believe there is sufficient evidence for your office to open a criminal investigation to determine if these actions violate California laws which protect the rights of our mutual constituents to vote,” she said, “and I urge you to do so.”

To make a case for Becerra’s jurisdiction over the matter, Eshoo cites Section 18502 of the California Election Code, which states: “Any person who in any manner interferes with the officers holding an election or conducting a canvass, or with the voters lawfully exercising their rights of voting at an election, as to prevent the election or canvass from being fairly held and lawfully conducted, is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years.”

Based on President Trump’s own statements and the penumbra of conflicts around his handpicked postmaster—whose financial entanglements have come under glaring scrutiny—Eshoo said the administration seems to have run afoul of California law.

Like the earlier letter she penned with Lofgren, Eshoo invoked the nation’s founding document to drive home the foundational role the USPS has played in U.S. history.

“We cannot allow our democracy and votes cast in November to be hijacked by those who boast in broad daylight of their distaste of a revered institution which was placed in our Constitution by the framers,” the South Bay representative declared. “The first postmaster general was Benjamin Franklin, and succeeding generations have continued to entrust the Postal Service with so much of their day-to-day lives. It is a service that enjoys the fullest confidence of the American people, with the exception of those that wish to destroy it, along with our democracy.”

From the steps of the Palo Alto Post Office today, Eshoo said reports of disappearing sorting machines and ill-advised internal reorganizations at USPS already had her worried about the fate of the institution. But learning about the blue mailboxes being tagged for removal in her own district, she added, pushed her to escalate her approach.

When she returns to Washington, Eshoo promised to advance a bill—the Delivering for America Act—that would prohibit closure of any USPS branch and prevent DeJoy from slashing overtime, work hours or service beyond what was in place on Jan. 1.

In addition to preventing changes that would delay the mail, the proposal set for Saturday’s vote would allocate the $25 billion requested by the USPS Board of Governors but blocked by Republicans in previous relief packages this summer.

While lawmakers defend the USPS from sabotage in the nation’s capitol, Eshoo exhorted constituents to keep advocating for its preservation. According to Eshoo, Dejoy’s decision to temporarily halt the blue-box removals came in direct response to the public outcry.

“Public pressure works,” she said.

The veteran elected also advised Californians to take advantage of the state’s universal absentee ballots to vote as early as possible.

“When you get it,” she told reporters this morning, “fill it out immediately.”

“Your vote will be counted,” Eshoo added, “and so will your voice.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

6 Comments

  1. ZOE HAS GOT TO GO!

    Don’t trust this crook, she is a known liar and is lying a here too. Dig deeper for yourselves, stop trusting these people. California does not completely go in one political direction without cheating & fraud, which has been going on in Silicon Valley for years. We all know it so let’s start doing something about it.

  2. > Silicon Valley Rep Demands Criminal Probe into Alleged Election-Rigging at USPS

    Ridiculous.

    The election rigging by the USPS is obvious:

    1. The Mail-in ballot envelopes for the primary election displayed the voters party registration on the OUTSIDE of the envelope.

    2. The National Association of Letter Carriers has endorsed Joe Biden for President.

    https://apnews.com/2eb0459bf4cd01838a6e75cc4ca5cece

    3. The American Postal Workers Union has endorsed Joe Biden for President

    https://apwu.org/news/apwu-executive-board-endorses-joe-biden-president

    Rigging of the election by the USPS?

    HELL YES!

  3. Yes, but Eshoo may be half right. Well known Santa Clara story about some Archie comics wannabe who put balloons on signs rejiggering the mail of a candidate for Mayor in 2000. He also tried to put out a phony newspaper with the Stamper.

  4. Dont you people ever tire from being dragged about by your noses?

    How much of this can you stomach this?

    Two years of Russia Russia Russia fear mongering, FISA warrants, pee dossiers, hopes dashed daily that the walls are closing in on Trump, but they never do. Then once the report was a loser, time for the next shiny thing.

    Can you believe that the impeachment was over the Ukraine? Its almost like a dream, but you actually played that fiction out to the end. A crime-less impeachment over something. Ironically or by design, over something Biden actually did when he forced the Ukrainian prosecutor to drop charges on his kid for a $1B loan guarantee.

    Of course at that same time, the virus which the press or your silicon valley overlords wont let you ask any questions about, was spreading rapidly. All I heard first was how this was no big deal, even from Pelosi, but once they realized they could paint Trump as the grandma killer, its was rona fear mongering 24/7. Of course all the geniuses blamed Trump for lack of testing. But as a novel virus, I was reading report of 20-30-40% false negative and false positives, WHO says non-symptomatics dont (and then they did) passing and masks were not useful (and then they were). But it has to be Trump, because everything in the progressive hive mind is Trumps fault. No matter how incompetent the mayors or governors are in handling patients and nursing homes, its Trumps fault.

    Feeling the very real pressure since the media is running it on a 9/11 style loops, he concedes to the strategy of flattening the curve. Now please, for all those saying Trump hasnt cured rona yet, flattening the curve is a choice to save hospital space and resources now knowing full well people will eventually get the rona later. That means the longer we flatten the curve the longer we dont achieve herd immunity, the longer our kids are not in school, the longer people are unemployed, the longer our jobs are at risk. This is no Trumpian idea. The lock down seems to work, until.

    George Floyd dies during a routine arrest, and all you know what breaks loose. But now rona is no big deal, because racism, caused by Trump, is more dangerous than rona. But did Trump write the policy in Minneapolis that lead to Mr Floyds death. Did Trump even establish the mass incarceration machine that is at the core of these protests. No, it was a combination of Biden’s 1989 Democratic response demanding we triple prisons and police and codified by Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill.

    As a result of lax enforcement during the protests and lockdown fatigue, there was a reported a second wave. Again conveniently blamed on Trump even though many mayors, governors, functioning human beings understood the cure was getting worse than the disease.

    Now we are in back to full-on rona fear mongering with our kids at home, parents stuck with impossible choices, restaurants empty. And while it is fine to go to the store, home depot, the coffee shop, it will kill half of the united states if we don’t fundamentally change the way we vote, and we need to fix it in a few months.

    Now Obama trashed 14000 mailboxes, the USPS has been fading forever, it is notorious for inefficiency and disgruntled workers, required to be self sufficient, and has been decimated by the rona lockdown. But Trump is cheating if we dont bail out the USPS in a month. Of course, there is the inconvenient truth that old people vote by mail a lot, and they for most part vote conservative. So Trump cheating like this is likely causing more harm than help to his own campaign.

    Now I will concede Biden may win this. But I do not think Biden is a good choice, nor do I think Harris is. I think the Democratic Party is split between the AOC/Sanders worldview and the Clinton/Biden “third way” world view. Given the mood of the country, it is conceivable that Biden loses. When he does, you will need to blame something other than that fundamental split, what better nonsense than mailboxes to replace pee dossiers and phone call transcripts that are worse than Watergate?

    Now you may want to pick apart my argument here or there, you may violently react to my right wing talking points, but don’t you as intelligent liberal minded people have to consider you are being manipulated to be at a heighten state of rage to stop you from actually thinking?

  5. Eshoo’s recent and very public statements and pronouncements are, like Eliot Engel’s, completely a function of the fact that she has a primary challenger (https://www.businessinsider.com/democrat-elliot-engel-says-he-wouldnt-care-to-speak-about-protest-if-he-wasnt-facing-a-tough-primary-challenge-2020-6). Engel’s demise was a most marvelous event. Even more scrumptious and significant was Cory Bush’s defeat of the Clay dynasty in St. Louis. Bush, a formerly homeless, Black Lives Matter activist and nurse, defeated a major figure in the neoliberal Black Democratic establishment (https://theintercept.com/2020/08/05/cori-bush-lacy-clay-primary/). This portends progressive challenges to the Democratic Party’s Black, Latino, women and LGBTQ identitarian firewall, including challenges to Obama’s glorified legacy itself–something way beyond Ocasio-Cortez defeat of Crowley in 2018.

    More to the point, where was Eshoo in 2006, or in the years since, in advocating for the USPS? I know she has spent loads of time, energy and money successfully advocating–in opposition to most Democrats–for the expansion of the patent protections of Big Pharma (https://www.sanjoseinside.com/opinion/op-ed-rep-anna-eshoo-needs-to-answer-for-ties-to-big-pharma/) and expanding the market power of Big Telecom (https://www.sanjoseinside.com/the-fly/rep-anna-eshoo-flip-flops-on-telecom-mergers-extols-virtues-of-sprint-t-mobile-tie-up/; https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1021473398842/Letter%20from%20Rep%20Eshoo% 20et%20al%20and%20Chairman%20Pai%20Response.pdf). Eshoo has a history of “going to the mat” for corporate donors and interests to the detriment of her constituents. This is always combined with “flavor of the month” legislative initiatives that, after they are announced so as to have PR impact, never see the light of day.

    I caution San Jose Inside from being played by either Eshoo or her challenger.

  6. I don’t think you need to worry about SJ Inside being played, I have the feeling they know exactly what they are doing. By the way, is Jennifer back from Portland yet?

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