“The resulting confusion and inconsistency in operations at postal facilities compounded the significant negative service impacts across the country,” the inspector general wrote.
In addition, the inspector general found that the documentation of the operational changes provided by USPS officials to customers and congressional lawmakers “was generally accurate but incomplete.”
The “collective results” of the changes by DeJoy and USPS executives, “combined with the ongoing employee availability challenges resulting from” the coronavirus pandemic, “negatively impacted the quality and timeliness of mail delivery nationally,” the inspector general wrote.
The inspector general also found that the agency’s “mail service performance significantly dropped beginning in July 2020, directly corresponding to implementation of the operational changes and initiatives.”
DeJoy, a former businessman and Republican megadonor, was tapped to lead the cash-strapped USPS this summer as the White House escalated its unsubstantiated attacks on mail-in voting — provoking widespread criticism of DeJoy’s organizational restructuring at the agency.
DeJoy came under further scrutiny last month after The Washington Post reported that he had potentially violated campaign finance law by pushing employees at his former North Carolina-based company to donate to Republican campaigns and reimbursing them using bonuses.
A spokesperson for DeJoy told the Post that DeJoy was not aware that any employees had felt pressured to make donations.
Last week, the USPS agreed to reverse all the changes it made earlier this year that allegedly slowed mail service, settling a lawsuit filed against the agency and DeJoy by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. The agreement required the USPS to prioritize election mail.
The 39-page watchdog report comes as tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots in the 2020 election, which has seen local and state governments significantly expand vote-by-mail capabilities to better protect public health amid the pandemic.