New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against Trump, USPS | government

Three states and two cities, led by New York attorney general Letitia A. James, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against President Donald J. Trump, the U.S. Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in an attempt to prevent and prevent recent changes to the nation’s postal system Protecting Americans’ ability to vote by mail ahead of November’s presidential election.

New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, the city and county of San Francisco, California, and New York City filed the 64-page lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday to halt the Trump administration’s attempts and dismantle, according to a statement from the Attorney General, suspend USPS operations to undermine the November 3rd election.

In the past few weeks, the USPS has – as per DeJoy’s guidelines – put in place a hiring freeze on management, pushed for early retirement, and cut overtime cuts at a moment when up to 40,000 postal workers are either sick or in the quarantine of the COVID -19 virus.

DeJoy admitted that attempts to cut costs have resulted in serious delays in mail delivery.

“They are making these changes because the coronavirus crisis means that the postal service is expected to process a record number of postal ballot papers during the November elections, which threatens the integrity of our elections in this country,” James said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The US postal system was established on July 26, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin was the nation’s first postmaster general. The USPS has been acting independently since July 1971 when the agency was expelled from the President’s Cabinet to ensure political independence.

The postal service employs more than 600,000 federal employees who deliver 451 million pieces of mail every day.

More than 42 million ballots were sent to Americans in mid-2018, and 80 percent of foreign members of the armed forces voted by mail in 2018. The number of postal ballots is expected to be ten times the average number of postal ballots, James said.

“This USPS slowdown is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic,” said James. “This time, however, these authoritarian actions endanger not only our democracy and our fundamental right to vote, but also the immediate health and financial well-being of Americans across the country. We will do everything in our power to halt the presidential takeover and ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast a vote in November. “

In the lawsuit, James and the coalition argue that efforts to undermine both the USPS and November elections are in violation of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, Postal Reorganization Act, and the US Constitution’s electoral clause. The coalition is calling on the court to overturn any recent USPS amendments and prevent the USPS from continuing to implement the changes as they violate the law and constitutional law, the attorney general said.

“It’s difficult to give you a timeframe as you know this is in a court of law,” said James, adding that there will be time for change before election day.

“The postal service has yet to reply. The process continues. We hope the courts will come to a decision in a timely manner. “

Members of the US House Oversight Committee barbecued DeJoy on Monday when he admitted he knew nothing about Chapter 39 of the US Government Code, which states that the USPS “should be run by the government of the United States as a basic and essential service to the people.” Authorized by the Constitution, created by the law of Congress, and popularly supported. “

He confessed to California Democratic MP Katie Porter that he neither knows how much postage is required for a postcard, nor has any idea how many Americans voted “the next million” in the mail in the last election.

DeJoy, 63, is a Republican megadonor and former owner of a logistics company that grew out of his father’s Long Island haulage company.

James shared the latest state anecdotes about sluggish or late mail across the state. Three post offices in hamlets in western New York that James did not name receive 80,000 mail pieces on a typical day.

“On July 11th, these places did not receive a single piece of mail,” she said.

Mail sorting machines have been removed across the state and across the country in accordance with the agency’s new regulations. Five of Buffalo’s 20 machines were removed, four of 15 machines in Syracuse and 15 units across New York City, adding to the backlog.

Several heads of state in Congress joined James on Tuesday’s conference call, calling recent changes to the nation’s postal system “partisans” and “corrupt attack”.

Lawmakers cited concerns about the slowdown in the USPS, with life-threatening effects on veterans and seniors who are not receiving medication, or the economic impact of people waiting for pension payments or paychecks.

Nearly 120 million Veterans Affairs prescriptions are mailed out annually, and 20 percent of adults over 40 who are taking medication for a chronic condition receive prescription prescriptions in the mail. More than half of the people who receive medication in the mail are over 65, according to the Attorney General’s office.

“It was said that neither rain nor snow nor darkness of our night could stop our postmen,” said US Representative Paul Tonko, D-Albany. “Who would have thought we had to add political corruption as something that challenges it? Swiss Post connects us all. It is a pillar of our democracy. “

“This president and friends have already created confusion about how individuals can safely and securely vote in the middle of a pandemic,” he added.

While the coronavirus is on the decline in the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s mandates require New Yorkers to stay socially distant or 6 feet away from others and wear a face mask or covering in public. Postal votes are a necessity to keep the virus from spreading, Tonko said.

“Voting by email should be a very convenient action – not one that casts doubt on this concept,” he said. “We will oppose this persistent attempt to politicize something as fundamental as the postal service for personal gain and ensure that the voices of all Americans are heard in November.”

About 18 percent of Americans pay their bills by mail, including 40 percent of seniors, and nearly one in five Americans receives their tax refunds by mail.

About 40 percent of small businesses send packages through the USPS every month, according to the Attorney General.

The US representative Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, described the changes to the postal service as “a ruthless act of sabotage”.

“When you think of sabotage, you think of outside influence, domestic or foreign, that’s an enemy – you never think it’s the President of the United States,” Higgins said. “You are deliberately trying to destroy, to hamper an institution … built on trust, permanence, reliability, and the President of the United States is committing this fraud against the people of the United States and our democracy. Can’t stand that. “

The lawsuit is being handled by Matthew Colangelo, Assistant Attorney General for Federal Initiatives, Assistant Attorney General Daniela Nogueira, and Special Adviser Morenike Fajana – all of the Executive Division. and Assistant Attorney General Lindsay McKenzie of the Civil Rights Bureau. The Civil Rights Bureau is part of the Social Justice Department. Both the executive and social justice departments are overseen by first assistant attorney general, Jennifer Levy.

The Tribune News Service contributed to this report.

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