AOC Questions Postal Service's 'Surprised' Response to Congressional Subpoena

Shortly after the House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy with another deadline to submit documents related to operational changes at the United States Postal Service (USPS), the federal agency responded in a statement that expressed both surprise and confusion about the order's motivation.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the committee, questioned the postal service's reaction on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, referencing the advanced notice that preceded the subpoena itself.

"If the USPS is surprised we are issuing a subpoena, it's because they weren't listening," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. "I said directly in the hearing that if DeJoy didn't quickly hand over documents, we should issue a subpoena."

"They knew the consequences of stalling," she added. "Now, where's his unaltered calendar?"

If the USPS is surprised we are issuing a subpoena, it’s because they weren’t listening.

I said directly in the hearing that if DeJoy didn’t quickly hand over documents, we should issue a subpoena.

They knew the consequences of stalling. Now, where‘s his unaltered calendar?

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 2, 2020

DeJoy appeared before the Oversight Committee during a congressional hearing on August 24. In her questions to the postmaster general, Ocasio-Cortez requested a copy of DeJoy's calendar dating back to mid-June, when he assumed the leadership position.

The hearing was a preliminary step in the committee's ongoing investigation into USPS processing delays, restructuring initiatives and other sudden, recent changes that sparked widespread concerns about mail-in voting ahead of November's election. DeJoy also appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on August 21.

The Oversight Committee initially requested documents from the postmaster general "regarding widespread delays across the country in may, medications, and other critical supplies, as well as potential delays for election mail in November," in addition to others containing correspondence between DeJoy and President Donald Trump.

The request provided DeJoy with a deadline, which passed on Wednesday, August 26. During the hearing two days prior, both Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the committee, shared intentions to subpoena documents from the postmaster general if he did not comply.

DeJoy did not release the requested documents to members of the Oversight Committee, Rep. Maloney said in a memo outlining plans to issue a formal subpoena, released on Monday.

"This past Friday evening, August 28, two days after this deadline [to submit requested documents], Mr. DeJoy sent a letter to the Committee stating: 'I trust my August 24 testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Reform clarified any outstanding questions you had,'" Maloney stated in the memo. "He has not produced a single additional document since the House and Senate hearings were held despite multiple conversations between Committee staff and Mr. DeJoy's office over the past week."

A United States Postal Service vehicle parks outside one of its office buildings in Chicago on August 13. The USPS said it was "surprised and confused" after the House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena for documents related to operational changes within the agency on Wednesday. Scott Olson/Getty

The subpoena reportedly requires DeJoy to provide the committee with relevant documents by September 16, according to CNN. The subpoena is not public, and the Oversight Committee did not reply to Newsweek's request for additional information. A USPS representative confirmed its statement responding to the document solicitation order in an email to Newsweek on Wednesday afternoon.

"We remain surprised and confused by Chairwoman Maloney's insistence on issuing a subpoena to the Postal Service in the midst of ongoing dialogue with her staff on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to produce information in an orderly fashion," the statement read. "We fully intend to comply with our obligations under the law."