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Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz took a swipe at Democrats on Monday who are pushing the conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump is working behind the scenes to subvert the November election by interfering with the Postal Service.
In a column posted at FoxNews.com, the Utah Republican noted that Democrats are not telling Americans the truth about elections or about the president’s lack of a meaningful role in how the USPS operates.
“Swirling and sudden concerns about the United States Postal Service (USPS) have arisen from Democrats who are wildly accusing President Trump of cheating and manipulating the Postal Service in his favor,” he wrote.
“Conveniently they forget to mention the president is more than an arms-length away from how we vote, and the Postal Service is not under the thumb of his control. Senate Democrats joined Republicans to unanimously install postal leadership — of which, one is an Obama appointee,” Chaffetz added.
In recent weeks, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media and entertainment industry have pushed conspiracies that the Trump administration is working to subvert and depress mail-in balloting by taking various actions including locking up mailboxes, removing mailboxes from various locations, and blocking funding for the USPS.
In fact, the USPS has, for years, either locked various mailboxes to protect mail inside or shifted them around throughout the country from places where they are little-used to higher-use areas.
Between 2011 and 2016, which was during the Obama administration, roughly 14,000 iconic blue mailboxes were either removed from locations and taken out of service or shifted to locations where they would be better utilized.
Also, a 2009 Washington Post story noted, “In the past 20 years, 200,000 mailboxes have vanished from city streets, rural routes and suburban neighborhoods – more than the 175,000 that remain.”
“The U.S. Postal Service says it removes ‘underperforming’ mailboxes – those that collect fewer than 25 pieces of mail a day – after a week-long ‘density test,’” the report added, which is what USPS spokeswoman Kimberly Frum told The Hill last week.
In his column, Chaffetz acknowledged that President Trump has routinely expressed misgivings about widespread mail-in balloting, but he added the president was right to do so.
“Sending out millions of ballots without authenticating the inbound ballots is ripe for massive fraud. Democrats have desperately been seeking to legalize ‘ballot harvesting’ (the collection and submission of ballots by someone other than the voter and without authentication) and other nefarious activities,” he pointed out.
The former Utah lawmaker also noted that the federal government has no role in the administration of elections.
“It must be noted elections in the United States are administered by counties and certified by states. In other words, per the United States Constitution, elections are run locally and not by the executive branch of the federal government. The president has simply sought fair elections,” he wrote.
“Ironically, it is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s H.R. 1 that seeks to federalize elections and give the president power he doesn’t currently have now. Her solution would create the problem she inaccurately blames Trump for today,” he said.
Trump, like the USPS itself, has warned that inundating the Postal Service with tens of millions of mail-in ballots — many times more than what the USPS has had to deal with in the past — is a recipe for election chaos. He has cited the primary fiasco in New York City, where weeks after a June primary the winner still wasn’t known because mail-in ballots had not been processed, while scores of others were initially disqualified because they did not arrive in time.
“Pelosi, D-Calif., this week is seeking emergency hearings, not on COVID-19 relief, but on the USPS and their ability to deliver, of course blaming President Trump, even to the point of cheating. She cares about power and elections,” Chaffetz wrote, adding:
The president of the United States does not control the operations of the Postal Service nor does he select or appoint the Postmaster General. The Board of Governors does both of these things. The Postal Regulatory Commission sets rates, service levels and decides on postal closings, not the president.
The governors are appointed by a president and confirmed by the United States Senate. No more than five of the nine governors may be from the same political party.
“When President Trump came into office the USPS Board of Governors was in shambles and inoperable as President Obama neglected the board,” the GOP pundit added. “There were not enough members to even form a quorum. In fact, by December 2016 there were zero of a possible nine appointed Governors. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was blocking multiple nominations.”
Chaffetz also noted that while Robert Duncan, a former Republican National Committee chairman, now sites atop the Board of Governors, he was reappointed “in 2019 when the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed him again 89-0.”
“Further, the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), Robert Taub, was appointed by President Obama and confirmed unanimously by voice vote in the United States Senate in December 2016,” Chaffetz continued, noting that if any fall-off in postal service occurs, “it isn’t the president who is in charge.”
“The Board of Governors and the Postal Rate Commission make the decisions. The United States Postal Service receives no annual appropriation by the United States Congress. Their operating budget is dictated by their revenue, which has fallen precipitously with electronic communications,” he said.
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