Congressman protests ban on USPS facility tours
Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister
The chairman of a House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees the United States Postal Service is furious at the agency’s decision to block members of Congress from visiting local facilities before the Nov. 3 elections.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, protested the ban in an Oct. 22 letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, saying that “oversight of Postal Service operations is more important than ever.”
During a media briefing held Oct. 22, Justin Glass, the Postal Service’s election mail director, said the Hatch Act prevents the agency from allowing any person seeking a federal office from being given a tour of a postal facility during the 45 days before an election.
Congressional staff members will be allowed inside the facilities, Glass said.
Connolly said that the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal office that regulates Hatch Act issues, has informed him that the law should not be used “to prevent members of Congress from executing their oversight responsibilities through tours or other constitutionally required actions.”
Connolly, one of several House Democrats who have been blocked from visiting postal facilities this fall, called the Hatch Act claim “baseless.”
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