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RALEIGH, NC — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission yesterday against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over an alleged straw donor scheme that benefitted Senator Thom Tillis. Earlier this week, Common Cause NC, another watchdog group, filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections against DeJoy for allegations that he violated a state election law.
Tillis has been identified as “one of the biggest beneficiaries” of the effort. As the New York Times reported, “on one day in October 2014, for example, 20 midlevel and senior officials at the company donated a total of $37,600 to the campaign of Senator Thom Tillis.”
As the alleged scheme potentially amounts to a major violation of state and federal campaign finance laws, Cal Cunningham has called on Tillis to return the hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations he received from employees of companies run by DeJoy. Earlier this week, the Charlotte Observer Editorial Board also urged Tillis to call on DeJoy to “explain the troubling contributions.”
But Tillis, who has failed to stand up to DeJoy as he made cuts to the United States Postal Service, has defended the donations he received and even called investigations into DeJoy a “witch hunt” that will “clear Louis DeJoy’s name.”
In addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars Tillis received from employees of DeJoy via the alleged straw donor scheme, Tillis has received almost $50,000 from DeJoy and his wife, and DeJoy has donated to super PACs that have spent heavily in favor of Tillis. Tillis also skipped a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on veteran suicide to rub elbows with DeJoy at a GOP fundraiser at DeJoy’s Greensboro home.
“Senator Tillis’ continued defense of his donor is exactly why North Carolinians can’t trust him to represent them in Washington,” said Kate Frauenfelder, a spokeswoman for Cal Cunningham’s campaign. “Whether it’s caving to Big Pharma or the oil and gas industry, they know Senator Tillis will always put the interests of his corporate donors before them, so it’s no surprise that he’s failing to hold DeJoy to account. North Carolina is ready for a leader like Cal who will work to root out the corruption in Washington that is undermining progress on important issues of our time.”