Maryland AG calls Postal Service changes “unconstitutional”, joins federal lawsuit

MARYLAND – Maryland is joining more than a dozen other states in filing a federal lawsuit against the United States Postal Service, claiming that changes the organization has made could undermine the Presidential election.

Recently the service has been removing mail sorting machines, eliminating staff overtime and also announced plans to stop processing outgoing mail at some state mail distribution centers. “This conduct is harmful, illegal and unconstitutional.  We are filing suit to stop it,” says Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

However on Tuesday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced he’s now going to hold off on those changes caused by budget cuts that he approved.  DeJoy has been accused of making these changes to help President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. This comes as the President has been vocal in questioning the integrity of mail in voting but DeJoy says these changes were made because the postal service isn’t making enough money.

On Tuesday, 47 ABC asked Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh if Maryland still plans to move forward with a federal lawsuit even though DeJoy says these changes won’t go into effect until after the election. Frosh says they do plan to move forward because he feels they can’t be certain these changes will actually be reversed. He also believes there’s no excuse as to why things can’t get done properly.

“I mean the postal service delivered 2.5 billion letters in the week before Christmas. We’re talking about if every registered voter in the country casts a mail in ballot, that would be 130 million more or less ballots. It’s a tiny fraction of what the post office can do in a week,” says Frosh.

The attorneys general assert that the Postal Service has acted outside of its authority to implement changes to the postal system and did not follow the proper procedures under federal law. The law requires that changes at the U.S. Postal Service that cause a nationwide impact in mail service must be submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The commission then evaluates the proposal through a procedure that includes public notice and comment. According to the lawsuit, “The federal government’s failure to perform this mandatory duty deprived the states of their statutory right to notice and comment on USPS’ nationwide service changes.”

The states’ lawsuit seeks to “block the unlawful service reductions and operational changes at the Postal Service.”

There may be some federal legislation coming down the line to help with funding for the postal service. Meanwhile, DeJoy is set to testify before a Senate Committee on Friday and the House Oversight Committee next week.

In addition to Maryland the suit was joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a complementary multistate lawsuit to be filed in Pennsylvania which Delaware has joined.

According to Delaware’s Office of the Attorney General, “Complaints about postal disruptions have sharply increased in recent months. Sen. Tom Carper’s office has seen the proportion of constituent casework dealing with Postal Service complaints increase by 20 times the normal rate, and has received whistleblower complaints from current postal workers regarding service delays and delivery issues.”

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Maryland