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The Guardian’s Daniel Strauss reports: Intense scrutiny of the United States Postal Service and its likely role in November’s election is calling new attention to the chairman of the organization’s board of governors, who has deep ties to influential Republicans including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. The postal service’s smooth running is seen as

The Guardian’s Daniel Strauss reports:

Intense scrutiny of the United States Postal Service and its likely role in November’s election is calling new attention to the chairman of the organization’s board of governors, who has deep ties to influential Republicans including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

The postal service’s smooth running is seen as key to the success of mail-in voting in 2020, with tens of millions of voters expected to use postal votes instead of going to polling stations, out of health fears due to the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats have raised concerns that Republicans are seeking to disrupt the agency’s operations in ways that could hinder mail-in voting.

The USPS board of governors chairman, Robert M Duncan, is partially the target of a request by the House oversight committee. The committee, chaired by Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, is asking for documents related to how the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, was selected for his position.

Through a spokesman for the USPS board of governors, Duncan declined a request by the Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to provide more information on the appointment of DeJoy, a major Republican donor. The 11-member USPS board of governors oversees the policies and expenditures of the postal service. The board can also fire the postmaster general.

To at least one former member of the board of governors, having a sitting member, much less a chair like Duncan, with such extensive political ties that could be a conflict of interest is unprecedented.

“We never had that type of situation come up,” said the former Nevada congressman James Bilbray, who served on the board in different capacities for a decade. “I don’t think we would have hired anybody or picked anybody that had a conflict. The reason is it just would not be the right thing to do, at least on my part.”

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