According to a report from the Washington Post, ethics experts are raising an eyebrow after it was revealed that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has made multiple purchases of bonds -- $305,000 worth -- from an investment firm helmed by one of his "bosses."
The report states that controversial postal chief -- a Donald Trump appointee accused of damaging the USPS -- has been buying up bonds from Brookfield Asset Management, home to Ron Bloom, senior executive who manages the firm's private equity division while also serving on postal board where he was elected its chairman in February.
Noting that Bloom has been one of DeJoy's biggest boosters, the WaPo reports, "Between October and April, DeJoy purchased 11 bonds from Brookfield Asset Management each worth between $1,000 and $15,000, or $15,000 and $50,000, according to DeJoy's financial disclosure paperwork," adding, "DeJoy's financial adviser purchased the bonds on the open market, Postal Service spokesman Jeffrey Adams said, and Bloom manages a division of Brookfield separate from the one that sells public securities."
One government ethics expert, law professor Kathleen Clark of Washington University in St. Louis, suggested that, at the very least, the business dealings should be cause for concern.
"I'm stuck on DeJoy's purchase of bonds from the company in which his quasi-boss is a managing partner," Clark explained, "because I wonder whether it affects Bloom's ability to protect the public interest in his assessment of DeJoy's performance as postmaster general."
A spokesperson for DeJoy stated that there are no ethical problems since Brookfield Asset Management does no business with the USPS.
In an email to the Post, Bloom also insisted he saw no problem, writing, "I receive no benefit whatsoever when Brookfield bonds are bought or sold. Brookfield has no business relationship with the USPS, therefore there is no basis for a conflict."
Noting that financial advisers reportedly made the purchase without the direction of the embattled DeJoy, Professor Clark was skeptical, telling the Post, "He's claiming that his agent didn't act on his specific direction. That's not good enough for federal government ethics."
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