You might have thought you were having trouble with your mailman (or woman) but hopefully, it’s nowhere near as bad as what allegedly happened to New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. In a complaint filed with the Postmaster General, Stefanik’s attorneys claim that postal workers ripped open packages destined for her campaign offices during this year’s election, stealing as much as $20,000 in campaign donations and exposing hundreds of donors to potential identity theft or fraud. Photographic evidence of the destroyed packages was provided, but the USPS doesn’t seem to have made any progress in tracking down the thieves. (Daily Wire)
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik alleged Friday that Post Office workers stole as much as $20,000 in donations to her campaign.
In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, lawyers for Stefanik claimed that postal workers ripped open and stole the contents of multiple packages containing donations for Stefanik’s re-election campaign. The mailings were allegedly stolen on four separate occasions, and three of the incidents happened in the span of a week. Not only were thousands of dollars allegedly stolen, the lawyers allege that the thefts have exposed campaign donors to identity theft and fraud.
“On four separate occasions between June 2022 and November 2022, packages sent by Elise for Congress containing campaign contributions were ripped open and the contents stolen while in the custody of USPS or its contractors,” the lawyers alleged in the letter. “Three of these incidents occurred in a single week.”
You can view photos of the damaged packages in this article in the New York Post. There are a number of things about this story that are curious, to say the least.
In the final stretch of an election, thieves might easily realize that people would be sending contributions to a political campaign and if you know what office most of them are being sent to, you might be able to target the applicable post office and intercept them. But what would be the point? Certainly there are few people these days who would stuff cash in an envelope and mail it to a candidate. Pretty much all of the contributions would be in the form of checks and money orders, right? It seems like it would be very difficult to cash them.
Of course, if these were people looking to commit identity theft, if you can get hold of someone’s personal check you would have their bank account number and probably a copy of their signature as well. I suppose that would be useful in attempting some sort of fraud of that type. But the damaged packages being described by Stefanik’s attorneys still had checks in them that had been ripped in half.
Could there be some other motivation besides greed involved? People opposing Stefanik’s reelection might want to prevent contributions from coming in, I suppose. But from the sound of the description being given, they really didn’t put much of a dent in her fundraising. And that idea sounds dangerously close to conspiracy theory territory anyway.
The final question that crossed my mind is how anyone is so sure that it was postal employees who did this. It’s claimed that the damaged packages were recovered by the US Postal Inspection Service at a post office in Memphis, New York. But couldn’t someone else have ransacked the mail and left the damaged material behind? It’s being implied that the thefts and damage took place while the mail was “in the custody” of the USPS, so it likely makes the security of the mail their responsibility, but that doesn’t mean it was a postal worker who did the deed. It likely wouldn’t be very difficult to identify which mail carrier had the packages, and that would be a great way to lose your job and probably go to jail if you were caught.
In any event, I wonder how much of this has been going on around election time. If people send in a check to a candidate and the cleared check is never returned, would they notice? And if they did, how many of them would report that fact? Perhaps the Postmaster General needs to launch some sort of an audit to find out if this phenomenon is more common than we might imagine.