Pascrell, other members of Congress, denied entry to Daniels Postal Facility in Kearny

A postal facility here in Kearny has suddenly been thrust into the national spotlight thanks to U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9.

Pascrell was in Kearny Monday, Oct. 19, and he was livid, because as a sitting member of Congress, he has the right to oversee what’s happening inside postal facilities — but he’s been blocked from doing so by Postal officials here in Kearny — and it’s likely the order has come down straight from Washington, D.C.

Visiting a major postal facility, Pascrell, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7, and Albio Sires, D-8, furiously assailed the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) refusal to allow them as members of Congress to enter and inspect the Dominic V. Daniels Processing and Distribution Center, Kearny, to assess USPS’s ability to carry out New Jersey’s ongoing all-vote-by-mail election.

Members of Congress often visit Postal facilities with unfettered access — but for some reason, their doing so now is a problem.

“The refusal of USPS officials to allow us to inspect the Daniels facility is a disgrace and it is completely illegal,” Pascrell, one of Congress’s most vocal Post Office proponents, said. “I visited this same facility weeks before the 2018 midterms and now they’re making up phony excuses to keep us out now.

“It has all the markings of Louis DeJoy, who should be hauled before a criminal grand jury for what he’s done. This isn’t Area 51 (a highly classified U.S. Air Force facility) — our Congressional delegation must have access to see if USPS can handle the millions of ballots being cast this election. And New Jerseyans have a right to know if their votes are secure. This isn’t politics. It’s about protecting our democracy from Trump and DeJoy’s arson.”

Malinowski is equally perturbed.

“The independent Office of the Special Counsel made it very clear that members of Congress should not be impeded from visiting federal facilities to conduct congressionally mandated oversight,” Malinowski said. “For months, we have been blocked from doing our job to ensure that the USPS is ready for this election. Today’s continued refusal is unacceptable, and Postmaster General DeJoy must be held accountable for his repeated attempts to disrupt mail-in-voting.”

Sires isn’t too pleased, either.

“The decision by USPS to refuse access to the Dominick V. Daniels Processing and Distribution Center in Kearny is deeply troubling,” Sires said. “The USPS taking active steps to deny entry to this facility is a perfect example of why my colleagues and I wanted to run an inspection. Ahead of the November election, when a record number of ballots are set to be sent by mail, it is crucial we ensure the integrity and ability of the postal service to faithfully and securely transfer these ballots. Our congressional delegation should be granted access to the facility so we can be certain that the ballots of New Jerseyans’ are being processed correctly.”

On Sept. 30, Pascrell led members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation in a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy demanding an emergency visit to the Daniels Center in Kearny and requesting information on USPS’s ability to carry out New Jersey’s all vote-by-mail general election.

North Jersey has been plagued by reports of mail found discarded and undelivered.

On Oct. 4, mail bound for West Orange was discovered in a dumpster in North Arlington.

On April 25, mail, including ballots for municipal elections, was discovered dumped in several apartment building lobbies across Belleville. 

On May 5, stacks of ballots were similarly left strewn across the floor of apartment lobbies in Paterson.

Since this crisis began, Pascrell says he’s been aggressively demanding accountability.

On May 21, Pascrell wrote to USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb demanding an investigation of turmoil at the USPS, purportedly stemming from a pattern of interference engineered by the Trump administration in its efforts to destabilize the post office.

On Aug. 12, he again called on Whitcomb to probe postal turmoil. After soliciting responses from constituents, Pascrell released a slate of stories from North Jersey residents in the 9th District describing the impact of vicious vandalism against USPS.

And on Oct. 7, Pascrell, Sires and U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11, called for the USPS Inspector General to open a new probe into the habitually abandoned mail in North Jersey, as well as of USPS brass’ illegal blocking of congressional access to postal facilities.

On Aug. 14, Pascrell became the first member of Congress to call for DeJoy and the president to be investigated by a state criminal grand jury for what they described as “their arsoning the Post Office,” by making a criminal referral to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal alleging the president and DeJoy are subverting state elections.

Calls to the USPS seeking comment were not returned.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.