Several minority Democrat organizations are upset with the Democrat power structure because more minority-owned consultants are not being hired to help candidates and party officials win elections.
“The chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, members of the Democracy Alliance major liberal donor club and a grand dame of Democratic operatives,” Politico writes, “are among those pressuring the deepest pocketed organs of the party to send more work to political consulting firms owned by minorities.”
That “grand dame” the political news site was referring to is none other than Clinton operative Donna Brazile. She and a handful of other representatives of Democrat minorities are attempting to force the Democrat power structure to re-shuffle consultants they have hired and get away from an entrenched and predominantly white class of operatives.
Like Brazile, Ohio Democrat Representative Marcia Fudge has reportedly been needling the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee to hire more minority consultant groups.
Fudge, who is also chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told Politico, “We’ve met and repeatedly requested the DCCC’s diversity goals in writing and have yet to receive them. It is clear to me they have no desire to address this issue.”
Brazile, who has served as a conduit through which many African American-owned lobbyists, consultants, and activist groups have gained contracts with Democrats, also piled on. She said, “It is rather disturbing that women owned and minority owned (firms), along with GLBT and others may not have as much access as needed to help these candidates.”
Deep-pocketed Democrat donor Steve Phillips, a multi-million dollar donor to Obama and other Democrats, was also reportedly upset that the powers that be haven’t paid more minority operatives out of the $760 million spent on national politics last year.
Phillips made comments about his frustration at a secretive meeting of the Democracy Alliance. Sources say by expanding the hiring of minority consultants, he hoped to tap into their expertise on how to get more votes from their community.
But even with all this handwringing and fears that minorities are being frozen out of the consulting game, Politico reports, there isn’t any actual hard data to confirm that Democrats aren’t hiring a “fair” number of minority-owned consultants.
To find out where minority companies stand with Party spending, Phillips is funding an audit of top Democrat committees to see where their consulting money is going.
Still, the Democrat National Committee, the Democrat Senate Campaign Committee, and other major Democrat organizations insist that they already do work to ensure that plenty of minorities get business.
But some are criticizing these Democrat organizations for what they say is a method of playing loose with the definition of “minority.”
African American Democrats are complaining that these top player political groups have unduly expanded the definition of “minority” by adding handicapped owners, white women, and gay-owned consultant groups and categorizing them as “minorities,” a practice that some African Americans are calling the exploitation of a “loophole.”
“There is no more loyal group of voters to the DNC than black people, and yet they have done nothing to ensure that that constituency is able to participate fully in the economic benefits of party business,” one disgruntled African American political operative recently told Huffington Post.
Another anonymous former DNC member, who now works as a consultant himself, told HuffPo that it all makes him rather suspicious. “But all the way over to the most nefarious, maybe they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes to hide what they don’t want people to see, that there are not sufficient contracts. So, maybe they came up with this alternate definition,” he said.
Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) claimed that Democrat officials want to continue to hide who they hire as consultants because those consultants return kickbacks for contracts. Clyburn added that those consultants are mostly white people.
Reverend Jesse Jackson also criticized the big Democrat committees, saying their hiring practice is a “moral issue.”
“The Democratic Party must represent the values of inclusive democracy, of inclusion. They must set the pace,” Jackson said. “Unless you do that you lose the moral authority to challenge Republicans.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.