The 2020 presidential campaign of former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) has lost two top aides in recent days, according to a report.
Progressive operative Becky Bond, who worked on O’Rourke’s failed U.S. Senate bid against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and her deputy Zack Malitz, have split from the campaign at a time when campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon moves to “professionalize” operations, per BuzzFeed News.
O’Rourke spokesperson Chris Evans said both advisers were “temporary” employee’s of the campaign on a one-month basis but still remain “volunteers”
“They were not only instrumental to the historic Texas Senate race but they agreed to help get us off the ground in this monumental undertaking of running a grassroots campaign for president in every part of the country,” he said. “Becky and Zack remain close friends of the campaign, and true to form, they have already joined our army of grassroots volunteers who are signing up for shifts and committing to electing Beto president.”
Bond told BuzzFeed News of her and Malitz’s exit that it was “time for us to move on to other challenges.”
“Launching a presidential campaign without a big staff or even a campaign manager was no easy feat and it took everyone pitching in,” said Bond. “We’re proud to have been part of the team of deeply dedicated staff and volunteers who nearly pulled off a historic upset in the 2018 Texas Senate race and broke records launching Beto’s campaign for the presidency.”
The departure comes after O’Rourke released ten years of his tax returns Monday, revealing that he and his wife donated only a tiny sliver of their income to charity in 2017. The couple paid roughly $81,000 in taxes in 2017 on an adjusted gross income of around $366,500 and donated only about $1,200 that year, amounting to just one-third of one percent.
O’Rourke was confronted about his less-than-stellar charity givings, prompting one of his campaign’s biggest gaffes since kickoff. When pressed by a University of Virginia student as to why his sister, a recent college graduate, donated more to charity than him, the White House hopeful said his contribution to public service makes up for his lack of donations.
“I’ve served in public office since 2005. I do my best to contribute to the success of my community, of my state, and now, of my country. There are ways that I do this that are measurable and there are ways that I do this that are immeasurable,” O’Rourle said. “There are charities that we donate to that we’ve recorded and itemized, others that we have donated to that we have not.”
“But I’m doing everything that I can right now, spending this time with you — not with our kiddos, not back home in El Paso — because I want to sacrifice everything to make sure that we meet this moment of truth with everything that we’ve got,” he added.
O’Rourke raised $9.4 million in the first 18 days of his campaign for president.