DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos Under Fire for Alleged Lack of Diversity

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) (C) speaks during a press conference with other Mayor's and House of Representative members calling on US President Donald Trump and Congress to end the shutdown in Washington, DC on January 24, 2019. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty

Members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are clashing with lawmakers over an alleged lack of diversity within the organization.

DCCC Chairwoman, Cheri Bustos (D-IL), is facing criticism from senior Hispanic and black members of Congress who are reportedly unhappy with her personnel decisions and question whether or not she is fulfilling her campaign promises.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) said Bustos’ decision-making has been “shocking” and called on members to take action.

“There is not one person of color — black or brown, that I’m aware of — at any position of authority or decision making in the DCCC. It is shocking, it is shocking, and something needs to be done about it.”

However, Bustos has reportedly asked to meet with Fudge to address the issue, but she refused, citing a lack of seriousness.

“Until they show me they are serious about diversity, there’s no reason for me to meet with them,” she said.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said Bustos’ strategy for Latino outreach “seems to be some 1980s playbook, which doesn’t work anymore.”

However, DCCC communications director Jared Smith countered the accusations. He said, “Anyone seeking to divide our party and stoke infighting between Democrats at a time when Donald Trump is in the White House is undermining our ability to protect the majority.”

A DCCC aide declined to name staff members who identify as a person of color, but stated that “nearly 50 percent of the senior staff identifies as racially diverse,” Politico reported.

In January, Bustos received push back from groups such as the Justice Democrats who said she needs to support more progressive policies.

“We do not support Cheri Bustos as leader of the DCCC,” said spokesman Waleed Shahid. “Bustos has not supported progressive policies like Medicare for All, free college, a Green New Deal, or ending private prisons and immigration detention facilities.”

Justice Democrats also criticized her for receiving campaign funds mostly from corporate political action committees and not small donors, according to USA Today.

Breitbart News reported in March that Bustos said she and her Democrat colleagues do not return home to their districts to discuss impeaching President Trump, but focus on more pressing matters.

She commented:

They’re talking about how we can play a role in helping their families have better lives. How, you know, their kids aren’t faced with this tremendous student loan debt that we’ll be talking about here in Congress later today. You know, they just want to make sure that their families have an opportunity to succeed. This is not something that they obsess about every day back in districts like the one I represent.

Bustos’ congressional website calls her a “Watchdog in Washington,” and states that she is “a relentless advocate for steering the Democratic agenda to address the very real economic challenges millions of Americans struggle with at the kitchen table each night.”

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