Top DCCC Staffers Quit Amid Growing Concerns over ‘Diversity’

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., speaks during the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has been under intense pressure amid growing concerns over diversity that saw top staffers resign Monday after those conflicts boiled over into the public arena.

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) has been facing complaints from Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus members who have been unhappy with the lack of minority representation within the DCCC.

“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,” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) said. “It is shocking, it is shocking, and something needs to be done about it.”

Bustos flew back to Washington D.C.  to hold an emergency meeting to address the internal strife within the organization. Tensions boiled over, and DCCC executive director Allison Jaslow quit during the meeting.

Politico reported:

At the beginning of the meeting, Jaslow resigned and left the session immediately. The meeting — which was described by several sources as spirited and pointed — lasted more than an hour and a half.

“When I was in eighth grade, I decided that my life would be dedicated to serving my country. I did that first in uniform but since have tried to be a force of good in our politics,” Jaslow, an Iraq War veteran, said in a statement later. “And sometimes selfless service means having the courage to take a bow for the sake of the mission — especially when the stakes are so high.”

Tensions continued to boil over, and the domino effect continued:

And in the next 10 hours, much of the senior staff was out: Jared Smith, the communications director and another Bustos ally; Melissa Miller, a top DCCC communications aide; Molly Ritner, political director; Nick Pancrazio, deputy executive director; and Van Ornelas, the DCCC’s director of diversity.

Jacqui Newman, the chief operating officer for the campaign arm, will serve as interim executive director and facilitate the search for a permanent replacement, Bustos said in a statement late Monday.

According to the Hill, one lawmaker called Monday evening’s mass shakeup a “Monday Night Massacre.”

“Cheri campaigned as all things to all people, telling blue dogs one thing, telling progressives another. So inevitably once in office she would disappoint them,” the lawmaker added.

Bustos said that it was a “sobering day filled with tough conversations” and promised to put the DCCC “back on path to protect and expand our majority, with a staff that truly reflects the diversity of our Democratic caucus and our party.”

The high tensions within the DCCC mirror the bigger power struggle between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the far-left members of the “Squad” – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) – who aim to move the Democrat Party farther left in terms of ideology and self-imposed racial-based quotas. However, moderate Democrats worry that the extreme left-wing flank will alienate moderate voters and cost them crucial elections.

This was not the first time Bustos has faced criticism for being too “moderate.”

As Breitbart News 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.

Bustos did not respond to Politico‘s request for comment.

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