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Bustos shakes up staff during DCCC turmoil

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Washington Examiner

Five more Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffers were ousted yesterday just hours after the sudden resignation of executive director Allison Jaslow. The DCCC has been reportedly plagued with controversy over a perceived lack of diversity among its top ranks.

Jaslow, an Iraqi War veteran, was considered a close ally of DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos. She did not offer a specific reason for her departure yesterday. By the end of the day, communications director Jared Smith, communications aide Melissa Miller, political director Molly Ritner, deputy executive director Nick Pancrazio, and diversity director Van Ornelas had all tendered their resignations.

Top members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus have reportedly been fighting with Bustos over the lack of diversity, demanding more minorities comprise the senior staff of the committee. Meanwhile, an aide who came under fire for a series of past homophobic and racist tweets, Tayhlor Coleman, is still employed by the DCCC.

As the Washington Examiner reported yesterday, spokesperson for the Republican Party’s campaign arm Michael McAdams said, “Mutiny underway at Cheri Bustos’ DCCC. What a disaster for House Democrats.” Present figures, however, show the DCCC currently out-fundraising the GOP.

* Bustos statement

“Today has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid, but I can say confidently that we are taking the first steps toward putting 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,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., the chairwoman, said in a statement.

* Politico

The staff turmoil follows criticism from many Democrats that Bustos has done little to address the lack of diversity in the upper ranks of the campaign arm since winning the chairmanship late last year.

Bustos also rankled some Democrats by routinely saying she was out to “finally” build a “world class” DCCC — which was perceived as a slight to the previous chairman, Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, who helped lead the party back to the majority after eight years out of power.

And lawmakers felt misled about Bustos’ handling of Tayhlor Coleman, a DCCC employee who came under fire for a series of derogatory tweets she sent nearly a decade ago disparaging the LGBTQ community and Hispanics. Coleman is still employed with the campaign arm.

A staff turnover of this magnitude seven months into the Democrats’ majority is jarring, and will present Bustos with a set of new challenges. She will be forced to rebuild the committee’s top leadership from scratch in the middle of a presidential campaign that has much of the party’s best talent tied up.

Bustos is, indeed, under a microscope. Democrats across the Capitol have privately griped about what they see as a subpar campaign committee with a chairwoman unresponsive to members’ concerns, and unable or unwilling to live up to her own promises to hire a diverse staff.


  1. - TeacherMan - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:08 am:

    The Democrats eating their own? Has the world turned topsy-turvy?

  2. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    one of the comments heard was “the top staffer has to be a person of color.” the Dems have damaged themselves by driving out the staffer with the military background.

  3. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    Walk away, Cheri. You can’t save this off-the-rails situation from itself.

  4. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    “One of the comments heard was ‘the top staffer has to be a person of color.’ the Dems have damaged themselves by driving out the staffer with the military background.”

    If you’re willing to look, non-white veterans aren’t hard to find.

    – MrJM

  5. - dbk - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    The DCCC’s lack of diversity is certainly one issue, but I suspect the en masse resignations are also an indication of discord within the party itself.

    For an analysis of this internal conflict, see for example

  6. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    but does it have to be a person of color? I get that the party’s support base percentage wise is different than the demographics of the country. but come on.

  7. - Interested - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    Here for all to see is a grade A, bottom class lesson in political cowardice.

  8. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    @dbk, that article has lots of quotes from Matt Taibbi so I have zero trust in those comments. I have no idea how he’s allowed to write after his massive misogyny years ago as he described a part of Hillary Clinton’s body as rusted. jerk.

  9. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:09 am:

    Not ready for prime time, Cheri. And you’re not going to get a lot of top tier staff people back in the mix until some of the people running for president fizzle out. Yikes!

    And with her lily white band of loyalists, Bustos has now been backed into a corner and has to pick a person of color. Had she had actually followed through on her promises and actually had a diverse senior staff, this wouldn’t be a problem.

  10. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    Were the ousted staff ineffectual or simply the wrong color?

  11. - dbk - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 3:37 pm:


    I understand and sympathize with your stance. I feel the same about some journalists myself …

    However, the larger point of the piece (which was not by Taibbi) holds: Bustos will not be able to adjust to the progressive uprising in her party.

    I say this as an admiring constituent of Il-17, btw.

  12. - Downstater - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:06 pm:

    The DCCC also has the same structural problems now, above and beyond the diversity issues, that it has had for years. Changing the leadership every few years has not been a good recipe. They parachute in young staffers with little experience to Districts they have often never been in, who arrogantly
    and bluntly refuse the assistance of locals who could be helpful, assuming like DC types do that “locals” aren’t as smart as them. Said staff are often the relative or friend of someone influential with the new Congressman or Congresswoman or their click of consultants. Many a good staffer and consultant has been let go thru the years because they weren’t part of the new in crowd. That “system” and/or process is unproductive, regardless of these current issues with Bustos.

  13. - Free Pass Bustos - Wednesday, Jul 31, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    Maybe she just “misspoke” again?

    How many free passes does she get?

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 31, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    ===How many free passes does she get? ===


    Dude, that article was from five years ago. Have you seen this?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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