The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is in "full-blown turmoil," according to a THE POLITICO report published Monday. Things are so bad that DCCC chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) is making an unscheduled trip to Washington, D.C., in an effort to calm tensions and respond to criticism from black and Latino lawmakers over a perceived lack of diversity in the organization's senior staff positions.
In addition to the mounting outcry from critics, Bustos's staff has suffered an exodus of sorts, with several seniors aides, including her chief of staff, departing in recent months. Now some Democrats are demanding Bustos fire another top aide, DCCC executive director Allison Jaslow, and replace her with a non-white candidate.
"The DCCC is now in complete chaos," Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D., Texas) and Filemon Vela (D., Texas) said in a statement to THE POLITICO. "The single most immediate action that Cheri Bustos can take to restore confidence in the organization and to promote diversity is to appoint a qualified person of color, of which there are many, as executive director at once."
In response to the criticism, Bustos has agreed to participate in a DCCC diversity and inclusion training session that was previously intended for lower-level staff members. "Chairwoman Bustos is coming back [to Washington] because she understands how important it is for her to hear from staff directly and to reassure them that we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion at every level," said DCCC spokesman Jared Smith.
The campaign committee held an emergency all-staff meeting on Friday, reportedly a "very emotional" affair during which Jaslow cried liberal tears as she accepted responsibility to the DCCC's lack of diversity. Some employees were also upset about how the organization handled the promotion of Tayhlor Coleman, the new director of cycle engagement. A Washington Free Beacon investigation uncovered a series of homophobic and racially insensitive tweets from Coleman, which were subsequently deleted following a request for comment.
A number of top Democrats have defended Coleman, and declined to call for her firing, but have suggested she be transferred to a different role where she would not be involved in the organization's minority outreach strategy.