House Democrats are heading into the 2022 election cycle with a campaign chairman who has a long track record of backing the left-wing policies that experts blame for the rise in crime across the country.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.), who has chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) since January, has a record of backing progressive policies such as an end to cash bail. He also staffs his office with anti-police activists.
In cities across America, violent crime rates are more than doubling. Last year, murder rose by 65 percent in Chicago, 58 percent in New York, 87 percent in Louisville, and 64 percent in Minneapolis.
Republicans are putting Democrats' support for soft-on-crime policies and defunding the police center stage as they seek to gain control of both houses of Congress in 15 months. While some Democrats blamed their poor down-ballot results in the 2020 election on the "defund the police" movement, prominent Democratic lawmakers continue to embrace the radical movement, providing an easy target for Republicans.
During his failed 2018 campaign for New York attorney general, Maloney backed eliminating cash bail months before the state voted to do so in 2019 and implemented the policy in 2020. When asked during a primary debate if he supported ending cash bail, Maloney said, "Absolutely, and I'd make it a top priority."
A study by the Manhattan Institute found that "after enacting a sweeping bail reform, New York lawmakers have drawn the ire of constituents who are troubled by the many stories of repeat and serious offenders—some with violent criminal histories—being returned to the street following their arrests."
"Within a month of taking effect, New York's bail reform led to the release of a number of dangerous defendants, many of whom were later rearrested for offenses committed while awaiting the disposition of their cases," the Manhattan Institute's Rafael Mangual wrote in an analysis of the policy.
Republicans point to Maloney's support for eliminating cash bail as evidence of his being out of touch with voters. "The DCCC Chairman's long history of supporting criminals over police embodies House Democrats' anti-police agenda. It'll cost them their majority in 2022," Rep. Tom Emmer (Minn.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon.
While Maloney has yet to fully embrace the defund movement himself, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough attacked him this year for the Democrats' inability to convey effective messaging on law enforcement. "You all did such a damn poor job of answering that, such a poor job of answering socialism questions, such a poor job about answering cancel culture questions," Scarborough said.
Maloney's DCCC is also staffed with anti-law enforcement activists. Maloney this year hired Erica Joy Baker as chief technology officer. "I hate the police," Baker tweeted in 2016. Baker's social media history includes multiple instances of "fuck 12," slang for "fuck the police," and a comparison of police officers to a "modern day slave patrol."
Maloney's DCCC staffing threatens to harm his political standing in his Hudson Valley district. Jimmy McMonagle, the president of Maloney's local Fraternal Order of Police, criticized the congressman for what he called a "pattern of anti-police hiring."
"This pattern of anti-police hiring by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney is offensive and unacceptable," McMonagle said in March. "The Hudson Valley is a place where law enforcement is supported and saluted especially since so many cops live here. Our Congressman should remember who he represents and put our district and local cops first instead of turning his back on them." Maloney won his most recent bid for reelection by 12 points, but Republicans view him as a top target in next year's midterms.
The DCCC and Maloney did not respond to requests for comment.
House Republican Conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) said that President Joe Biden and Democrats own the "harmful policies to defund the police" implemented by progressive Democrats around the country.
"Make no mistake, this is President Biden's Crime Crisis, and he must take responsibility for Democrats' harmful policies to defund the police," Stefanik said. "The numbers don't lie, and since President Biden took office, crime across America has been surging."
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) blamed Maloney and other Democrats' policies for skyrocketing crime in New York City.
Cotton said at an event hosted by the Manhattan Institute that "pro-riot, anti-cop" Democrats turned the criminal justice system into a "criminal's justice system" and that the blame for the crime surge lies squarely at the president's feet. The Biden administration, Cotton said, is quickly becoming "the most pro-crime administration in history."
Several cities "have undermined our cash bail system, with predictable consequences," Cotton said. New York City criminals released without bail committed around 800 crimes, including rape, robbery, and murder.