A Democratic megadonor and Hillary Clinton adviser who warned about the dangers of wage theft was fined over $168,000 for systematically stealing wages from his employees, Washington, D.C., attorney general Brian Schwalb announced Thursday.
Dana Chasin, an heir of the Rockefeller family fortune who has donated over $1.6 million to Democrats since the late 1990s, misclassified the entire workforce at his advocacy firm, 20/20 Vision, as independent contractors instead of employees, Schwalb said. As part of his penalty, Chasin will have to pay over $118,000 in restitution to 21 current and former employees whom he allegedly deprived of overtime wages and sick leave.
The severity of the allegations shouldn’t be lost on Chasin, who minced no words about the harms posed by worker misclassification in an October 2022 essay supporting a Biden administration proposal to protect employees.
The "rigged gig is finally up," Chasin wrote. "The practice of employee misclassification cannot be allowed to continue, otherwise too many hard-working families will lose out on vital compensation, benefits, and protections that properly classified employees have access to."
But as Chasin lectured the public about the "rigged" gig economy, authorities say he ignored pleas from his own employees to stop depriving them of their due compensation by misclassifying them as contractors.
"My colleagues and I tried to fix this issue internally on multiple occasions, appealing directly to management, but our entreaties were ignored," said former 20/20 Vision economic policy analyst Zachary Tashman. "Unfortunately, wage theft is pervasive throughout every sector of the economy, including political organizations that disguise themselves as progressive."
Chasin has been a fixture in progressive circles for decades. His stepmother, Laura Rockefeller Chasin, was a fourth-generation member of the Rockefeller family, and Chasin’s former employees say he leverages his family’s vast wealth to rub shoulders with powerful Democrats. Prior to launching 20/20 Vision in 2017, Chasin served as an economic policy adviser for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign. He also served in the offices of Sen. John Tester (D., Mont.) and former Sen. Mark Dayton (D., Minn.). Chasin did not respond to a request for comment.
In June, Politico spotted Chasin hobnobbing with Democratic power players at the home of President Joe Biden’s former chief of staff, Ron Klain, who hosted a party in his backyard to support Arizona Democratic congressional candidate Andrei Cherny.
Chasin’s access to progressive powerbrokers is perplexing to some of his former workers. One former 20/20 Vision economic policy analyst called Chasin "one of the [most] infuriating and incompetent people in DC" in a December 2021 post on Glassdoor.
"Dana Chasin has the emotions and social awareness of a 12-year-old who uses his Rockefeller family money to get invited to every Democratic fundraiser event," the former employee wrote. "He yells at staffers for no reason and makes incredibly inappropriate comments, particularly to the female staff members."
Another former staffer said 20/20 Vision was little more than a "glorified blog for one of D.C.’s most forgetful, disorganized, and disrespectful wannabe politicians."
"Dana Chasin relishes the idea of being a Washington insider while actively disturbing and alienating everyone serious in this city," the unnamed former staffer wrote in a Glassdoor review.
Another former 20/20 Vision employee told the Washington Free Beacon the reviews aligned with their experience working for Chasin. The former employee said Chasin self-funds 20/20 Vision and has few, if any, clients.