DCCC Chair Dodges Multiple Times on Whether Ocasio-Cortez Is Good For the Democratic Caucus

January 12, 2020

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) in a Sunday interview dodged multiple questions as to whether Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) is good for the Democratic caucus.

Asked by CNN anchor Victor Blackwell if Ocasio-Cortez is "good for the Democratic caucus in the House," Bustos offered that "she has a lot of followers. I have respect for her. She brings a new voice to Congress." Pressed by Blackwell, Bustos added, "We've got members from all different spectrums. I respect her, and she brings a new voice. I think that's always welcome."

Angling for an answer to the same question, Blackwell brought up Ocasio-Cortez's fundraising prowess, noting that in the last quarter she outraised even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).

"I'm asking the chairwoman of the DCCC if this member, who is right now in the top ten of House members raising money, if she's good for the caucus. You can't give me a straight yes or no," Blackwell said.

"Look, I have respect for all 235 of the Democrats in our caucus. She is bringing a new voice. The fact that she has raised unbelievable amounts of money and the fact that she just announced she's willing to help our candidates who need—who could benefit with that financial help. That's welcomed," Bustos said.

"I'm trying to get to a simple answer. And I took four passes each at two questions. I didn't get there," Blackwell said.

Bustos's comments are just the latest contribution to the controversy surrounding Ocasio-Cortez's unwillingness to fork over the $250,000 in dues expected of all House Democrats. Responding to news of her nonpayment, several House Democrats publicly said they were angry about the freshman Democrats's refusal to pay up. The self-proclaimed democratic socialist in turn defended her choice, saying her move was a protest against the DCCC's policy of blacklisting any organization that helps primary opponents opposing Democratic incumbents.

The fundraising kerfuffle is not Ocasio-Cortez's only recent clash with fellow Democrats. In an interview with New York magazine, she criticized the party for being "too big of a tent" and said that she did not belong in the same party as former vice president Joe Biden.