Justice Democrats, a progressive PAC that helped elect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), launched a new website Thursday aimed at bucking the policy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to protect incumbent Democrats from primary challengers.
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.), the new chairwoman of the DCCC, announced the new policy last month. It bans Democratic consultants from working with primary challengers if they want to continue doing business with the DCCC, and Justice Democrats consider it a "black list."
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"We just launched DCCCBlacklist.com because it's time to stand up to the DCCC's bullying of the progressive movement," Justice Democrats tweeted. "The movement is building a network of alternative infrastructure to help progressive primary candidates like [Ocasio-Cortez] and [Rep. Ayanna Pressley] win their next race."
We just launched https://t.co/gQuUK1RvD3 because it's time to stand up to the DCCC's bullying of the progressive movement. The movement is building a network of alternative infrastructure to help progressive primary candidates like @AOC and @AyannaPressley win their next race.
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) April 4, 2019
"The DCCC is using their financial leverage to intimidate and blacklist many hardworking people in our movement in a blatant attempt to protect a handful of out-of-touch incumbents," the DCCC blacklist website reads. "We’re launching The Blacklist to fight back and provide potential primary challengers with a database of go-to vendors, organizations, and consultants who will continue to support efforts to usher in a new generation of leaders into the Democratic Party."
Some of the groups listed on the website, which aren't abiding by the new DCCC policy, are Think Rubix, Democracy for America, Indivisible, Left Rising, and Working families.
Bustos, the DCCC chief, argues the new policy isn't specifically targeting progressives and that she isn't punishing consultants for their past work with incumbents, but progressives aren't convinced.
Progressive Caucus co-chairs Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) and Pramila Jayapal (D.,Wash), and caucus member Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) met with Bustos last month to voice their opposition against the new policy and demanded that it be reversed, but Bustos said she would not change the policy, according to Politico.
While Bustos hasn't showed signs she will be reversing the policy, Pocan told Politico he believes they are still having an "open conversation" and "there’s more to come" with their conversation.
"Let's be clear. If this policy remains in place, it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge. It's simply wrong," Khanna told the Intercept. "It's also hypocritical for a party that champions strong antitrust. The DCCC is acting as a monopoly by saying that anyone who does business with them can't do business with any competition. It's the classic antitrust violation and an unfair restraint on trade. Many progressives in Congress will fight until this rule is changed. We stand for reform in Congress and reform of the Democratic Party machinery to make sure they prioritize our voters and the grassroots."
Ocasio-Cortez has vocally opposed the new policy on Twitter and has advised small-dollar donors to donate directly to Democratic primary challengers.
"The @DCCC’s new rule to blacklist+boycott anyone who does business w/ primary challengers is extremely divisive & harmful to the party," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "My recommendation, if you’re a small-dollar donor: pause your donations to DCCC & give directly to swing candidates instead."