'Klobuchar’s Wrath': Minnesota Senator Once Hit Aide After Throwing Binder

Sen. Amy Klobuchar / Getty
February 8, 2019

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) regularly left employees in tears and at one point hit an aide with a binder after throwing it in anger, according to former staffers who spoke to BuzzFeed News.

The Minnesota senator's former staffers suggest she ran an office "controlled by fear, anger, and shame," BuzzFeed reports. Based on interviews and emails reviewed by BuzzFeed, Klobuchar "demeaned and berated her staff almost daily, subjecting them to bouts of explosive rage and regular humiliation within the office."

Several staffers said employees were frequently left crying due to Klobuchar's anger, which involved yelling, throwing papers, and, in one case, accidentally hitting an employee with a binder.

"I cried. I cried, like, all the time," one former staffer said.

Klobuchar's emails to staffers reveal the nature of her complaints with staff.

In the emails seen by BuzzFeed, often sent between one and four in the morning, Klobuchar regularly berated employees, often in all capital letters, over minor mistakes, misunderstandings, and misplaced commas. Klobuchar, in the emails, which were mostly sent over the past few years, referred to her staff’s work as "the worst in ... years," and "the worst in my life."

When staffers made mistakes, the emails show, she reamed them out — and sometimes, emails show, threatened to fire them — over threads that included many of their colleagues.

A second former staffer said they'd "worked for other tough bosses" but suggested it was different with Klobuchar.

"[I]t’s hard to explain the anxiety that permeates the office. It's an overwhelming sense of panic and not being able to plan. You never knew what was going to come at you. That compounds, and it affects the workplace."

Klobuchar's record with her staff contrasts that of her public image, a third former staffer said.

"The way Sen. Klobuchar behaves in private with her staff is very different than when she’s in the public eye, and that kind of cruelty shouldn't be acceptable for anyone," the staffer said.

HuffPost reported earlier this week that at least three people have withdrawn their names from consideration to run Klobuchar's nascent presidential campaign, in part because of her history of mistreating staff.

The Minnesota senator has consistently had one of the Senate's highest staff turnover rates. From 2001 to 2016, her annual turnover rate of 36 percent was the worst in the Senate. More recent data, which goes up to 2017, places her turnover rate at 35 percent, giving her the third-highest rate over that period.