The chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee admitted to making mistakes and vowed to “do better” after several senior staffers resigned on Monday.
The staff exodus came on the heels of a report that the committee, whose primary mission is to help Democrats maintain and expand their House majority, was “in chaos” over concerns about hiring and a lack of diversity.
Senior Hispanic and black members of Congress were “furious” with Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), the chair of the DCCC, for elevating loyalists to senior positions and for failing to live up to her campaign promises of promoting diversity, Politico reported last week.
“There is not one person of color — black or brown, that I’m aware of — at any position of authority or decision-making in the DCCC,” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told the outlet. “It is shocking and something needs to be done about it.”
At least half a dozen senior DCCC staffers left their jobs on Monday, Politico reported. They include Allison Jaslow, the executive director and a close ally of Bustos; communications director Jared Smith; and diversity director Van Ornelas.
Following the resignations, Bustos said in a statement that “today has been has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid.”
But, she said, “I can say confidently that we are taking the first steps toward putting the DCCC back on path to protect and expand our majority, with a staff that truly reflects the diversity of our Democratic caucus and our party.”
“Today, I recognize that, at times, I have fallen short in leading these talented individuals. To my colleagues, who I have the upmost respect for, I hear your concerns, and we can and must do better,” Bustos added.
Bustos named DCCC chief operating officer Jacqui Newman as the interim executive director. Newman will lead a group of senior aides in a search for a permanent executive director, Bustos said.
Bustos said she was committed to ensuring that staffing challenges would not impact the DCCC’s mission.
“I have never been more committed to expanding and protecting this majority, while creating a workplace that we can all be proud of,” Bustos said in the statement. “I will work tirelessly to ensure that our staff is truly inclusive.”