‘Today, I recognize that, at times, I have fallen short in leading these talented individuals…’
At least six of the top staffers at the DCCC quit suddenly, after a tense meeting on Monday over “deep unease” with the committee’s lack of diversity.
The staffers were: Executive Director Allison Jaslow, Communications Director Jared Smith, top communications aide Melissa Miller, political director Molly Ritner, Deputy Executive Director Nick Pancrazio and Director of Diversity Van Ornelas.
“Today has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, the chair of the committee, said in a statement.
“But 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,” she added.
Both Democratic-run caucuses were “furious” with Bustos for excluding minority staffers from top positions in the DCCC. In an attempt to appease the other committees, Bustos likely fired most of her top staff.
“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 said.
Bustos has been under the microscope for a while. Many congressional Democrats have described her as an unresponsive campaign chairwoman who doesn’t share the same concerns as the rest of the party.
“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 Monday night. “I will work tirelessly to ensure that our staff is truly inclusive.”
Jaslow, the DCCC’s former executive director, said the meeting on Monday was “very emotional” and admitted she shared some of the blame for not doing enough to diversify the upper ranks of the DCCC.
“When I was in eighth grade, I decided that my life would be dedicated to serving my country,” Jaslow said in a statement.
“I did that first in uniform but since have tried to be a force of good in our politics,” she said. “And sometimes selfless service means having the courage to take a bow for the sake of the mission—especially when the stakes are so high.”