Just three days after an emergency all-staff meeting to address the growing “chaos” within the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) over what some minority Democrats deemed the leadership’s lack of “diversity” and having “shortchanged people of color,” the executive director, Iraq War veteran Allison Jaslow, abruptly resigned.
As reported by Politico Monday, a growing number of minority Democrats have begun to express outrage over the lack of people of color among the senior ranks of the DCCC. In an emergency meeting Friday, tensions boiled over and Jaslow ended up bearing the brunt of a lot of the ire. During the meeting, Politico reports, Jaslow “cried as she assumed blame for the lack of diversity in the DCCC, according to multiple people in the room.”
In a statement to Politico after the meeting, two minority congresswomen expressly called for Jaslow to be replaced. “The DCCC is now in complete chaos,” Texas Reps. Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela told Politico. “The single most immediate action that Cheri Bustos can take to restore confidence in the organization and to promote diversity is to appoint a qualified person of color, of which there are many, as executive director at once.”
Appointing a person of color to the executive directorship, of course, would require removing Jaslow. With pressure mounting, Bustos made an “unplanned trip” to Washington, D.C. on Monday to address the “diversity” crisis.
“Chairwoman Bustos is coming back because she understands how important it is for her to hear from staff directly and to reassure them that we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion at every level,” a committee spokesman told Politico on Monday. “She plans to approve changes to the structure before she leaves town and wants to get staff input as we work to build a stronger DCCC and make sure our team, from senior leadership on down, reflects the full range of diversity that gives the Democratic Party its strength.”
One of the “changes to the structure” of the committee appears to be encouraging Jaslow to step down, as demanded by Gonzalez and Vela.
In another emergency all-staff meeting Monday, Jaslow announced her immediate resignation. In a statement posted online, Jaslow said that, as she learned while serving in the military, “sometimes selfless service means having the courage to take a bow for the sake of the mission — especially when the stakes are so high.”
Jaslow’s resignation has been followed by a series of others. Politico reported Tuesday that “much of the senior staff” has since resigned, including “Jared Smith, the communications director and another Bustos ally; Melissa Miller, a top DCCC communications aide; Molly Ritner, political director; Nick Pancrazio, deputy executive director; and Van Ornelas, the DCCC’s director of diversity.”
Among the complaints raised by critics was the committee’s handling of a staffer who posted online ten years ago what they deemed offensive comments about LGBT people.