It has been something of a nightmarish week for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). First, former DNC head Donna Brazile revealed in her book that Hillary Clinton effectively bought the DNC before the primary by assuming its towering debts in exchange for control over critical parts of the organization. In addition to the emails showing the DNC favoring Clinton, the book seems to confirm that Clinton and her allies took over key financial decisions for the DNC before the primary. The deal would show that a variety of Democratic leaders, including most notably Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, openly misled the public in the primary. The disclosure in the book came right after the DNC moved to push out Sanders supporters and bring back Clinton allies into key positions last month.
While this scandal was brewing this week, an email surfaced showing that a DNC official told staff not to share employment opportunities with straight white men — a clear effort to discriminate in access to job opportunities. I (and many others) tried to get the DNC to confirm the email. The DNC has largely stonewalled all inquiries beyond a belated and ambiguous statement.
What is astonishing is that this email recommends clearly unlawful discrimination in advertising and hiring, but the DNC refused to respond to numerous inquiries and still has yet to give a definitive answer on the controversy.
The controversy began with Data Services Manager Madeleine Leader announcing eight job titles within the DNC’s technology department.
As you may have heard, we are rebuilding the Technology Team into a robust well-oiled machine that can tackle all elections from the Presidential down to Dog Catcher and School Board. What’s more important is that we are focused on hiring an[d] maintaining a staff of diverse voices and life experiences, something that we desperately need if we hope to secure the future of our country.
We are building a distributed Tech Team so most of our positions can be based wherever you happen to live. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns and feel free to forward on to your contacts. I personally would prefer that you not forward to cisgender straight white males, since they’re already in the majority.
The “preference” to exclude people due to their sexuality, gender, and race is discriminatory and unlawful. The concern was that the DNC might have fostered an environment where such discrimination is not just tolerated but supported. What Leader did that was so notable was to be so open and express on such a policy. If the DNC wanted to dispel all such concerns, it certainly did not convey it in its belated response. Rather than denouncing Leader’s discriminatory preference and removing her from her position, the DNC went into a complete bunker mode and then issued this statement:
The email in question was not authorized by the DNC nor was it authorized by senior leadership. All hiring decisions at the DNC are made consistent with the DNC’s commitment to equal employment opportunity and hiring an inclusive and talented staff that reflects the coalition of the Democratic Party, because our diversity is our greatest strength.
What? The “email in question” was issued to announce a DNC position by the DNC Data Services Manager. More importantly, the statement does not expressly denounce the notion that employees would be hired according to their sexuality or gender or race rather than simply their skills and record. Indeed, their manager preferred not to received applications from white heterosexual males.
If the email was not official and did not reflect DNC policy, one would have expected the suspension of the author pending review of possible termination. Instead, the DNC offered this boilerplate response that failed to clearly repudiate the staffer or her message.
If the DNC is wondering why it is having a bad period, it needs only to look at how it continues to handle such controversies.