- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Black campaign workers are paid noticeably less than their white counterparts —and the disparity is especially egregious when the paychecks are being signed by Democrats, versus Republicans, a new report found.

The New Organizing Institute reported the good news for Democrats — that the party’s federal campaigns are generally more diverse than those of Republicans.

“Republican campaigns have more pronounced disparities both in gender and racial/ethnic representation among campaign staff, 54.2 percent of all staff on Republican federal-level campaigns are white men, compared to 32.4 percent on Democratic races,” NOI reported in its study.

Yet Democrats don’t pay so well, it seems.

NOI went on: “African-American staffers on Democratic federal-level campaigns are paid 70 cents on the dollar compared to their white counterparts; Hispanics are paid 68 cents on the dollar. Women on campaigns are also paid less than men … 95 cents on the dollar. Interestingly, although the proportions of staff are more skewed towards white men on Republican campaigns, the income disparities are more pronounced on Democratic campaigns.”

Another study by PowerPAC+, a Democratic donation bigwig, also found that less than 2 percent of Democratic campaign spending in the last two election cycles went to businesses and firms that were owned by minorities, The Daily Beast reported.

One political operative, Michael Gomez Daly, decided to put these findings to the test.

He described himself for one campaign as a “very light-skinned Hispanic,” and got hired as a field director tasked with reaching out to the Latino community, The Daily Beast reported. On another campaign, he just used his first and last name, “Michael Daly,” and didn’t identify as Hispanic, he said, The Daily Beast reported.

“I just came in as ‘Michael Daly,’ instead of ‘that Latino operative,’” he said, The Daily Beast reported. “Right off the bat, they offered me twice the amount for the same job.”

Other minorities seeking campaign positions said they’ve learned to be careful about how they identify themselves to their Democratic bosses.

“It was pretty clear to me early on that you can get put in a box pretty quickly,” said Sujata Tejwani, president of the Democratic firm, Sujata Strategies, in The Daily Beast. “You get offers for jobs: African-American outreach, Asian-American outreach. Oftentimes when you start doing that work, it’s hard to get out of it.”

NOI reported that one possible reason for the lower pay for minorities was that they serve in roles that don’t generally require high skill and so don’t provide top pay — such as in the field.

“Most minority staffers get hired in campaigns in field jobs, and field jobs pay less,” said one Democratic political operative, Jamal Simmons, in The Daily Beast. “The problem is they don’t hire African Americans, Latinos in the parts of the campaigns where they spend the most money. The most money in campaigns is spent in communications, polling and data. In those parts of the campaign, it’s very much mostly white.”




• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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