- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2019

House Democrats’ campaign committee announced it won’t do business with any pollster, consultant or other vendor who works against any incumbent Democrats next year, attempting to pump the brakes on threats from some liberal lawmakers to try to unseat their less-liberal colleagues.

The move infuriated progressive groups who said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was bowing to wealthy donors at the expense of the liberal activists who are providing most of the energy in the party.

The DCCC’s new rules require vendors to promise to use union labor where possible, and to pursue identity diversity by reporting on whether half their leadership is women, racial or ethnic minorities, veterans, disabled or LGBT. But the most controversial part is a demand for unity.

“The core mission of the DCCC is electing House Democrats, which includes supporting and protecting incumbents. To that end, the DCCC will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus,” the committee said.

A spokeswoman said they are working to recruit a diverse group of candidates, and want to make sure the political consultants that get party money are committed to the DCCC’s goals.

“The DCCC is responsible for protecting and growing our House majority, but I also know that we have the ability to set the course for the future of the Democratic Party while we’re doing that,” Alison Jaslow, DCCC Executive Director, said in a statement to The Washington Times.

But the demand for loyalty could hinder campaigns such as those run last year by now-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and now-Rep. Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts. Both unseated 10-term Democrats in primaries.

DCCC wants the Joe Crowleys of the Democratic Party to focus on courting big money donors on Wall St for the party instead of raising money for themselves to fend off a primary,” Waleed Shahid, communications director of Justice Democrats, tweeted on Friday. “Big money attachment is largely what this is about and a major reason why [Ms. Ocasio-Cortez] ran in the first place.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez denounced the decision Friday as a “shame” that will give lobbyists more power in elections.

“The majority of Americans live in safe districts, where [the general] election isn’t competitive,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “By stymieing primaries, you deny most voters their best chance at choosing their representative. We also deny the party the opportunity of training up a future bench, something we badly need.”

Ryan Greenwood, director of Movement Politics for People’s Action, said the DCCC’s decision was a disservice to democracy.

He acknowledged that as an institution, the DCCC focuses on ensuring that Democrats maintain a majority in House by defeating Republicans, but said that has made the committee lose its focus on listening to what voters want.

“People get cynical of politics when it’s just about a politician getting in a job and staying in a job,” he told The Times. “I see an institution that is choosing to, above all, protect its members rather than be accountable to the public.”

A Democratic aide told The Times that the DCCC isn’t stopping anyone from running.

Progressives appear to already eyeing certain primary races, such as Democratic Reps. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, who is pro-life, or Henry Cuellar of Texas.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee sent out a fundraising email Friday after the DCCC’s announcement to raise money for Marie Newman of Illinois and Kara Eastman of Nebraska against their DCCC-backed opponents.

“Even if the DCCC’s self-perceived mission is to support incumbents, sidelining consultants who both want to help elect the next [Ocasio-Cortez] and flip red districts blue hurts Democratic chances to win more seats,” the PCCC said in a statement.

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