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Kucinich Push for Committee Spot Foiled by Race Issues in His Own Office?

A staffer who complained of race problems was placed on paid leave in May. The staffer is still getting a paycheck, and has not worked since then.

by
Patrick Richardson

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November 24, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Whether or not Kucinich was aware of the tensions within his office or not — it seems improbable that he could not be aware of them — it is notable that the troubles were not dealt with in-house and had to be referred to the chairman for final disposition. Indeed, according to the Huffington Post piece, the trouble had been going on for two years:

The tension stretches back at least to March 2008, according to an email reviewed by Huffington Post that was written by then-new staff assistant Charisma Williams. She told the staff director of a separate subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO), that “[t]here seem to be some really shady things going on in here and I’m fearful that if I even casually associate with the wrong person, even for a brief moment of time, that I may be sucked into whatever madness is going on over my head.” (Williams declined to comment.)

Whatever the personnel problems within Kucinich’s office, apparently House Democrats are coming into agreement he is not the man to take on the aggressive presumptive chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).

According to the Politico, Democrat Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY), Elijah Cummings and Chris Van Hollen (MD), John Tierney (MA), William Lacy Clay (MO), Jim Cooper (TN), Gerry Connolly (VA), Danny Davis (IL), Henry Cuellar (TX), Chris Murphy (CT), Peter Welch (VT), and Jackie Speier and Judy Chu (CA) all signed the letter, as well as Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia.

Reps. Stephen Lynch (MA), Mike Quigley (IL), and Marcy Kaptur (OH) chose not to sign the letter. The Congressional Black Caucus has also backed Towns, as has the White house.

PJM had earlier reported that some Democrats were considering whether or not Towns would be up to the challenge of standing up to Issa when Kucinich threw his hat into the ring, attempting to shoulder aside three more senior representatives for the post.

Kucinich has a reputation for outrageous behavior and for alienating members of both parties. In June 2008, Kucinich filed articles of impeachment against then-President George W. Bush. In a 2007 presidential debate on MSNBC, Kucinich said he saw a UFO. He also introduces, almost yearly, a bill to establish a cabinet-level “Department of Peace.”

Whether or not Kucinich knew about the trouble in his office — again, it had been going on for two years so it seems inconceivable he did not know — someone who wishes to have a powerful oversight position should at least be able to handle his own staff before he asks to oversee the United States.

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Patrick Richardson has been a journalist for almost 15 years and an inveterate geek all his life. He blogs regularly at www.otherwheregazette.com, which aims to be like another SF magazine, just not so serious.
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