News & Politics

HYPOCRITE: Radical Leftist Congresswoman Abuses and Mistreats Staff, Former Staffers Say

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Controversial Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and the audacious “AOC” make up the “Squad”, but there are always other repugnant radicals vying for acceptance.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal — who boasted about her abortion in the New York Times — is one of those.

A third-term congresswoman from a fringe Seattle district, where Republican candidates barely receive 10 percent of the vote, she has the warped views and hatred to be a part of the “Squad.”  Jayapal is also the first to have a website produce a 4,300-word bombshell report on how she mistreats her staff.

In a nutshell, former Jayapal staffers say her management style is hypocritical. She claims to fight for so-called workers’ rights, but her actions differ from the rhetoric she espouses,

Last November, Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, laid off two staffers without severance, two people confirmed to BuzzFeed News, which published the damning long-form article on Monday night.

In interviews with BuzzFeed, Jayapal is portrayed as someone who “berated staff in front of others, demanded grueling hours, and maintained an office culture marked by constantly changing expectations and little tolerance for error, to the extent that some staffers sought therapy and questioned their careers in public service” because of the awful work-life balance and inconsistent demands.

More than a dozen former staffers during her four-and-half years in Congress describe a “dysfunctional and volatile workplace.”

“I’ve worked in bad environments before, and I have worked in some awful environments before for some awful people. I’ve been colleagues with some awful people,” a former Jayapal staffer said. “I have never worked in a place that has made me so miserable and so not excited for public service as Pramila Jayapal’s office.”

Since her election to the House in November 2016, Jayapal has repeatedly had one of the highest staff turnover rates in Congress. According to her office’s numbers, nine of her 16 staffers started less than a year ago, with five on the payroll more than two years.

“If you’re working for the champion of workers, you would think and hope that’s not the case,” another former staffer said.

In conversations with BuzzFeed, sources said burnout, lack of upward mobility, low pay, and an unsustainable work environment were among the reasons they chose to leave.

“If you were in Jayapal’s office, people were like, ‘You don’t need to say no more’ — like, ‘We understand’ — so there was that reputation,” a staffer explained.

Jayapal’s chief of staff, Lila Pomerance, who is white, played the race card, bemoaning, “Women of color are often unjustly targeted, regularly held to higher standards than their male colleagues, and always put under a sexist microscope.”

BuzzFeed, meanwhile, says it worked over three months confirming accounts with multiple sources, reviewing documents, and contacting staffers from throughout Jayapal’s tenure.

There have been several stories about troubled congressional workplaces in recent years, ranging from sexual to emotional abuse. In earlier 2019, BuzzFeed and others reported that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) regularly demeaned her staff.

While that wasn’t “Minnesota Nice” of Klobuchar, Jayapal seems to be in a different league of hypocrisy with this exposé, considering her positive reputation among the far left and (now apparently phony) public persona.

Related: AOC and The Squad Want to Replace Fed Chair Powell