The PJ Tatler

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee calls staffer 'You stupid motherf#*%@!'

Not just once, in the heat of the moment, which would be bad enough. No, this sounds like it’s a frequently used nickname.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas also hands out nicknames to the people who work for her. The Houston Democrat addressed one of her employees as “you stupid motherf**ker.” And not just once, but “constantly,” recalls the staffer, “like, all the time.”

This is Texas’ most prominent elected Democrat, folks, a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law. The above nugget comes from an overall entertaining look inside Sheila’s world, a world where staff are swapped in and out like Kleenex.

Lee couldn’t keep employees. In her first two years, 19 staffers came and went. Her turnover rate — 180 percent in two years — was the highest of any member of Congress, according to the Capitol Hill weekly Roll Call.

Working for a Congressman or woman tends to pay well and come with lots of perks. That frequency of turnover doesn’t speak well to one’s managerial skills, to put it mildly. And before anyone blames the out-of-school tales on Lee’s gender or race…

Of the onetime employees who spoke with the Press, many were female, and most were black.

…another explanation will have to suffice. Funniest bit of all? Though the “stupid m-f-er” quote is getting play today, all this stuff comes from a 1997 article about Lee. Her imperious, close to crazy behavior has been known for years but outside of one old article, she’s never been held to account for it. I wonder how many more staff she has abused, and what colorful names she has come with to address them, in the 14 years since that article went up.