August 24, 2016

FEELING BERNT:

Bernie Sanders's New Political Group Is Met by Staff Revolt (ALAN RAPPEPORT and YAMICHE ALCINDOR, AUG. 24, 2016, NY Times)

A principal concern among backers of Mr. Sanders, whose condemnation of the campaign finance system was a pillar of his presidential bid, is that the group can draw from the same pool of "dark money" that Mr. Sanders condemned for lacking transparency.

The announcement of the group, which was to be live streamed on Wednesday night, also came as the majority of its staff resigned after the appointment last Monday of Jeff Weaver, Mr. Sanders's former campaign manager, to lead the organization.

Several people familiar with the organization said eight core staff members have stepped down. The group's entire organizing department quit this week, along with people working in digital and data positions.

After the resignations, Mr. Sanders spoke to some who had quit and asked them to reconsider, but the staff members refused. [...]

At the heart of the issue, according to several people who left, was deep distrust of and frustration with Mr. Weaver, whom they accused of wasting money on television advertising during Mr. Sanders's campaign; mismanaging campaign funds by failing to hire staff or effectively target voters; and creating a hostile work environment by threatening to criticize staff members if they quit.

Claire Sandberg, who was the organizing director at Our Revolution and had worked on Mr. Sanders's campaign, said she and others were also concerned about the group's tax status -- as a 501(c)(4) organization it can collect large donations from anonymous sources -- and that a focus by Mr. Weaver on television advertising meant that it would fail to reach many of the young voters who powered Mr. Sanders's campaign and are best reached online.

"I left and others left because we were alarmed that Jeff would mismanage this organization as he mismanaged the campaign," she said, expressing concern that Mr. Weaver would "betray its core purpose by accepting money from billionaires and not remaining grass-roots-funded and plowing that billionaire cash into TV instead of investing it in building a genuine movement."

Far from leading a movement, Bernie will disappear without a trace. He was a moment and the moment failed even among Democrats against a weak rival.


Posted by at August 24, 2016 8:09 PM

  

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