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Warren campaign fires top staffer after investigating complaints of 'inappropriate behavior'

The Massachusetts senator's 2020 campaign said the investigation was conducted by outside counsel and declined to elaborate on the nature of the complaints.
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren at a rally in San Diego
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren at a rally in San Diego on Oct. 3, 2019.Mike Blake / Reuters

LOS ANGELES — Sen. Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign fired its national organizing director, Rich McDaniel, after an investigation into "multiple complaints regarding inappropriate behavior," the campaign said Friday.

“Over the past two weeks, senior campaign leadership received multiple complaints regarding inappropriate behavior by Rich McDaniel," campaign communications director Kristen Orthman said in a statement. "Over the same time period, the campaign retained outside counsel to conduct an investigation."

Based on the results of that investigation, the campaign found that "he could not be a part of the campaign moving forward."

News of McDaniels' firing was first reported by Politico.

Orthman declined to elaborate on the specific nature of the complaints.

In a text message, McDaniel confirmed to NBC News that he was no longer with the campaign.

"I would never intentionally engage in any behavior inconsistent with the campaign or my own values. If others feel that I have, I understand it is important to listen even when you disagree. I wish the campaign and my colleagues well," he said in a statement.

McDaniel was an early — and highly touted — hire for Warren's 2020 team. He previously worked on Doug Jones' underdog Alabama Senate race in 2017 as Jones’s political director, and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

After a campaign stop in Los Angeles Friday, Warren addressed the situation, saying that, "It is really hard for anyone to come forward with a complaint or with a concern and the people who did that showed incredible courage and I am deeply grateful to them."

"When I first set up this campaign, we put in place a procedure to deal with problems and in this case we followed that procedure, we resolved the issue in a very short period of time and I stand by the process that we put in place," she said. "I don't have anything else to say about this specific case but I do want to use this as an opportunity to say employers all across this country need to have processes in place so that people who have complaints, who have concerns, can bring them forward without fear that they will be discriminated against or penalized going forward."