Executive director of House Democrats' campaign arm resigns; 5 others also leaving

The move follows complaints from Democratic lawmakers that the committee lacks diversity in leadership positions.
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Allison Jaslow became the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in December. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images file

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By Alex Moe and Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Amid growing concerns about the lack of diversity among the senior ranks of House Democrats’ campaign arm, its executive director announced Monday that she was resigning, NBC News has confirmed. Five other top staffers are also leaving.

Allison Jaslow announced her resignation at an all-staff meeting, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the development, and said that it was effective immediately.

According to a report published by Politico on Monday, Jaslow's resignation came as the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, tries to deal with concerns among Democratic lawmakers that the committee isn’t diverse enough in leadership positions.

Bustos, according to the report, flew back to Washington on Monday from her district to deal with the concerns, which come on the first week of the House’s six-week summer recess.

Also leaving are Molly Ritner, political director; Nick Pancrazio, deputy executive director; Jared Smith, communications director; Melissa Miller, communications aide; and Van Ornelas, director of diversity, two House Democratic leadership sources confirmed. Those departures were also reported by Politico Monday.

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Bustos said in a statement Monday night that Jacqueline Newman will replace Jaslow as interim executive director.

"Today has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid, but I can say confidently that we are taking the first steps toward putting the DCCC back on path to protect and expand our majority, with a staff that truly reflects the diversity of our Democratic caucus and our party," Bustos said.

In a weekend statement, Reps. Filemon Vela and Vicente González, both Hispanic and from Texas, had called for Jaslow to step down.

“The DCCC is now in complete chaos,” they said in their joint statement. “The single most immediate action that Cheri Bustos can take to restore confidence in the organization and to promote diversity is to appoint a qualified person of color, of which there are many, as executive director at once. We find the silence of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on this issue to be deafening."

Jaslow had served as the DCCC’s executive director since December, after House Democrats won back control of the House. According to her LinkedIn profile, she previously worked as an independent consultant and as the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

“As I told the team today, they are without a doubt the most talented group of people I’ve ever worked with in my life," Jaslow said in a statement posted on Twitter. "It was an honor and a true privilege to work with them every day and know with confidence that the Democratic House Majority will be protected with their relentless dedication, and under the leadership of Chairwoman Bustos."

Bustos said in Monday night’s statement that "Allison Jaslow is a combat veteran who understands at her core that the mission must always come first, and I’m saddened that I must accept her resignation."

"I am extraordinarily proud of our team at the DCCC, and I am proud to Chair this Committee in the same way I have raised my own family: owning my mistakes, and learning from them, at the same time I celebrate what we have accomplished,” Bustos said.

"Today, I recognize that, at times, I have fallen short in leading these talented individuals. To my colleagues, who I have the upmost respect for, I hear your concerns, and we can and must do better,” Bustos said.