Sanders Supporters Slams DNC for Appointing Clinton Loyalists to Convention Committees

Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-VT) supporters and some Democratic National Committee (DNC) members are expressing their anger over DNC Chairman Tom Perez list of appointments for the standing committees that will oversee the rules and party platform at this year’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

Among those on the list is former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who was nominated to the Rules Committee. Former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, a critic of Sanders, was nominated to be co-chairman of the Rules Committee.

Sanders national co-chair Nina Turner blasted the establishment-leaning list, calling it “an embarrassment” and a “slap in the face.”

“It’s very disappointing to see Chairman Perez build a list of this magnitude. It also shows a lack of understanding about what the grassroots asked for post the 2016 election,” Turner said in an interview to a progressive channel Status Coup on Monday. “It is an embarrassment. The DNC should be ashamed of itself. It really is a slap in the face to folks who were asking for reform.”

Turner pointed back to the 2016 presidential race, when leaked emails showed DNC staff members criticized and mocked Senator Sanders during the primary campaign against Clinton, even though the organization publicly insisted that it was going to remain neutral in the primary

“If the DNC believes that it’s going to get away in 2020 with what it did in 2016, it has another thing coming,” Turner said.

The Sanders campaign unsuccessfully sought to have Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and former Mass. Rep. Barney Frank booted from their positions as co-chairs of the Standing Rules Committee and Standing Platform Committee in 2016, describing the pair as an “aggressive attack surrogate for the Clinton campaign.” The DNC dismiss Sanders request, stating his reasoning “do not meet the necessary criteria under the committee rules for taking such a step.”

Former Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, called the party out for “stacking the DNC committees with Never-Bernie corporate Dem elites.”

Over the weekend, the DNC’s executive committee voted to appoint Perez’s nominations, with only a small portion of the appointees are Sanders supporters, including Larry Cohen, who founded the pro-Sanders outside group Our Revolution. The DNC determines its committee chair and members by looking for policy experts to help shape the platform or for experienced Democratic hands who know their way around party bylaws to assist in the rules and credentialing process. 

“Our rules require the DNC chair to make a small fraction of appointments to three standing committees for the convention, and these appointments reflect the rich diversity of our party,” said DNC national press secretary Brandon Gassaway. “The remaining appointments will be made based on each state’s election results. 2016 presidential preference was not considered for this convention’s appointments. We are grateful for these appointees’ commitment to the party and look forward to an energized convention where we will nominate the next president of the United States.”

Some DNC critics pointed out the list has too many corporate lobbyists, which is out of step with the grassroots base. DNC members from California sent a letter to Perez on Sunday asking that paid employees or consultants to the presidential campaigns be excluded from the rules committee.

Other critics complained about the lack of transparency regarding the appointments prior to the weekend vote, referring to it as “midnight convention committee picks.”

“The subject of transparency and notice has been broached in the past with Chairman Perez in open meetings of the full DNC,” said Terry Tucker, a DNC member from Colorado and a Sanders supporter. “Lack of transparency and input from the members continues to be a source of irritation.”

This year’s Democratic National Convention, where the party will pick its presidential and vice presidential nominees, is set for July 13 to 16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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