Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) reportedly went out of her way to make it as hard as possible for her former staffers to find new jobs.
That’s according to a Tuesday report from Yahoo News about Sen. Klobuchar, who recently threw her hat in the ring in the already crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Yahoo talked to three anonymous former Klobuchar staffers — whose accounts were confirmed by an anonymous “Capitol Hill veteran” — who said their former boss made it her mission to keep them from finding work after leaving her office.
Speaking out could lead to retribution from Klobuchar, should she be able to identify them. She has been known to grow irate at staffers who find work elsewhere, calling their new employers to have the offers rescinded. The practice… was seen as vindictive, mystifying and counterproductive. It was also a sign of how far Klobuchar would go to punish those who she thought betrayed her.
Minnesota’s senior U.S. senator is already dealing with her first major obstacle as a presidential candidate, with former staff describing her as emotionally and even physically abusive. A BuzzFeed report published last week quoted one former staffer who said she “cried, like all the time” due to her boss’s abusive behavior, and described one particular incident in which the senator threw a ring binder, accidentally hitting a staffer.
Earlier this month, HuffPost reported that Sen. Klobuchar was having a particularly difficult time finding someone to manage her presidential campaign due to her reputation, with three candidates for the top job reportedly withdrawing their names from consideration. Ex-staffers told Yahoo that their former boss was known to make a “multi-day affair” out of something as trivial as a small error in an internal document, berate staffers in late-night phone calls long after office hours, and in emails sent in all caps.
“The way she treats staff is disqualifying,” a former staffer said.
In an article published in March of last year, Politico published Legistorm’s rankings of the “worst bosses” in both the House and Senate based on how much staff turnover they had in their own offices between 2001 and 2016. Scores were weighted toward senior-level staff departures, meaning turnover at the director level would affect a lawmaker’s score more than, say, an intern. Among members of the Senate, Klobuchar had the highest turnover rate, making her the “worst boss” in the chamber. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), who is also running for the 2020 Democratic nomination, ranked #8 in the top ten.
However, some former Klobuchar staffers are defending their old boss. Asal Sayas, who was the senator’s director of scheduling for three years, called her “one of the best bosses I’ve had” in an interview with BuzzFeed. Ex-staffer Kali Cruz also sung her old boss’s praises, telling BuzzFeed that when she was pregnant, Klobuchar opened up her home for a baby shower and cooked a meal for her friends.
“Senator Klobuchar loves her staff — they are the reason she has gotten to where she is today. She has many staff who have been with her for years — including her Chief of Staff and her State Director, who have worked for her for 5 and 7 years respectively, as well as her political advisor Justin Buoen, who has worked for her for 14 years,” the Klobuchar campaign told BuzzFeed in a statement. “She is proud of them and the work they have done for Minnesota.”
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.