The Democratic National Committee has suffered yet another major setback - losing its CEO after just eight months on the job amid a massive cash crunch, the loss of a major donor, the leaking of emails which revealed rampant corruption throughout the DNC, and the still-unsolved murder of IT staffer Seth Rich.
Veteran Democrat operative Jess O'Connell left her post as CEO for personal reasons after taking on the role last May according to one DNC official, however no official reason has been given to DNC staffers.
"Rebuilding the party will take time. While it isn't an easy task, we developed a strategy, we implemented it, and we won races up and down the ballot in 2017," O’Connell said in a statement to NBC.
"While I've made the decision to pass the baton, our work remains far from over and under Tom Perez's leadership and direction, our party will continue to build on the progress we've made in 2017,” O'Connell continued.
Not so much according to Politico's Beatrice-Elizabeth Peterson:
New: Jess O'Connell, CEO of the Democratic National Committee is resigning after being at the DNC for under a year. A source of mine described current the situation in the DNC as "chaos."— Beatrice-Elizabeth Peterson (@MissBeaE) January 30, 2018
Perez immediately began the search for a new CEO after thanking O'Connell.
"Jess O'Connell joined the DNC at a time when our party needed it the most," Perez said in a statement. "She helped build our 'Every Zip Code Counts' strategy, oversaw unprecedented programming and support for state parties and campaigns, renewed our focus on data and technology, and helped lead us to 100+ victories in elections all across the country in 2017. Jess laid the groundwork for an infrastructure to win in 2018, 2020 and beyond." -NBC
O'Connell's departure comes just months after the DNC fired finance director Emily Mellencamp Smith following a horrendous run of poor fundraising in 2017, resulting in the lowest donations to the DNC in a non-election year since 2007.
The committee’s slow fundraising has been a serious problem for the party since the 2016 election. Skeptical donors have stayed away from the DNC, while giving more to individual candidates and other committees. -Politico
And more recently, Billionaire DNC megadonor Tom Steyer - the former hedge fund manager behind a recent media campaign to impeach Donald Trump, announced that he will immediately stop all funding to the DNC following the DACA vote.
“I don’t have a litmus test on any one thing, but I do have a litmus test for elected officials standing on principle and doing the right thing, looked at holistically," Steyer told Fortune last Thursday, adding "I want to say that after the DACA vote, I have decided not to give anything to the national party committees."
Steyer went off on both Republicans and Democrats two weeks ago after a House vote on articles of impeachment garnered a paltry 66 votes.
"This vote is not a reflection of whether or not Trump has passed the threshold for impeachment, which he did months ago," Steyer said Friday in a press statement after the vote. "It is a failure by members of Congress to do what’s right to keep the American people safe."
And because Steyer has cut off the DNC, it doesn't mean he won't continue to donate money to individual candidates and other liberal causes.
As we reported throughout 2017, the DNC has been in a serious cash crunch. After spending a truly obscene amount of money on the Georgia special election last June, money that was proven to be completely wasted after Jon Ossoff was destroyed by Karen Handel, the DNC's balance sheet was left a little deflated. Of course, spending $22 million dollars for a seat where candidates usually spend about $1 million each tends to take a toll on your political war chest.
The loss left the DNC with a paltry $7.5mm of cash and $3.3mm of debt at the end of June. By the end of November, cash on hand had dropped to $6.3 million, however perhaps they used some of it to pay down their debt - which dropped approximately $700,000 to $2.6 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.
With midterm elections coming up later this year, much less the 2020 push for the White House, one has to wonder if the floundering DNC can get its act together amid dismal fundraising, bailing megadonors, and a terrible game of executive musical chairs.