The CEO of the Democratic National Committee resigned on Monday, Jan. 29, joining a wave of officials who are leaving or being ousted from the organization as it struggles to raise funds and deals with a Senate investigation of its involvement with the discredited anti-Trump dossier.
Jess O’Connell took the helm at the DNC less than a year ago in May, according to NBC. At the time, the organization was in disarray after a devastating loss to President Donald Trump, accusations of favoritism toward Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and the hacking of its servers, among other issues.
In November, the DNC fired its top fundraiser, Emily Mellencamp Smith, just five months into her position, Politico reported. In October, the DNC pushed aside four veteran operatives from the top ranks, according to NBC News.
The shakeup at the DNC follows a year of lackluster fundraising. The DNC was outpaced by the Republican National Committee by more than 2-to-1 from January to September last year. The DNC raised $51 million, while the RNC raised $104 during that period.
“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 told NBC in a statement regarding her resignation.
“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,” she added, referring to the DNC’s elected chairman.
O’Connell was in charge of investigating a sexual harassment complaint from a Hillary Clinton staffer against Burns Strider, New York Times reported. O’Connell recommended that Strider be fired after the investigation, but Clinton chose to shield Strider.
The DNC is also one of the parties of interest in a Senate investigation. Earlier this week, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) demanded that the DNC answer a range of questions regarding its involvement with the discredited Fusion GPS anti-Trump dossier.
The dossier was used, at least in part, to apply for a surveillance warrant to spy on Trump associate Carter Page, New York Times reported. Clinton and the DNC paid Fusion GPS to create the dossier at the same time as Fusion GPS received money from the Russian government.
The dossier is reportedly part of a controversial House Intelligence Committee memo on politically charged government surveillance abuses by the Obama administration. The committee voted on Monday to make the report available to the public. The document’s release is pending Trump’s approval and is being reviewed at the White House today, Bloomberg reported.
Lawmakers who have viewed the contents of the House memo described it as “worse than Watergate” and likened it to a “palace coup.”