Opposition to Keith Ellison’s bid to be the next chairman of the DNC is growing. Two of Ellison’s newest critics are Tom Perez, secretary of labor, and DNC member and California superdelegate, Bob Mulholland. President Obama recently praised Perez in a press conference shortly after his labor secretary announced his plans to challenge Ellison for the job as DNC chair.
“Tom Perez has been, I believe, one of the best secretaries of labor in our history,” Obama said. “If you look at his body of work on behalf of working people, what he’s pushed for in terms of making sure that workers get a fair deal, decent wages, better benefits, that their safety is protected on the job, he has been extraordinary.”
Obama praised Perez while also saying he will not be voting for the next DNC chair. Less than a week after Obama’s comments, The Hill quoted Mulholland calling Ellison a tax cheat who isn’t qualified to be the next DNC chair.
“If Ellison were running as a Republican, Democrats would attack him as a tax cheat, so I have no idea why Washington insiders are urging the grassroots to elect another insider,” Mulholland said. “If you can’t drive or pay taxes, you can’t organize your life, so I concluded early on that he can’t organize for this job.”
Mulholland’s referring to unpaid traffic tickets that led to Ellison’s license being suspended. Ellison’s then-wife, Kim Ellison, accepted responsibility for the unpaid tickets accrued during his first run for the House in 2006 when she served as her husband’s campaign treasurer. Keith and Kim Ellison separated in 2010.
Mulholland was a staunch Clinton supporter during the primaries and wrote an open letter to Bernie Sanders, who was one of the first politicians to endorse Ellison to be the next DNC Chair. Mulholland was furious over the reports of Sanders supporters fervently reaching out to superdelegates ahead of the convention hoping to convince them to change their votes.
“Us active Democrats enjoy healthy discussions and debates at meetings, Caucuses and Conventions but it is unacceptable for us to get harassing communications from bullies. As a Clinton supporter, I have not received harassing phone calls but it does appear women DNC Members are getting the brunt of the threats.”
Mulholland has also been accused of using political tricks to get Green Party voters to register as Democrats. In 1991, the Baltimore Sun reported that Mulholland was the political director of the California Democratic Party when the party sent 15,000 first-class postcards to Green Party voters. The cards that were unreceived would be returned to the sender suggesting the residents had moved and their voter registration could potentially be declared invalid. Another controversial tactic occurred when voters would try to register in person.
“When some people stopped at Democratic voter registration tables, checked ‘other,’ and registered Green, the Democrats sent their cards back and asked them to change their minds and register Democrat.
‘It was illegal,’ Mr. Jan said of the Greens. ‘We notified the Secretary of State, who sent us back a letter from the Democrats’ political director, who promised never to do it again.'”
Ellison is currently the front-runner to be the next DNC Chair. He has received congressional endorsements from Sanders supporters like Raul Grijalva and Tulsi Gabbard, a former DNC vice chair, and several of Hillary Clinton supporters, including Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, John Lewis, and many others.
Ellison has pledged to leave his congressional seat if chosen to be the next DNC chair.
“In order to further their commitment and maximize my effectiveness, I have decided to resign as a member of Congress if I win the election for DNC chair,” Ellison said in a statement. “Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising. I will be ‘all-in’ to meet the challenge.”
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/ Getty Images]