Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison recently nominated a new list of corporate lobbyists to join the DNC including some who work to influence political decisions on behalf of Comcast, Facebook, and Google. The list has some wondering if Harrison is becoming the swamp’s new man in Washington, D.C.
DNC members were not allowed input on a slate of 75 nominees to serve as at-large members. Since Harrison put them forth, the nominees were all but guaranteed entry.
Harrison’s picks for new at-large DNC members include corporate lobbyists, consultants, executives, and partners at firms that represent the fossil fuel industry, pharmaceutical companies, electric utilities and defense contractors, as well as senior employees with Facebook, Pepsi, and Softbank, Sludge reported. Sludge is an independent, nonprofit news outlet that does investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics.
Harrison was the state party chairman in South Carolina before taking over as head of the national DNC organization on Jan. 21. Himself a former corporate lobbyist and U.S. Senate candidate, Harrison was Biden’s choice to lead the national party.
Some DMC members have called for more transparency over the at-large-member nomination process. “This is supposed to be an election—there should be notices that go out with enough time for there to be a genuine democracy around these positions and for people to be able to run, and that just isn’t happening,” said David Atkins, a pro-transparency DNC member from California. “It’s an election in name only, but in reality, we’re being presented with a slate of appointments.”
The lists of at-large nominees are not posted on the Democratic Party website or its verified social media accounts, and there is no official party website listing all 447 DNC members.
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Harrison has come under attack for this lobbyist past. In 2020, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham attacked Harrison when the Dem was running against Graham for his Senate seat. The South Carolina Republican’s reelection campaign ran a TV ad attacking Harrison’s lobbyist past, Politico reported.
“Harrison made a fortune lobbying for the Podesta Group, founded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman,” the ad’s narrator said. “At Podesta, Harrison lobbied for a hedge fund that foreclosed on the homes of Katrina victims. Democrat Jamie Harrison. High-paid. Liberal. Lobbyist. Wrong for South Carolina.”