Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA) has recently come under fire after it was reported her leadership over the Hispanic Congressional Caucus has been called into question due to her tendencies for high turnover rates.
Caucus members are planning to hold a virtual meeting to discuss Barragan's leadership, which could ultimately lead to her ouster as chairwoman, sources told Politico. The news of the meeting comes just days after Barragan fired the group's executive director, Jacky Usyk, just one month after her tenure began.
Barragan has long been considered one of the toughest bosses on Capitol Hill, with her office ranking third for highest turnover rates in the House over the last 20 years, according to Legistorm. However, several other Democrats have garnered headlines for fostering toxic work environments.
The most recent firing of Usyk leaves the HCC without a staff after several other staffers left the caucus under Barragan's leadership. That has prompted widespread concerns among Democratic lawmakers as they enter a Republican-led House that is sure to dive into immigration issues over the next two years.
Other Democrats have faced allegations of being a "bad boss," including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who faced a series of negative headlines in 2021 after staffers reported a "demoralizing" environment in the Arizona senator's office. Several of her staffers have complained in previous years about dealing with massive staff turnover as well as a flood of angry phone calls from constituents, according to reporting from the Daily Beast in 2021.
"It's probably the worst job I've had in my entire life," one staffer told the outlet. "It kind of ruined my aspirations in politics."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has also faced accusations of an unwelcome work environment, particularly as the Minnesota Democrat was running for the presidential nomination in 2020. Several staff members described her as having anger issues, including instances in which she would throw objects or insult her staff, according to reports.
Klobuchar later apologized for her behavior, vowing to do better.
"I'm incredibly proud of the work our staff has done, and I would not be here without amazing staff," she said in March 2019. "I know I can be tough, I know I can push people too hard, and I also know I can do better — and I will."
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Klobuchar currently has the highest turnover rate in the Senate from 2001-2021, according to Legistorm.
Overall, Democrats have had a harder time retaining staff than their GOP counterparts, with House Democrats averaging an 11% higher turnover rate than Republicans, data show. Of the top 10 Senate offices with the highest turnover rates over the last 20 years, six of these are held by Democrats.