On Friday, The New York Times became the latest mainstream media organ to note the allegedly abusive behavior Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has displayed toward her staff, joining The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed News.
The Times began by citing a story about an aide who had gotten a salad for Klobuchar but lost the requisite eating utensils in an airport terminal, prompting Klobuchar to truculently eat the salad with a comb she pulled from her bag, then tell the aide to clean the comb.
The Times said it interviewed roughly 25 former staff members of Klobuchar’s and perused internal emails; many of the aides claimed working for Klobuchar was dehumanizing. Former aides also said Klobuchar would impede the chances for them to find another job, even speaking with her employees’ prospective employer to inhibit the chances for a new job.
According to the Times, the turnover under Klobuchar has been enormous; the Times wrote:
For years, Ms. Klobuchar has had among the highest rates of staff turnover in the Senate, according to a review of congressional offices from the website LegiStorm. Over much of her Senate career, no one outpaced Ms. Klobuchar on this score; in 2017, two freshman senators, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, surpassed her.
The Times said many of the aides who were interviewed said that before they left the staff, they saved emails from Klobuchar in case they needed to prove her pattern of abusive behavior.
The Times noted, “She was known to throw office objects in frustration, including binders and phones, in the direction of aides, they said. Low-level employees were asked to perform duties they described as demeaning, like washing her dishes or other cleaning — a possible violation of Senate ethics rules, according to veterans of the chamber.”
Members of Klobuchar’s staff said if they took paid leave they were required to remain with the office three times as much time as they had taken off.
Huffington Post reported on February 8, “Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s mistreatment of her office staff began more than a decade ago and eventually caused such concerns that in 2015, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) spoke to her privately and told her to change her behavior.”
The same day, Buzzfeed reported, “ … behind the doors of her Washington, DC, office, the Minnesota Democrat ran a workplace controlled by fear, anger, and shame, according to interviews with eight former staffers, one that many employees found intolerably cruel. She demeaned and berated her staff almost daily, subjecting them to bouts of explosive rage and regular humiliation within the office, according to interviews and dozens of emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News.”
One former staffer told Buzzfeed, “I’ve always been taught that your true character shows in how you treat those with less power than you, especially behind closed doors. The way Sen. Klobuchar behaves in private with her staff is very different than when she’s in the public eye, and that kind of cruelty shouldn’t be acceptable for anyone.”