As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, upstate Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is supposed to be laser-focused on protecting his colleagues and expanding their numbers in the House of Representatives.
But his four-month tenure has been marked by scandal and stumbles — putting many of his fellow lawmakers on edge as they face an uphill battle for control of the chamber in 2022.
“Members are discouraged with him right now,” said one plugged-in Democratic House staffer. “People would like for him to focus on how to protect vulnerable and moderate members and how do we do incumbency protection when [progressives] are coming after us for seats.”
While the DCCC once strictly refused to work with campaign consultants or political groups linked to progressive challengers, Maloney reversed that rule, allowing cash to flow to organizations that directly threaten mainstream members.
Maloney’s office has been forced to play nearly nonstop defense since he took over in December. Earlier this week Business Insider reported he failed to disclose more than $11,000 in stock sales from last June within the required 30-45 days.
Maloney’s office told The Post it was an “oversight” stemming from an inheritance from the Congressman’s late mother. The cash was noted on Maloney’s disclosure forms this month.
Also this month the DCCC green-lit $5,000 cash infusions from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to vulnerable lawmakers without their permission, prompting several to refuse the money because the progressive Bronx/Queens Congresswoman is a lightning rod for attacks from GOP rivals. At least three Democratic lawmakers either declined the transfers or said they would return the cash, according to Politico.
The DCCC chalked it up to a “miscommunication.”
Maloney’s DCCC also played a role in funding a doomed effort to overturn the state-certified elections results for a Democrat who narrowly lost an Iowa congressional race. Democrat Rita Hart fell six votes short of Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and her legal challenge stretched on until March, even as Dems were blasting the GOP for similar recount efforts.
Maloney’s DCCC has also made questionable staffing decisions. In February he hired Dyjuan Tatro, an ex-con who was once a “triggerman” for the Original Gangsta Killas street gang that brutalized Albany, to serve as a senior advisor for strategic outreach. Tatro served time for shooting two rival gang members in 2006 and also has past convictions for racketeering, the Albany Times Union reported. He also trashed his new bosses. “Biden’s version of police reform: “shoot ‘em in the leg,” Tatro said in one deleted tweet. Kamala Harris has “waged war on black and brown bodies,” he accused in another.
Another DCCC staffer, chief technical officer Erica Joy Baker, has compared police to a “modern day slave patrol.”
“With redistricting, Democrats potentially start this cycle in the hole and where are Sean Patrick Maloney’s recruits to bring Democrats back into the positive column?” asked a person familiar with the committee operations. Redistricting is expected to create a raft of new congressional seats in Republican strongholds like Florida and Texas, while some blue states like New York will lose seats.
Republican operatives, increasingly confident about their chances of taking the House back in 2022, have cheered Maloney’s missteps.
“Sean Patrick Maloney has been great for Republicans’ efforts to retake the majority,” gloated Mike Berg, a spokesman for Maloney’s GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee. “He is constantly hurting his own members.”
The DCCC defended Maloney’s performance.
“Rep. Maloney and House Democrats have been busy passing laws that put checks in bank accounts, shots in arms, and get people back to work. Republicans are spending their days writing racist voting laws, defending violent QAnon mobs, and allowing Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz to disgrace the Congress,” said spokesman Chris Hayden. “The DCCC just closed the books on our best first quarter of fundraising ever, outraising the NRCC and giving us the resources we’ll need to remind voters that every single Republican voted against the American Rescue Plan — which has a 75% approval rating.”