Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is the incoming senate minority leader, was a real-life Scrooge this year as he reportedly fired almost all of the employees in the Senate Democrats’ internal video department Friday.
Incoming Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer cleaned house last week in the Senate Democrats’ internal video department, firing nearly all its employees amid plans to revamp the unit with a new digital operation aimed at creating viral social media content.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) informed the employees of the Senate Democratic Media Center of their dismissal on Friday, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Several people in the unit had been with the in-house video production operation for years; goodbye emails obtained by POLITICO were from staffers who worked in the Senate for 29 years and 20 years, respectively.
More than a half-dozen people were fired, sources said; according to LegiStorm, the media center has eight employees.
Historically, the media center has been used by senators to craft videos for their constituents in their home states. But with the Democratic National Committee in some turmoil until a new chairman is selected and the party losing the White House, the 48-member Democratic minority views itself as the party’s chief messaging arm next year, according to a Democratic leadership aide.
And that will require a new staff for the low-profile media center, the aide said.
“It’s incumbent on us to create some of the more creative, buzzy, viral content,” the Democrat leadership aide explained. “The current, existing DMC wasn’t built to do that.”
“On Friday, December 16, 2016, my colleagues and I in the Senate Democratic Media Center were informed by the incoming Democratic Leaders office that our services were no longer needed,” a staffer wrote in one of the emails.
Another Democrat familiar with the new plans claimed that the operation will add “new ideas and perspectives to add capacity for high-quality, rapid response digital content that speaks to people and families and that can be used by Senate Democrats.”
Some new staffers have already been hired by Schumer’s team in an effort to have the operation fully staffed by January to deal with the big issues on the way, such as the potential repeal of Obamacare and battles in Congress over cabinet and judicial confirmations.
A senior Democrat aide noted that it was “very unusual” for new leadership to clean house like this so close to the holidays.