Well, we have more tales from the crypt concerning Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and her alleged abuse of staffers. Reportedly, these stories are bad, so bad that three people bolted when the Minnesota Democrat approached them to run her 2020 campaign. She has high turnover rates concerning staff and Klobuchar admits that she had pushed staff too hard and can be tough at times. Then, there are former staffers who give glowing anecdotes of their time serving the senator. Some have noted the sexist angle to stories like these since only female lawmakers get reported on how terrible they treat their aides…allegedly. Well, we have some fresh ones that The New York Times found. One of which involved an aide having to clean off a comb that Klobuchar had used to eat a salad. She was also allegedly paranoid that she had an office mole and she made aides do tasks that possibly ran afoul of ethics rules. Her maternity leave policy was also something that was rather…odd [emphasis mine]:
Senator Amy Klobuchar was hungry, forkless and losing patience.
An aide, joining her on a trip to South Carolina in 2008, had procured a salad for his boss while hauling their bags through an airport terminal. But once onboard, he delivered the grim news: He had fumbled the plastic eating utensils before reaching the gate, and the crew did not have any forks on such a short flight.
What happened next was typical: Ms. Klobuchar berated her aide instantly for the slip-up. What happened after that was not: She pulled a comb from her bag and began eating the salad with it, according to four people familiar with the episode.
Then she handed the comb to her staff member with a directive: Clean it.
As Ms. Klobuchar joins the 2020 presidential race, many of these former aides say she was not just demanding but often dehumanizing — not merely a tough boss in a capital full of them but the steward of a work environment colored by volatility, highhandedness and distrust.
The senator feared sabotage from her own team: In an email, she once raised the prospect of an in-house mole. She and her top confidantes could complicate the future job opportunities of some staff members who sought to leave, former aides said, sometimes speaking to their would-be employers to register her displeasure. And Ms. Klobuchar frequently suggested that her aides were preventing her from greater standing in Washington and beyond, former staff members said.
“We are becoming a joke,” she wrote in one email about the contents of her Twitter feed, “and it is making me a joke.
Most of those interviewed for this article — describing memories that span from shortly after her election in 2006 to the much more recent past — discussed their time with Ms. Klobuchar on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal from the senator. These concerns were not idle, they said. Saving potentially damaging emails from Ms. Klobuchar became something of a last-day ritual, the aides said, in case they ever needed evidence of her conduct for their own reputational protection.
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.
…her office’s paid parental leave policy has been described as unusual on Capitol Hill. Two people familiar with the policy said that those who took paid leave were effectively required, once they returned, to remain with the office for three times as many weeks as they had been gone. The policy, outlined in an employee handbook, called for those who left anyway to pay back money earned during the weeks they were on leave.
After receiving questions about the policy from The Times, Ms. Klobuchar’s office said it would be revised. “We offer 12 weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave for our staff and have one of the strongest paid leave policies in the Senate,” said a spokeswoman, Elana Ross. “We’ve never made staff pay back any of their leave and will be changing that language in the handbook.” She declined to provide a copy of the current policy as written.
But of course, as this story and others like it have said, there will always be a loyal cohort who admit to being chewed out by the senator but have nothing but positive things to say about their tenure on her staff. It still doesn’t really debunk entirely the allegation that Klobuchar could very well be a nightmare to work with, but that goes for any job. Some times you can get a horrible boss. Admittedly, I feel lucky; the only bosses who hated me were a bunch of nuns who definitely would have fired me from their summer ice cream/food shack at the Jersey Shore if I hadn’t found a better gig busing tables for a pancake house (that boss was fine and I made a ton of money). But hey, there’s a hilarious movie about this whole aspect of the workplace starring Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, and Kevin Spacey pre-sexual assault charge.
Now, all that said, it seems Klobuchar doesn’t have the temperament to hold higher office being so volatile, something that was highlighted during the appalling character assassination attempt against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. These are their rules, folks. I’m just making sure they follow them. Oh, and did we forget to mention that there’s a rumor she forced an aide to shave her legs. Yeah, it’s out there; HBO’s Veep even mentioned it.