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Amy Klobuchar faces staffer mistreatment allegations ahead of expected 2020 presidential bid


Staffers allege almost anything could set her off

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Allegations that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) mistreats staffers have emerged just as she is likely to launch her 2020 presidential bid on Sunday.

What are the allegations?

According to published reports, the behavior was allegedly so extreme that former Sen. Minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) once told her to clean up her act.

Klobuchar's reputation as a tough boss to work for saw several potential staffers declining to be considered as managers of her campaign. The development happened after HuffPost reported on Klobuchar's alleged mistreatment of her staff.

In the HuffPost report, staffers alleged that Klobuchar, who was first elected in 2006, was "habitually demeaning and prone to bursts of cruelty." Others said that working for her was a challenge but also had rewards. Some of them even questioned if Klobuchar was subject to "sexist stereotypes" about tough female managers who have high standards.

In turn, Klobuchar's issued a statement praising her staff. She also credited them with helping her become successful.

A campaign spokesperson told HuffPost:

Senator Klobuchar loves her staff. They are the reason she has gotten to where she is today. She has many staff who have been with her for years, including her Chief of Staff and her State Director, who have worked for her for 5 and 7 years respectively, as well as her political advisor Justin Buoen, who has worked for her for 14 years, and many who have gone on to do amazing things, from working in the Obama Administration (over 20 of them) to running for office to even serving as the Agriculture Commissioner for Minnesota. She is proud of them and the work they have done for Minnesota.

But following the HuffPost story, more allegations of a harsh working environment emerged.

Were there other complaints?

BuzzFeed News reported more alleged aggression that sometimes left staffers in tears. One was reportedly hit after a binder was launched into the air.

The news outlet reportedly interviewed eight former staffers who complained of a workplace governed by "fear, anger, and shame." Many employees, the report stated, found the environment "intolerably cruel." Bouts of rage and humiliation happened "almost daily," according to interviews and emails obtained by BuzzFeed.

Almost anything allegedly set her off, from grammar mistakes to using the word "community" in press releases or failing to recharge her iPad, BuzzFeed reported.

"When staffers made mistakes, the emails show, she reamed them out — and sometimes, emails show, threatened to fire them — over threads that included many of their colleagues," according to BuzzFeed's report.

Others shared positive stories. One staffer, for example, said Klobuchar held a baby shower for her and cooked for her family and friends.

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