Being a slow news Sunday in December, I decided to read a longer piece in Politico that I’ve had in an open tab for a few days, Inside the turmoil roiling No Labels’ unity ticket presidential campaign because it is always a good time to kick No-Labels founder Traitor Joe Lieberman in the ol’ oompa-loompas.
Let’s skip the ridiculousness of a Unity Ticket 2024 Goat Rodeo for the moment, though it definitely deserves some spitballing. Anyway it seems that No Labels is having a grand Me-Too moment, with all the usual lechery and treachery.
Interviews with 14 former employees—including five who left in the last few months—and four other people familiar with No Labels reveals a cutthroat culture, one where staffers are routinely fired or pushed out, have little trust in management, and believe the workplace environment can be difficult for minority and female colleagues.
The internal discord threatens to hamper the well-financed plans that the group has for the next election. Former aides say that staff turnover and bad relations with management make executing on projects more difficult. One former employee said she suffered a panic attack under the intense pressure from her superiors. These staffers add that the image No Labels projects of an institution striving to reform the country’s rigidly partisan political system hides what one former aide said is a “toxic” culture.
Shocked, I am, that Traitor Joe’s No Labels is a terrible employer. And he seems to know it:
Management at No Labels is aware of the staff concerns and complaints. And they have taken steps to stop them from spilling into public view.
[No Labels co-executive director Margaret White] said employees have to sign an NDA as part of their onboarding at the organization. And in an apparent effort to combat negative stories that have occasionally made their way into the media, No Labels paid $135,000 to a company called Reputation Defender that helps clients get better Google search results and moves negative pages lower, according to its 990 form from 2020. [Co-executive director Liz Morrison] declined to comment on why No Labels hired that company.
Top No Labels leaders said they have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment. They pointed to an incident in late 2019, when a male member of Congress touched a female employee’s lower back when talking to her at a No Labels breakfast event at the Mayflower Hotel. The employee expressed discomfort to Morrison.
“We immediately reported this to the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus and immediately contacted that member to make clear in no uncertain terms that this behavior was unacceptable and would not be tolerated by this organization or anyone associated with it,” Morrison said. She did not name the member but added that he no longer serves in Congress or has a relationship with No Labels.
But other former staffers had a different read of the fallout from the Mayflower incident. They noted that afterwards, Morrison and White told multiple women on staff to dress more modestly, a request that two employees who received it thought was victim blaming.
Dress more modestly is absolutely the complement to, she had it coming. I imagine the apology from this creep being something like, “I’m sorry that I fell for the wanton wiles of Satan’s handmaiden, this Jezebel…”
Anyway, buried deep in the article is some proof that there is indeed A Club and We Are Not In It:
The hiring of journalist Mark Halperin as a senior communications adviser in April 2021 created turmoil inside the organization. Halperin was accused by multiple women in 2017 of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault — some of which he apologized for and others he denied.
Co-executive director Liz Morrison told POLITICO that No Labels was sensitive to employee concerns after multiple staffers objected to Halperin joining the ranks. But she said Halperin was “incredibly brilliant” and worth hiring. In 2021, Halperin was No Labels’ highest-paid employee, with the organization’s 990 tax form reporting he made nearly $260,000 in total compensation.
No Labels said it has never had a complaint about any employees or contractors engaging in sexual harassment at the group. But one employee POLITICO spoke with expressed discomfort at having to work alongside Halperin and two others criticized management’s handling of the situation.
A former employee said that staffers were told by their bosses they could ask Halperin about the accusations on an introductory Zoom call. The forum became “very weird,” according to a person who was on the call. “What am I going to say to this man?”
Halperin did not respond to a request for comment.
I bet not.
A $260K Amero salary to do nothing is a nice gig.
It’s a deeply reported article, and a worthy Sunday read, and as I said at the top: kicking Traitor Joe’s oompa-loompas is always fun.