We are not talking about one staffer and one incident.
We're talking about the entire senior leadership of his official and campaign operations. Folks who had been with him for over a decade, defending him, fighting for him, working for him. Some left to lesser positions; some to no position at all (in this economy! and right when hundreds of congressional staffers were thrown out of work by the voters - not something done lightly.)
We may not know - we may never know - exactly what happened here. But we know that a lot of good and serious people who had invested their lives and careers in David Wu found the situation untenable.
I'd like to clarify what has gone on in Congressman Wu’s office.
A disclaimer first: though I've worked with Congressman Wu's staff, I've only had fleeting connection with them over the last couple of years. I've asked for this to be posted anonymously purely because this is a world I still have connections in, I have nothing but the deepest respect for the Congressman and his staff. The following information is only what I have read in the papers, I have little personal knowledge to add. I just want to clarify why this is important from what has been reported so far.
Some background: In December 2009, Congressman Wu and his wife divorced, they had two children, one an early teen, the other pre-teen. He also cares for his 88 year-old mother.
The problems seem to have really manifested itself October. However, I imagine that they started earlier. It was obvious that the Congerssman was facing a really hard fight. Despite being a Cook PVI +8 Democratic district, he had a very close battle, so the most stressful time of a campaign was especially stressful for him and the whole campaign. (He ultimately won 55-42, which was small compared to previous years of winning by huge margins of 20% or more).
The Congressman had been acting oddly in the weeks leading up to election night, he had been saying odd things to his staffers, and losing his temper much more often. This is about when also took Oxycodone from a campaign doner. This is a man that was usually very level-headed and treated his staff with respect. By the last week, he was giving increasingly negative speeches at public appearances and pissing off voters, and yelling at people who used to supported him.
The staff was worried enough that they were looking for mental health facilities to check him into. When the staff confronted him for a final time on October 30 (including his psychiatrist), he left the meeting, and later berated his mostly female staff as being "overly emotional." Later, he talked his way through airport security to meet his children who were flying in only to solicit people for votes, this is a huge no-no. That weekend, he later sent really odd emails to his staff including a few in the voice of his children to "cut him some slack, man" (this is when he sent the photograph). I doubt he would have done any of these things if he was in a healthy mental state at the time.
He didn't hold any public events after the October 30 meeting, and the campaign essentially shut down. During a time where the candidate's time is usually packed with events and planned by the minute, he held absolutely no public events until after he won re-election.
In the month after the election, a huge chunk of his staff left, including his chief of staff, scheduler, and his chief pollster/fundraiser.
Now, the Congressman's legislative and campaign staff were close-nit groups and deeply loyal. While many congressional staffers would move between offices, on and off the Hill an average of about 24-30 months, much of the Rep. Wu's staff were there for far longer including a few who had been with him for more than 10 years. His (former) Chief of Staff, Julie Tippen had been with him since he was first elected. This sort of loyalty and longevity in staffers is powerfully rare on the Hill. So the fact that so many people left at the same time is pretty telling that something was up.
He has since acknowldeged and apologized for his ill behavior, including the photograph, emails. However, he just lost his long-time campaign treasurer and named himself treasurer (a very odd occurance). So something strange still seems to be going on, though people do eventually move on. We don't know what is going on and anything I could say would be pure speculation. However, his press secretary has said that they are preparing to do press interviews this week, so we should find out more soon.
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