Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez insisted in February that the party’s top position was a “full-time” gig that deserved “someone committed here for the long haul,” then accepted a part-time teaching job at Brown University a few months later.
Liberal radio host Bill Press called Perez out on the apparent hypocrisy during an interview Tuesday, when the chairman alleged the stint at his Alma matter doubles as a “focus group on the millennial generation.”
“I have to ask you about one other thing, because I’ve heard this from some of my friends on the DNC, that you promised to be a full-time chair and yet you’ve accepted a teaching job at Brown University. Isn’t that contradictory to what you promised?” questioned Press, a former chairman of the California Democratic Party.
“Not at all,” Perez said. “If you look at my schedule, Bill, I’ve been in 25 different locations in the last 30 days. I’m working about 90 hours a week. I go up seven times to Brown University to talk for an hour and a half to students about public service, because that’s where I went to school.”
Perez, elected chairman in February, called on his rival in the race, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, to quit Congress if elected to the post because the Democratic Party is in need of a “dramatic overhaul” that would require his full attention, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
Perez announced six months later that he accepted a one-year senior fellowship at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, where he’s teaching a course called “Governance and Leadership in Challenging Times.” A university announcement contends the course if focused on “effective problem salving for individuals of all political stripes.”
The announcement stated Perez would also attend several public events, and hold office hours and informal lunches with students, according to the news site.
Perez explained to Press that the Brown gig isn’t hypocritical because he’s a super hard worker, plus the insight into some of the nation’s most privileged students is valuable research for the Democratic Party.
“So the week I go up to Brown, I’m working 70 hours a week,” Perez said. “People who know me know I’ve only got one motor and it’s always on fifth gear. And those students have been my focus group on the millennial generation and how we could do a better job of engaging them.
“So I think I’ve gotten more out of it than they’ve given to me,” he said.
Washington Republicans pointed out in September that Perez’s appointment at Brown came just weeks after the Democratic Party posted some of its worst fundraising numbers in a decade.
“The DNC can’t raise money, their ‘Better Deal’ slogan flopped, the Unity Tours were a disaster — and Tom Perez thinks it’s a good time for a side gig?” the Republican National Committee asked, according to Fox News.
The DNC raised $3.8 million in July, compared to a $10.2 million haul for the RNC the same month. The lackluster fundraising started well before Perez took charge in February and continued into the summer as party factions continue to pull at the seams.
“The Democratic Party sill appears divided between the progressive wing, including Sanders loyalists and those who backed Ellison for DNC chairman, and the establishment wing, which backed Clinton in last year’s White House race,” Fox News reports.
“The divide was clearly on display earlier this year during the DNC’s so-called Unity Tour, in which Perez and Ellison appeared on stage amid questions about whether the party should back pro-life candidates.”
Brown University refused to discuss Perez’s pay when questioned by Fox News.
“Beyond position titles and dates of service, we are not at liberty to disclose details related to personnel,” a Brown spokesman said.