DNC Begins Housecleaning

Three weeks after the 2002 elections and following the end of the lame-duck congressional session, the Democratic National Committee is making major staff changes.

Sources said Thursday that 25 to 30 percent of the DNC staff will be let go between now and the first few weeks of January.

The communications department will essentially be stripped clean, the sources said. The communications director, press secretary, Latino director, special media director and numerous other staff are being let go.

The political division is also being cut down, though four or five staffers will stay on in a transitional role.

Officials say part of the decision is budgetary. Since the new campaign finance laws have kicked in, the party is of the mind that there is inadequate money around for payroll.

Officials say part of it is natural downsizing after an election.

Finally, they note that now that Democratic politicking will focus on the 2004 presidential race, many of the message jobs that are handled by the party during a midterm election will now be undertaken by the presidential candidates and their press shops.

For all the explanations however, DNC staffers acknowledge that this is undeniably the beginning of the fallout from the 2002 election in which Republicans bucked history and gained seats in the House and Senate and maintained their governorships.