Critics Blast Congress for Lack of Staff Diversity

NFL hiring rule may translate to Capitol Hill
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2009 10:52 AM CDT
Critics Blast Congress for Lack of Staff Diversity
A view of the West Front of the Capitol building in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, where President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn-in next Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Congressional staffs are so overwhelmingly white that Capitol Hill needs its own version of the NFL rule requiring teams hiring a head coach to interview at least one person of color, critics tell the Hill. Frustrated staffers, lobbyists, and aides point out that even though more minorities are being elected, just two Senate chiefs of staff aren’t white. “Given such poor numbers, let’s just acknowledge that there is something broken about this process,” said one lobbyist.

“I don’t think people are out-and-out prejudiced, but there’s a lack of effort,” said Robert Primus, one of only five black House chiefs of staff with white bosses. Something like the Rooney Rule, which forces NFL teams to interview black coaching candidates, might help. Harry Reid has created a diversity officer to help Democratic senators hire minorities, but the House hasn’t followed suit. (Read more affirmative action stories.)

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