The Political Engagement Committee (PEC) of Metro D.C. DSA is comprised of three members of the chapter’s elected Steering Committee as well as two chapter members that are not elected members of the Steering Committee; the majority of the PEC must be women, nonbinary, and/or people of color, and at least one member must reside in each of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The purpose of the PEC is to streamline electoral operations across the chapter and coordinate engagement with candidates and elected officials.
The PEC is also responsible for overseeing the electoral endorsement process and our chapter bylaws set out the following specific task for the committee:
The Political Engagement Committee shall be permitted to issue a recommendation and rationale as a body, to be delivered by its chair or their designee, before or during debates on electoral endorsements and will be allotted additional speaking time if requested to deliver findings from their engagement with the candidate. This recommendation and rationale will be included along with ballots sent to members.
As permitted by our chapter bylaws, the PEC offers the following recommendation and rationale on the matter of Resolution 2022-04-GR01, which has been presented to the General Body and, if approved, would revoke the Metro D.C. DSA endorsement of Brandy Brooks for Montgomery County Council.
Earlier this month, the Political Engagement Committee, along with the Steering Committee, was made aware of credible allegations of sexual harassment by Brandy Brooks towards one of her employees (hereafter referred to as “the employee”) who is a well-known and trusted member of our community. The employee has publicly stated—including at an open meeting of the Steering Committee attended by more than 30 chapter members and in a report published in The Washington Post—that Brooks “harassed them over a period of six months, sending personal text messages late at night and after work hours, expressing romantic and sexual interest on multiple occasions, and pressuring them to have an intimate relationship.”
The now former employee has stated and Brooks has confirmed to The Washington Post that, on January 24, Brooks told the employee that she had “romantic and sexual attraction” toward them and that “at the time that she did not want them to respond because she wasn’t ready to be rejected.” The employee has stated and Brooks has confirmed that, on February 28, “after [the employee] had asked Brooks not to contact them on their days off, Brooks approached [the employee] at the campaign office, saying that they had ‘betrayed her trust.’” The Washington Post article, which is based on reviewed documents and text messages as well as interviews with both the employee and Brooks, also states:
On March 6, after a three-hour conversation [with the employee], Brooks sent them an emotional email saying she “needed you to not let me go.” The following day, Brooks told them that she wasn’t sure they could continue working together.
Besides what has been printed in the news, the employee has on more than one occasion recounted these events before several dozen chapter members and offered documentation to corroborate the veracity of the allegations.
Following these events, the employee filed a complaint with the Brooks campaign on March 14 and the two entered into a mediation process which concluded with the employee leaving the campaign. On March 26, at a meeting with staff and advisers, Brooks read a statement admitting to having sexually harassed the employee on January 24. Brooks has read this statement to her “kitchen cabinet”, respected activists, community organizers, and union leaders in Montgomery County who have been with her campaign since the beginning. Many of these close advisers have resigned from the campaign and are now urging Brooks to drop out of the campaign.
These allegations, which are credible at face value but are also almost entirely corroborated publicly by Brooks, are enough to shatter any sense of trust chapter members had in Brooks respecting the values and principles of DSA and our chapter.
Our chapter’s electoral endorsement is not a right of membership. It has always been understood as a privilege enjoyed by the few who deserve and garner the trust of the membership. It is an indication of the membership’s collective confidence in the person’s good character and leadership skills. When the chapter endorses, it speaks with one voice to say that this person is who we believe should lead us and that they will be a fair and just elected official. This necessarily includes being a good employer. We believe, however, that what we have been made aware of during the last two weeks indicates that Brooks is not deserving of such trust and should not carry the endorsement of the chapter.
The continuation of Brooks’s campaign under the banner of a Metro D.C. DSA endorsement—including the continued use of the chapter’s logo on her campaign literature, lawn signs, website and social media—represents at the very least a risk to the reputation of the chapter and endangers the strategic goals of our organization and the broader movement. More importantly, we can no longer in good conscience confidently vouch for her good character and propriety as an employer and elected official.
Therefore, in accordance with principles and values of our chapter, the Political Engagement Committee recommends that members vote IN FAVOR of Resolution 2022-04-GR01 to revoke the Metro D.C. DSA endorsement of Brandy Brooks for County Council.
Abel A., Carl R., Olivia D., and Sam R.
Political Engagement Committee
Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America
April 21, 2022