Biden CEA Pick Heather Boushey Criticized by Former Staffer
(Bloomberg) -- Heather Boushey, named by President-elect Joe Biden as a member of his Council of Economic Advisers, was criticized on Tuesday by a former employee who alleged she was pushed out of her job after publishing a blog post that Boushey didn’t like.
Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist, worked at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth that Boushey leads but left the position in October, two months after publishing a viral blog post that claimed racist, sexist and elitist harassment in the economics field.
“I no longer see Heather Boushey as committed to diversity and inclusion,” Sahm wrote in the post published on her blog.
She says she was subject to performance reviews following her initial post, and that Boushey never replied to a request to meet after the essay went viral.
Sahm is a regular contributor for Bloomberg Opinion and writes for the New York Times.
“Heather was not Claudia Sahm’s supervisor,” said CEG spokeswoman Elena Waskey, who noted that Sahm had worked at the Center for less than a year and resigned in early October.
“As a mission-driven organization, Equitable Growth believes in collaboration and respect as part of our core values. Claudia’s version of what transpired in her time at Equitable Growth is not based in fact,” she said.
Boushey did not immediately respond to requests for comment and the Biden transition team had no immediate comment.
Five staff members left Equitable Growth from 2014 to 2015, citing her management as a factor for their resignations. That’s according to an internal Center for American Progress document in 2015 and disclosed in the WikiLeaks hack of the personal email of John Podesta, a founder of CAP and the Center for Equitable Growth. Equitable Growth was started at CAP in 2013.
Sahm, who referenced the Wikileaks disclosure, said her post was not an attack on Boushey but a plea for everyone to live up to a higher standard, and went on to praise her former employer for focusing resources on important issues.
“Heather has helped change the policy conversation and brought more attention to inequality,” Sahm wrote in her blog post. “All that said, diversity and inclusion is a package deal. To make lasting progress, we must talk the talk, and walk the walk.”
The economics profession has recently come under scrutiny from many of its own members for its lack of diversity. Lisa Cook, professor of economics at Michigan State University and a member of the Biden transition team, and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, co-founder of the Sadie Collective, a nonprofit that aims to boost the number of Black women in economics, penned an op-ed in the New York Times last year entitled “It was a mistake for me to choose this field.”
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