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Top Democratic National Committee officials resign in wake of email breach

🕐 3 min read

DENVER — Three top officials at the Democratic National Committee will leave their posts this week amid the controversy over the release of a cache of hacked emails from the committee.

Chief executive Amy Dacey, Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall and Communications Director Luis Miranda will leave the DNC just days after a new leader took the helm.

A trove of nearly 20,000 emails were posted on WikiLeaks last month. They included some emails that raised questions about the faith of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vt., and others that seemed to disparage donors.

The release of the emails sparked a firestorm on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, leading Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation. Longtime Democratic strategist Donna Brazile took over as interim chair immediately after the party’s national convention ended on Friday.

“Thanks in part to the hard work of Amy, Luis, and Brad, the Democratic Party has adopted the most progressive platform in history, has put itself in financial position to win in November, and has begun the important work of investing in state party partnerships,” Brazile said in a statement. “I’m so grateful for their commitment to this cause, and I wish them continued success in the next chapter of their career.”

Officials familiar with the incident have told The Washington Post that Russian government hackers breached the committee, as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The FBI is still investigating and attempting to determine whether emails obtained by Russia were the same ones posted on WikiLeaks.

As the DNC’s chief executive, Dacey was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the party.

After Clinton became the presumptive Democratic nominee in June, she installed new aides at the DNC to manage the coordinated general election campaign, but Dacey was kept on and was given expanded responsibilities.

With the release of the WikiLeaks emails, however, Dacey was implicated in one of the most damaging exchanges, in which Marshall appeared to speculate about how Sanders’s Jewish heritage could be used against him.

Marshall posited that he believes Sanders “is an atheist” and that it could make a difference in the Kentucky and West Virginia primaries. The messages were sent to a group that included Dacey, Miranda and another communications aide, Mark Paustenbach.

“My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist,” Marshall wrote in an email.

Dacey responded: “AMEN”

Brazile announced that she will appoint a “transition” team that would be in place through the general election and until a permanent party chair was announced.

Tom McMahon, a former executive director of the DNC, will rejoin the party to lead the new team. McMahon, who is currently at the consulting firm New Partners, was an architect of former Vermont governor Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy” when Dean was chairman of the DNC. Brandon Davis, who was installed as chief of staff at the DNC in June after Clinton became the presumptive nominee, will take over all aspects of the general election strategy. And longtime Democratic strategist Doug Thornell will come aboard on an interim basis as a senior adviser.

Zezima reported from Washington.

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