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Heather Boushey co-worker bemoans appointment as Joe Biden advisor

Joe Biden’s pick for key economic adviser is ‘phenomenally incompetent’ and had ‘frequent episodes of yelling and swearing,’ former staff claim

  • Biden has selected Heather Boushey to be top economic advisor 
  • She is chief executive and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth 
  • Former coworker accused her of damaging careers of people who ‘stand up to her’
  • Former workers called her ‘phenomenally incompetent as a manager’
  • One former coworker shared internal memo from 2015 with other coworkers’ complaints 
  • Council on Economic Advisors are appointed by the president 
  • Person who wrote critical blog post says she was called ‘volatile’ which is a ‘coded reference’ to her bipolar disorder 

President-elect Joe Biden‘s choice to join his council of economic advisors has faced claims from prior coworkers that she is ‘phenomenally incompetent’ as a manager and ‘extremely difficult to work with.’

The accusations are coming from a former coworker, who said it was ‘painful’ to write a blog post about suffering retaliation from one of Biden’s choices to join the CEA, Heather Boushey.

She accuses Boushey of forcing her out of her job after writing an earlier blog post, and left her job in October.  

Boushey helped found the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a think tank where she evidently had run-ins with multiple subordinates.

Council of Economic Advisors nominee Heather Boushey speaks after President-elect Joe Biden (R) announced his economic team. A former colleague accused her of retaliation

Among them was Claudia Sahm, who served on the CEA during the Obama administration, and published a blog post this week claiming Boushey ‘retaliated’ against her during their time working together.

‘I no longer see Heather Boushey as committed to diversity and inclusion,’ she wrote.

She also shared a 2015 internal memo from the Center for American Progress detailing a series of staff complaints against Boushey.

The memo was made available during the hack of former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails. Podesta previously ran the Center for American Progress, which oversaw the think tank.

The memo includes ‘allegations that Heather has difficulty managing staff, appropriately communicating her expectations.’

One coworker said she was ‘erratic in her interactions.’

Another shared ‘frustrations working for Heather.’

Claudia Sahm, former director of macroeconomic policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, published criticism of Boushey online and linked to an internal HR document that got previously leaked

Claudia Sahm, former director of macroeconomic policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, published criticism of Boushey online and linked to an internal HR document that got previously leaked

Sahm said she was glad to hear some colleagues had better experiences with Boushey than she says she did

Sahm said she was glad to hear some colleagues had better experiences with Boushey than she says she did

‘Heather was impossible to work for/with and that working under her was stressful and volatile with frequent episodes of yelling and swearing,’ according to the employee’s account. 

Still another called her “phenomenally incompetent as a manager” as well as the “worst manager ever” adding that “she cannot prioritize.” 

Sahm, the woman leveling the public charges this week, acknowledged facts in her own essay that could undermine her credibility. 

She acknowledges her bipolar disorder on her Twitter page, and complains about getting pushback after penning an earlier blog post calling the economic profession a ‘disgrace.’ 

BIDEN’S ECONOMIC TEAM

JANET YELLEN – Treasury Secretary

Would be first female Treasury-secretary, chaired the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2017

WALLY ADEYEMO – Deputy Treasury Secretary 

Nigerian-born Yale law grad  and Obama Treasury official. Currently president of the Obama Foundation

NEERA TANDEN – Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Veteran Clinton aide who is close personal friend of Hillary. Runs Center for American Progress, voice of Democratic liberal wing although also a sworn enemy of Bernie Sanders 

CECELIA ROUSE – Chair of Council of Economic Advisors

Dean of Princeton School of Public and International Affairs – which had Woodrow Wilson removed from its name this year – and former Obama economic aide. Daughter-in-law of the late Toni Morrison  

HEATHER BOUSHEY – Member of the Council of Economic Advisors 

Economist who is CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a Democratic-linked think tank. See as part of progressive party wing and has worked with Tanden

JARED BERNSTEIN –  Member of the Council of Economic Advisors

 Prominent progressive economist who has taught at Howard, Columbia and NYU. Was critical of Obama’s trade policy

‘They accused me of drinking during the day (with no proof and not a violation in our employee handbook); described my as disrespectful (citing incidents when I voiced a view at odds with leadership); and being “volatile” (a standard coded reference to my bipolar disorder),’ she wrote. 

‘After the retaliation against me began, I learned that Heather’s abusive behavior was a pattern. And was an open secret among elite circles of DC economic policy,’ according to Sahm. 

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth describes itself as a non-profit grant-making institution. 

The 2015 memo, from when it was under the Center for American Progress umbrella, does not describe any discipline of Boushey, but only a decision to include HR in hiring decisions affecting her.   

It was addressed to Neera Tanden, the head of CAP who is Biden’s pick to run the Office of Management and Budget. 

Sahm acknowledged not everyone shares her own criticisms.       

‘I am so happy to hear in the news that some of my former/current colleagues had good experiences with Heather. I had an AWESOME time at Equitable Growth until it became hell. PS you don’t get to tell the judge,: yea, I destroyed 10 people but helped 100,’ she wrote.

The Biden transition did not respond to a request for comment on the situation. 

‘Heather was not Claudia Sahm’s supervisor,” a Center for Equitable Growth spokeswoman told Bloomberg , where Sahm is an opinion columnist. 

Sahm worked there for less than a year.

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