While there is no inherent problem in taking a job with the Obama campaign – after all, who else is he going to support – there is an appearance of a conflict of interest when advocates have been complaining, for years, that the Human Rights Campaign seemed overly interested in currying favor with the Obama administration, not to achieve further gay rights advances, but rather to get some kind of mutually beneficial quid pro quo benefitting HRC at the expense of the gay community.
And now we see the head of HRC getting what appears to be payback.
It looks like what we chastise – excoriate and jail, actually – members of Congress for, when they appear to cast votes based on their next job instead of their current constituency.
I wasn’t an “HRC hater” before the last couple of years, and I still don’t hate them. I do think the organization has lost its way, as lots of big non-profits do, under the pressure of a board and funders that prefer mediocrity and milquetoast to true advocacy (full-throated activism isn’t terribly helpful at securing the “right” party invites).
Did HRC under Solmonese try to curry favor with the White House so that the President would speak at their dinners (i.e., help them fundraise) and, ultimately, offer Solmonese a cushy job in the campaign, and then the administration? Well, it’s certainly a concern a number of us have expressed publicly before, and now it seems to be playing out just as we feared.
Whether it’s appearance or reality, this does not look good for HRC, or any of us.
PS A friend writes that this may be an honorary appointment rather than an actual “job.” I’m not sure that that’s not a nuance without a difference. It still appears to be a quid pro quo. Bestowing status in exchange for past favors.