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Conyers Demands Demotion of Haiti Relief Official Because He Lacks Black Staffers

You can't make this up.

4:15 PM, Feb 4, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Senior House Democrat John Conyers is demanding that Hillary Clinton demote Rajiv Shah, head of USAID, in which capacity he's leading U.S. relief efforts in Haiti.

Conyers Demands Demotion of Haiti Relief Official Because He Lacks Black Staffers

Does Conyers think that Shah lacks competence to carry out the incredibly important task of saving lives? No. The Hill reports that Conyers is angry that Shah "showed up at a meeting with the 42-member Congressional Black Caucus without any African American staffers in tow."

Conyers writes in a letter to Clinton:

Dear Secretary Clinton:

As you know, the 42 member Congressional Black Caucus met with Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of the U.S. AID yesterday to discuss the crisis in Haiti. I was alarmed and chagrined to learn that none of the approximately dozen staff he brought with him were African American. This is so serious an error in judgement that it warrants his immediate demotion to a subordinate position at AID. It is well known  that there has long been an under-representation of minorities in key positions within the State Department. I am confident this Administration will immediately begin addressing this problem.

I look forward to meeting with you on this matter.

Sincerely,
John Conyers, Jr.
Member of Congress

To put it mildly, this is insane. As far as I can tell, it's not that Conyers has any evidence that USAID as a whole lacks diverse employment. Shah, who was confirmed to this position December 24 of this year--"making him the highest-ranking Indian American in any presidential administration"--simply showed up to one meeting with about a dozen staffers and none of them were African American. Matters of life and death are now in Shah's hands as he heads up relief efforts in Haiti, and Conyers wants Shah demoted for this?

Has there been a better attempt at self-parody on Capitol Hill in recent memory?

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