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Bernie Aide:  News Outlet Guilty of Upholding ‘Systemic Racism’ – For Reporting Criminal Conviction of Another Bernie Aide

May 14, 2019

An aide to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who helped negotiate a union contract for Sanders campaign staff members can’t serve as an officer of a labor union until 2026 because his 2013 sentence for embezzling United Steelworkers International Union funds forbids it.

When Vermont Digger reported that fact recently, another Sanders aide accused the news outlet of “helping to uphold” what he called “systemic racism” — because the former union leader is Latino.

Chuck Rocha, who was originally hired by the first Sanders presidential campaign in 2016 to help the Vermont U.S. senator appeal to Latino voters, used the union’s money in 2008 and 2009 “to buy Stanley Cup Finals tickets and pay for golf trips” to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Florida, according to Politico. At the time he was the union’s political director.

He later pleaded guilty to one count of union embezzlement, a felony, and was sentenced to probation and a $2,000 fine, according to a February 2016 story in Politico.

Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders, told Vermont Digger last week that Rocha “made a mistake earlier in life” but that he “has since established a successful business that has served as a pipeline for young people of color into the world of politics.”

The bad guy in the story, Weaver said, is Vermont Digger for bringing it up.

“Sadly, like too many others in our society, the Vermont Digger wants to brand people like Chuck Rocha for life — an attitude that disproportionately impacts black and brown people and poor people. This is just another way systemic racism works. It’s disappointing that VTDigger is helping to uphold it,” Weaver said, according to Vermont Digger.

Weaver, asked about his comments by Seven Days, a Vermont news outlet, said he had given “a very measured response” to Vermont Digger’s inquiries about his colleague Rocha.

“I didn’t say they didn’t have the right to write it. I didn’t say they shouldn’t write it. I just made the observation that when you engage in this kind of call-out reporting on a story that’s been previously reported … all it does is reinforce an unfair system,” Weaver said, according to Seven Days.

Anne Galloway, the founder and editor of Vermont Digger, told Seven Days that Weaver’s comments are “a bullying tactic” and represent “the kind of tactics you would expect from the Trump administration.”

“Weaver has been belittling and nasty to us on the phone, so this isn’t the first time,” Galloway said, according to Seven Days.



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