Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D-Pa.) campaign is bringing up a campaign issue we have long expected it to: staff turnover on Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) staff.
It’s well known that Sestak is one of the hardest people to work for in Congress. He requires long hours and he doesn’t pay well (he had the lowest payroll in Congress for an 18-month period, according to the L.A. Times).
He also doesn’t apologize for it.
In an interview Thursday with The Hill, before Specter’s camp hit Sestak with a press release on the topic, Sestak said he can’t compare his operation to other offices.
“We do what we have to do,” he said. “As Winston Churchill said, ‘Sometimes it’s not enough to do your best; sometimes you have to do what’s required.’
“This is a government that has boded so well in crises for its citizens. We’re in the middle of two wars overseas and one here at home with our economy.”
Sestak was then asked if he was hard on his staff, versus simply working them long hours.
“I ask a lot of my staff – no more than what I do,” he said.
Specter’s campaign pointed out Thursday that the three highest-paid staffers on Sestak’s campaign team are his three siblings, who all make at least $3,500 per month. According to numbers crunched by Specter’s campaign, about half of Sestak's staff makes less than $1,000 per month.
UPDATE: A tipster notes that Snarlin' Arlen isn't exactly Mr. Wonderful to his staff, either. Specter has frequently been ranked among the top three meanest bosses in the Senate by Washingtonian magazine, including at No. 1 in 2004. And that's not the only publication to bestow such a designation on Specter.