The New York Times reported on Friday that Burns Strider, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign, was kept on the campaign despite allegations of sexual harassment — allegedly at Clinton’s request.
The New York Times interviewed eight former campaign staffers and associates for the article and found that instead of firing Strider — a co-founder of the American Values Network, an activism group for left-leaning Christians — the campaign docked his pay for several weeks and put him in a counseling program. The woman he harassed was moved to a new position within the campaign.
Others within the campaign, including campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, recommended that Strider be fired, and were reportedly “troubled” that he was allowed to continue as Clinton’s faith adviser. While four sources told the New York Times Clinton requested he stay on, it wasn’t clear who ultimately made the decision.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Strider worked with the Clinton-supporting organization Correct the Record. According to a Mother Jones interview with Strider from September 2014, he managed the organization’s day-to-day operations, including “building an exhaustive database of factoids documenting Clinton’s career, as well as compiling opposition research on her putative opponents.”
According to Mother Jones, Strider and Correct the Record had “become the go-to source for reporters seeking pro-Clinton quotes in response to Republican attacks.” But Strider was fired after several months — according to the New York Times, for workplace issues, including harassment.
Strider is now a founding partner of Eleison Group, a left-learning firm that describes itself as “the nation’s leading consulting firm committed to creating common ground between the political, business, and non-profit worlds.” Among the groups Strider claims to be advising are the United Methodist Church, Oxfam America, and both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In response to the Times story, a former Clinton spokesperson said on Twitter that the campaign’s handling of Strider was evidence that it was ahead of the curve on sexual harassment:
So basically, 9 years before the rest of the world woke up on this issue, the Hillary campaign had a policy & process in place to quickly respond to & punish sexual harassment (suspension, docking pay, counseling).— Peter Kauffmann (@PeterKauffmann) January 26, 2018
He did not explain why Strider was not fired by the campaign.