The Eshoo Letter

The Eshoo Letter


The Eshoo letter regarding changes in House seniority, party dues, secret ballots. Last week Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who lost a bitter battle to Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to be the senior Democrat of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has once again re-ignited a conversation regarding the seniority system, party dues, and secret ballots for Democrats in the House.

Eshoo, 72, represents one of the wealthiest congressional districts in the country, which includes Silicon Valley.  She has served in Congress for 22 years.  Currently there is a record number of African Americans in Congress (48) and a record number now serve as ranking members of House Committees and subcommittees.  Below is Rep. Eshoo’s letter to Rep. Bass.



Previous articleHouse Ethics Calls John Lewis’ Office re Civil Rights Speeches
Next articleNine Blacks Shot Dead, Wall Street Journal Picks This Moment to Say Racism is Over
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke


  1. Anna Eshoo represents Palo Alto, Atherton, and Woodside. Her district contains several dozen Billionaires, most of whom are in high tech. As a result, Anna Eshoo collects a lot more money from her donors than Congress-folk from Newark or Cleveland.

    Her argument basically comes down to “Hey, I am bringing in the money which pays for the Democratic Party, so I should get to be Committee Chairman (or at least Ranking Minority Member)”.

    For the time being, let us not discuss the question of which favors were given in exchange for this money (H1-B visas, tax credits, pharmaceutical patent extensions, foreign tax holidays). Rather, let’s look at the practical effects this proposal would have:

    First of all, these proposed changes would dramatically reduce the number of Black committee chairmen and sub-committee chairmen. This is not Eshoo’s main purpose, of course. You should think of the Black Members of Congress who have put in 20 years and will not become the Chairman as “Collateral Damage”.

    Second, we should think about the future effect on a Congress where each and every Chairmanship is going to be sold the the highest bidder. It seems unlikely that this would reduce the current levels of overt corruption.

    Finally, I must observe that this is not good for America. Changing the rules is such a way as to favor rich people (and their Member) is not going to make this country a better place.