It’s not hard to deduce that Lee, given her ridiculous media interviews and attention-grabbing behavior, is one of the odder elected officials working for us, but to those who have worked for her, or around her, her amusing weirdness is overshadowed by her monstrous behavior and unreasonable cruelty.
You probably know who Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee is, even if she’s not anywhere close to being your representative. You do because she makes sure you do. She’s usually the one making sure she’s within eyeshot, while sometimes wearing colorful attention grabbing outfits that the Queen of England would think are a bit much.
According to a series of interviews conducted by the Daily Caller, former staff members of Lee’s said that the congresswoman’s knack for mistreating her employees borders on the psychotic. From making anyone from staff members to the Transportation Secretary wait for hours on end for her while she sits and watches television, or demanding her drivers run red lights and drive in the emergency lanes — causing at least one accident — Lee seems to believe she is above the law, above her colleagues, and above you and I.
This is unsurprising coming from the woman who once said “You don’t understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen.”
The proof can be seen in things she says to people. According to one staffer who had recently signed on, she called the congresswoman in order to request a meeting that would allow her to best serve Lee. The response she got was a tongue lashing on the phone.
“What? What did you say to me? Who are you, the Congresswoman?” railed Lee. “You haven’t been elected. You don’t set up meetings with me! I tell you! You know what? You are the most unprofessional person I have ever met in my life,” she said before hanging up the phone.
The Daily Caller reported that one of Lee’s drivers actually had to pull her car over because her behavior had become so horrible. He demanded that she either get out of his car, or calm down. Lee attempted to scare the driver into obedience, but the driver held firm:
One of Jackson Lee’s drivers became so frustrated with her abuse the person pulled the car over and demand she stop: “She’s screaming and swearing. ‘M.F.’ everything. Finally I slammed on the brakes and told her to get the hell out of my car. I’m like ‘I can’t drive with you like this. Either get out, or you can calm down.’ And she’s like ‘you need to go or get fired.’ I’m like, ‘that’s fine. But I’m either leaving without you or you can calm down,’” the staffer said.
Jackson Lee then threatened to call the police and claim she was being held hostage in the car. But she finally did calm down when the staffer called her bluff, offering to flag down a Capitol Police officer to explain the situation.
According to another disgruntled former employee, Lee forcing people to wait wouldn’t just happen within business hours. You could be there all night, or well into the morning.
“She liked to hold her staff meetings — she would individually pull in the deputy chief of staff, myself and some other people individually to go over different parts of her day. But she would literally wait until super late at night. None of us could go home, because she wouldn’t tell when she was coming back or if she wasn’t. And if she called and you didn’t answer, it was like World War III,” the source told DC.
“You worked really, really, really late for her. When she was in town, you were in the office. So that meant, two, three, four o’clock in the morning – we were there,” said another.
You may have had to wait on Lee, but God forbid you make Lee wait for even a moment for anything:
On Christmas Eve, one staffer was at a midnight mass ceremony at her church. When the boss called, the staffer didn’t answer. “She got so irritated that I wasn’t answering her call on Christmas Eve. So she called me every minute for 56 minutes,” the source recalled.
Staffers also report that Lee was incredibly harsh to black staffers in particular.
“’You stupid mother-effer’ was like a constant,” a staffer told the DC. “Like, all the time. But the interesting thing is she would really project that behavior more towards her African American staffers. She would have other ethnic groups in the office, like interns or whatnot. But it was really her African American staffers who she felt comfortable enough to really curse out…. This is something we always talked about.
“She is very strange in who she insults and how. For some reason, it seemed like she was racist against African Americans,” noted another former staffer.
On top of her cruelty, Lee makes odd demands of her staffers, and has some peculiar habits to boot. She’s apparently a hoarder, and keeps hundreds of copies of “Black Americans in Congress” in her office, and continues to add more. She gives her drivers directions to locations they’ve taken her to uncountable times before. She also demands staffers print out documents in different colors. She’ll demand two cars pick her up from the airport, one for her, and one for her luggage.
Lee has become something of a legend in Washington for her awful behavior. In fact, she has the highest turnover rate for staffers in DC:
Over the last ten years, at least 39 staffers have left within one year. Over that time, Lee has employed at least nine chiefs of staff, eight legislative directors, and 18 schedulers or executive assistants, according to records of federal disclosure forms published by the website Legistorm. Nine staffers left within two months, 25 within 6 months.
Office veterans of Lee’s reportedly even meet regularly for drinks in order to reminisce about their hellish time in her employ.
But the mistreatment doesn’t stop with Hill staffers and government officials. Earlier this month, Lee reportedly stole a first class seat on a United Flight from a paying teacher returning home. Lee issued a statement saying she didn’t ask for anything unreasonable, and claimed the outrage surrounding the incident was just there because she’s black.