The Dean 25 Could Decide Clinton's Fate

If, as Hillary Clinton has suggested, her campaign takes the fight to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations all the way to the Democratic National Convention this summer, the fate of her challenge is all but certain to hinge on 25 individuals appointed to the Credentials Committee by party Chairman Howard Dean.

The Credentials Committee, which also includes 161 members selected from the states based on primary and caucus results, is the 186-member body that will help determine whether to seat the two rogue delegations.

Since it appears virtually impossible for Clinton to win enough of the 161 members selected by the states to vote out a “majority report” supporting her position—and it is unlikely that Barack Obama will win enough of them either—the Dean 25 are in a position to hold the balance of power on a procedural matter that could play a pivotal role in deciding the Democratic presidential nomination.

Though these 25 appointees are often assumed to be handpicked Dean loyalists who will take their cues from him on the issue of seating Florida and Michigan, a Politico analysis has found that is far from certain. Many of the 25 are already publicly supporting either Clinton or Obama—and some are barely acquainted with Dean.

"It was important to Governor Dean that the standing committees be diverse and be representative of the Democratic Party as a whole,” said Democratic National Committee press secretary Stacie Paxton. “He personally asked each nominee if they were prepared to do what’s in the best interest of the country and the Democratic Party before he made the appointment.”

What follows is Politico’s guide to the Dean 25, based on interviews with appointees and additional reporting.

Dean Aguillen
Background: Currently a lobbyist for Ogilvy Government Relations. Previously worked as an adviser to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and in the Clinton White House.
Dean Connection: Says he got a call from the Democratic National Committee asking if he wanted to help out with the committee. He expects that Dean wants Democrats who are “loyal” with “integrity.”
Hint: Donated at least $2,000 to Hillary Clinton. Doesn’t have a firm position on Michigan and Florida, and says he’ll consider all sides.

Don Beyer
Background: Former Virginia lieutenant governor and unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor in 1997.
Dean Connection: Served as the Dean campaign’s treasurer during the 2004 Democratic presidential primary.
Hint: Endorsed Barack Obama.

Allyn Brooks-LaSure
Background: Director of media relations for the Save Darfur Coalition. Worked as a spokesman for Robert Menendez and Jon Corzine, both of New Jersey.
Dean Connection: Says he had “no previous relationship” with the DNC chair when Leah Daughtry, a top Dean aide, called and asked if he was willing to serve on the committee.
Hint: Donated $500 to Barack Obama (under the name Michael Brooks-LaSure) but says he sees “a separation there between my role” as a member of the Credentials Committee and his support for Obama. The challenge for the DNC, he says, will be “reconciling the rules as well as the importance of Florida and Michigan.”

Jose Ceballos
Background: Director of government affairs at the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Served as deputy chief of staff to vice presidential nominee John Edwards in 2004 and previously worked for Commerce Secretary (and former DNC chair) Ron Brown and Vice President Al Gore.
Dean Connection: Unclear. Did not respond to requests for comment.
Hint: None. 

Ralph C. Dawson
Background: New York City labor lawyer. As a member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, Dawson initiated the move in August to strip Florida of all its delegates.
Dean Connection: Dean’s college roommate. Gave $2000 to Dean in the first quarter of 2004 and served as an adviser tohis 2004 campaign.
Hint: One of the three undecided superdelegates in New York, Dawson has given $1250 to the Obama campaign and $450 to the Clinton campaign. Says he “believes very much in [Dean’s] 50-state strategy.”

Sheila Dixon
Background: Baltimore mayor.
Dean Connection: Unclear.
Hint: Endorsed Barack Obama.

Christopher Edley, Jr.
Background: Dean of University of California’s Boalt Hall law school. Served as assistant director of the White House domestic policy staff under President Carter, and also worked at the Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton before taking charge of the White House review of affirmative action. Dean Connection: Donated $2000 to Dean in early 2004.
Hint: Donated $4600 to Barack Obama.

Hartina Flournoy
Background: Assistant to the President of the American Federation of Teachers. Was finance director for the Gore for President campaign and deputy campaign manager for the Clinton/Gore re-election campaign. Also served on the Rules and Bylaws Committee.
Dean Connection: Befriended Dean during his presidential campaign. A major backer of his bid for the DNC chairmanship, she ran his transition team after he won.
Hint: A Clinton superdelegate who, according to ABC News, advised Clinton to push strategist Mark Penn out.

Maryscott “Scotty” Greenwood
Background: Managing director at McKenna Long & Aldridge’s DC office. Served as Georgia Democratic Party’s executive director, worked on multiple presidential campaigns, and was chief of staff of the Canadian Embassy under President Clinton.
Dean Connection: Gave $2,000 to Dean in 2003 and supported his race for DNC chairman. University of Vermont graduate.
Hint: Donated $2,300 to the Clinton campaign, “but I’m not declaring support for her over Obama in this credentials process.” Says family members have given to Obama. Refers to herself as “a Howard Dean person.”

Janice Griffin
Background: Served as co-chair of DNC’s Women’s Vote Center and as national chair of the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum. Also served on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, and voted to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates. She is a superdelegate.
Dean Connection: Unclear.
Hint: Has donated to both of Clinton’s senatorial campaigns, but told Politico in February she was supporting Obama.

Adelita Grijalva
Background: Program manager for the Pima County Teen Court in Arizona and daughter of Congressman Raul Grijalva. This will be her first convention, where she says she will be 8 months pregnant.
Dean Connection: Got a call from the DNC and she said she’d be willing to help out. “I’m just lucky, I guess.”
Hint: Says she supports Barack Obama. Father is an Obama superdelegate.

Laura Harris
Background: Executive director of Americans for Indian Opportunity. Worked for New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman and for the 2004 John Kerry general election campaign.
Dean Connection: Served as the Dean 2004 campaign’s National Native American Policy and Outreach senior adviser.
Hint: Endorsed Barack Obama. Former Bill Richardson supporter.

Kathy Hoyt
Background: Longtime Vermont political activist who served as chief of staff to former Vermont Governors Dean and Madeleine Kunin.
Dean Connection: Also served as Secretary of Administration under Dean.
Hint: Helped launch Vermont Women for Obama in February.

Carol Juneau
Background: Montana state senator. Served in the state House for a decade and in various state party positions.
Dean Connection: Unclear.
Hint: Hosted a fundraiser for Clinton in Missoula. “She’s been my choice since the beginning,” Juneau told the Helena Independent Record last week. “She has a strong Native American platform.”

Scott Maddox
Background: Former Florida Democratic Party chairman and Tallahassee mayor.
Dean Connection: &lduo;I helped get him elected” as DNC chair, Maddox said.
Hint: None. Says his role on the Credentials Committee keeps him from making a decision.

Iman Malik Mujahid
Background: The founder of Chicago-based Sound Vision, Inc., an Islamic multimedia company. Has served on some Bosnia-related task forces and is the current chairperson of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.
Dean Connection: Unclear. Did not respond to requests for comment.
Hint: None.

Maria Neira
Background: New York State United Teachers official and a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers. Served on former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s educational transition team.
Dean Connection: Works with Dean confidant Tina Flournoy. Gave $250 to John Kerry in the first quarter of 2004.
Hint: She’s a pledged delegate for Clinton from New York’s 21st congressional district.

Kate O’Connor
Background: Served in Dean’s gubernatorial administration, managed his campaigns for governor and worked on his presidential campaign.
Dean Connection: Longtime Dean aide.
Hint: None.

Leila Sahar
Background: A college senior at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. Spent recent summers interning in the DNC’s Political Department and working as an assistant at the Voting Rights Institute.
Dean Connection: Served as DNC intern under Dean chairmanship.
Hint: None.

Marc Stanley
Background: Dallas trial lawyer and Democratic donor.
Dean Connection: Unclear. Gave $2000 to both Edwards and Kerry in 2004.
Hint: Donated $4400 to Barack Obama in 2007.

Carol Pensky
Background: Founder of the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum. Served as a DNC treasurer in the late 1990s and as a finance chair in 2000.
Dean Connection: Donated $1850 to Dean in 2004, more than she gave to Kerry or Wesley Clark.
Hint: A pro-Clinton superdelegate, she has donated $4600 to her campaign.

Bob Rogan
Background: Chief of staff for Vermont Congressman Peter Welch.
Dean Connection: Served as Governor Dean’s deputy chief of staff and as deputy campaign manager when Dean ran for President.
Hint: His boss is an Obama superdelegate, but Rogan is undecided.

Jane Stetson
Background: Served as finance chair for Vermont Congressman Peter Welch’s campaign. Donated $25,000 to the party in 2004.
Dean Connection: A Vermonter, she has been a major fundraiser for medical facilities in Dean’s home state. In 2004 she gave $1000 to his presidential campaign. Also gave $2000 to Carol Moseley Braun’s campaign.
Hint: Donated $2300 to Barack Obama.

Michael Steed
Background: Managing director at the Paladin Capital Group. Served as DNC executive director in the early 1980s. Donated $34,500 to the party in 2004.
Dean Connection: Unclear. Donated $2000 to the campaigns of Bob Graham and Dick Gephardt in 2004.
Hint: Donated $4,600 to Hillary Clinton.

Bill Straus
Background: Massachusetts state representative.
Dean Connection: Endorsed Dean in 2004, and donated $1900 to his campaign. Dean’s Democracy for America PAC raised funds for him in June 2004.
Hint: Donated $1375 to the Clinton campaign.