Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee and member of the United States House of Representatives, came to the forefront on Friday as the DNC decided to suspend Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign’s access to voter information following a breach of information, which was made available to other candidates for a brief period when the firewall went down, allowing open access to all voter files. It was determined during that time that at least one Sanders staffer allegedly viewed voter files of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The Sanders campaign has now threatened legal action against the DNC if they are not restored access to the crucial voter database. Friday’s events were not the first time Wasserman Schultz’s and the DNC’s decisions have come under fire by the Democratic party.
Here’s what you need to know about Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
1. Wasserman Schultz Made The Call to Suspend Sanders Campaign’s Data Access
Wasserman Schultz was sworn in on January 4, 2005 as a member of the United States House of Representatives, and currently serves Floridas 23rd District. An active and outspoken leader within the Democratic Party’s political structure as well, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz was asked in 2011 by President Obama to serve as Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and was subsequently elected by its Members to serve for two consecutive terms, through 2016.
On Friday, Wasserman Schultz defended the Democratic party’s decision to suspend Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign from the DNC’s voter file after campaign staffers viewed confidential information stored by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Wasserman Schultz told MSNBC that by temporarily suspending the Sanders campaign, the DNC is just following an agreement they have with all Democratic campaigns. Sanders has threatened legal action against the DNC as a result of the decision.
2. She Is Married To Steve Schultz
In 1990, she received a Masters degree from the University of Florida. After finishing her master’s, she served as a legislative aide to Democratic Florida state Rep. Peter Deutsch. She then married banker Steve Schultz in 1992, shortly before running for the Florida House seat Deutsch was leaving to run for Congress.
The couple now has three young children. Now married, Schultz no longer has his career as a banker. Schultz supports his wifes career to this day by staying at home with the kids as a stay-at-home dad. The Congresswoman and her loyal family are proud to call South Florida home, where they reside in Weston.
3. She Has Taken Heat for This Election Season’s Democratic Debate Scheduling
This is not the first time Sanders and other Democratic presidential non-front runners have taken issue with Wasserman this election season. Three of the four former party chairs that Wasserman Schultz said she “consulted” before deciding on the primary debate schedule told TIME that their conversations with her did not amount to debate consultations in their minds.
There were four veteran members of the party that Wasserman Schultz said she spoke with regarding debate scheduling. Former DNC chair and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Don Fowler all concurred that while their input was expected to help determine exposure and timing of the debates, they were never asked to formally weigh-in by Wasserman Schultz and the DNC. Virginia Gov. Terry McAulliffe, a longtime loyalist of Hillary Clinton, did not comment. Some have accused Wasserman Schultz of favoring Clinton in creating the existing debate structure, as it limits Clinton’s debate exposure.
4. She Has a History as DNC Leader of Not Having Party Support
Her involvement in the Democratic party has been so polarizing, President Barack Obama contemplated removing her from her position as DNC head early in his second term, but ultimately decided against it due to the negative “optics” that may have resulted.
The Obama administration progressed so far down the road of replacing Wasserman Schultz that they even had a replacement in mind: R.T. Rybak, the former mayor of Minneapolis and a DNC vice chair. However, the presumed bad light of Obama dropping a woman from the party leadership as well as perceived dwindled support among women voters and Jewish donors seem to have swayed them to keep her in power following Obama’s 2012 re-election. Some reports indicated keeping Wasserman Schultz was a part of Obama’s outright “benign neglect” of the DNC.
5. She Has a Reported Negative Net Worth
According to reports, Wasserman Schultz may have a negative net worth due to several crushing debts. In fact, according to some reports, she may be one of the poorest members of Congress This value was calculated and reflects strictly total liabilities subtracted from total assets.
While it may not provide a perfect indication of net worth and wealth, it has been reported by ABC News that Wasserman Schultz and her husband Steve Schultz have two mortgages, a home equity line of credit over $250,000 and credit card debt over $15,000.