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The House Democrats’ campaign arm has hired an ex-gangster turned high-profile criminal-justice advocate for a top leadership position, The Post has learned.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, headed by Hudson Valley area Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, tapped Dyjuan Tatro as a senior advisor for diversity and inclusion.
Tatro is known for appearing in the 2019 PBS documentary series “College Behind Bars,” about a group of inmates trying to earn their degrees through New York state’s Bard Prison Initiative.
Through the program, Tatro got a bachelor’s degree while serving a six year-sentence for racketeering conspiracy.
At the time of that 2011 conviction, Tatro had already been doing time for shooting two rival gang members in 2006.
Described at the time as a “triggerman” for the Original Gangsta Killas street gang that terrorized Albany, Tatro confessed to the shootings, and to a “razor-slashing” of another victim in 2002 as well as to dealing drugs.
He admitted to making at least $12,000 a month dealing drugs and conspired to traffic more than 50 grams of crack cocaine.
Tatro was freed in 2017 and has since become an advocate for increasing educational opportunities to inmates through BPI.
While in the program himself, Tatro was part of a three-inmate debate team from the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in the Catskills that famously defeated the Harvard undergraduate debate team, earning national headlines.
Republicans said Tatro’s hire will reinforce criticism that Democrats are soft on crime.
“It’s certainly on-brand for criminal-coddling Democrats, but the rest of America will find it disturbing that a murderous gang member is holding a prominent position with the DCCC,” said New York State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy.
“Second chances are one thing, but I would have to question Congressman Maloney’s judgment to put someone with such a violent past at the top of their organization.”
But Maloney and DCCC defended hiring Tatro, whom they consider a turn-around success story and a nationally recognized criminal justice reform advocate.
“Dyjuan is a formerly incarcerated person who has worked hard to change the trajectory of his life through education and service to his community,” a DCCC spokesman said.
“He has served his time for the crimes he committed and is now a national leader in the bipartisan movement to reform our criminal justice system and bring meaningful improvements to the education system in American prisons. Such critical work breaks cycles of recidivism by making sure more people leave prison with the skills to hold down a job and contribute to their communities.”
Tatro, who has worked on Maloney’s campaigns, said in a statement upon his hiring,
“This past election cycle has emphasized how electoral politics affects the daily lives of each and every American as well as the centrality of the African-American vote to winning elections. I am honored to be joining the DCCC to work on a number of issues at the nexus of politics, diversity, and equity & inclusion.”
He added, “I want to thank Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney for his commitment to assembling talented & diverse DCCC teams.”
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