Of all the bombshell revelations contained in the ongoing WikiLeaks release of emails sent by John Podesta, current chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, only one failed to shock any Houstonians who heard it: “Sheila Jackson Lee is stalking me,” wrote Podesta in an email sent on April 7, 2015.
Lee is the longterm U.S. Representative for Texas's 18th congressional district, having served since 1995 in an area that covers a massive swath of Houston from the Third Ward in the south all the way north past the Bush Intercontinental Airport. In addition to being a powerful incumbent who's rarely challenged in her district, Lee is widely considered one of the most disliked members of Congress.
In both 2012 and again in 2014, a survey of Congressional aides and staffers earned Lee top rankings in both the "Showhorse" (someone who's more talk than walk) and the "Meanest" categories, all while she ran through an astounding 11 chiefs of staff in 11 years, garnering her another title that's haunted her since 2011: The Worst Boss in Congress. Houstonia's favorite Lee anecdote, however, remains the time she claimed during a speech on the House floor that America was 400 years old.
Throughout all of that, Lee has also managed to earn a reputation for "stalking" those from whom she wants political favors, once explaining in detail to ABC News how she gets face-time with President Barack Obama. (Interestingly, Lee, who is a Democrat, also once accused a writer with conservative publication The Weekly Standard of stalking her while researching a piece on Lee's chauffeured, one-block commute to work.)
This week, WikiLeaks revealed that John Podesta complained privately of Lee's behavior, writing: "Sheila Jackson Lee is stalking me. In addition to wanting to be involved in everything, she specifically asked me about whether Hillary would accept the Barbara Jordan Medallion for Service at Texas Southern University." Lee's 18th congressional district was once held by Jordan, the first black woman elected to Congress from the South, between 1973 and 1979.
Whether anyone approves of her methods or not, Lee usually gets her way. Case in point: Hillary Clinton did accept that Barbara Jordan Medallion for Service later in 2015. In her speech at TSU, Clinton praised Lee—stalking and all—as "a tireless champion for the people of the 18th District and state and the country."