[guest post by JVW]
I’ve been very negative about Kamala Harris, long before she became the Democrat’s Vice-Presidential nominee. I’ve pointed out the unseemliness of her accepting financially-lucrative appointments to state boards when she was the paramour of corrupt California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. I continue to question her handling of an employee in her California Attorney General office who was accused of sexual harassment and triggered a $400,000 settlement, yet who was still brought on to her Senate staff and worked in her office for 18 months until the details of the settlement were made public. All this while she was grandstanding against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. I called out her breathtakingly fast flip-flopping on whether national health plans ought to allow for private insurance, followed by her weird use of an unpopular 1970s-era social policy to establish her civil rights bona fides. And I am not alone on this blog as to my distaste for our junior Senator. Dana has questioned Sen. Harris’s weird strategy at the Kavanaugh hearing and Patterico has been astonished by the Senator’s lack of understanding of how Presidential pardons work.
But I’m not sure if any of us on this blog have written about another major issue that raises suspicions about the character of Kamala Harris when she served as San Francisco’s District Attorney. The San Jose Mercury News has a very helpful overview:
Kamala Harris was this city’s [San Francisco] top prosecutor, running to become California’s elected attorney general, when a scandal stunned her office and threatened to upend her campaign.
One of Harris’ top deputies had emailed a colleague that a crime-lab technician had become “increasingly UNDEPENDABLE for testimony.” Weeks later, the technician allegedly took home cocaine from the lab, possibly tainting evidence and raising concerns about hundreds of cases.
Neither Harris nor the prosecutors working for her had informed defense attorneys of the problems – despite rules requiring such disclosure. Harris “failed to disclose information that clearly should have been disclosed,” Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo wrote in a scathing decision in May 2010.
At first, Harris fought back. She blamed the police for failing to inform defense lawyers. She estimated that only about 20 cases initially would be affected. And her office accused the judge of bias because Massullo’s husband was a defense lawyer.
But the turmoil increased. With the local criminal-justice system at risk of devolving into chaos, Harris took the extraordinary step of dismissing about 1,000 drug-related cases, including many in which convictions had been obtained and sentences were being served.
Sen. Harris is lucky in that the San Francisco Public Defender, Jeff Adachi, was an old law school chum of hers. And though it would appear that the relationship between the two soured somewhat in the aftermath of the lab revelations, Mr. Adachi, who died in February of 2019, did not speak out against Ms. Harris during the California Attorney General election of 2010 and for whatever reason her opponent, then Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, did not make this a major issue in the campaign. Ms. Harris would narrowly defeat Mr. Cooley by less than one percent in a year in which her fellow Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer each won their statewide races by ten percentage points.
We’ve written here a whole bunch of times that Kamala Harris is remarkably unprincipled, and her ideology generally lurches in whatever direction she senses the favorable winds are blowing, but always such that she positions herself for maximum benefit. As the San Francisco DA, she prioritized protecting wealthy residents and anyone whose help she needed to move beyond San Francisco on the political ladder. As state attorney general, she ingratiated herself with powerful green groups by banding together with other left-wing state AGs to harass oil companies and other energy producers, going so far as to try to criminalize any activities that ran counter to the catechism of the achingly green. As a U.S. Senator, she cynically latched-on to the MeToo movement, even though she had to have known about the harassment escapades of her loyal lieutenant, Mr. Wallace, and as a Presidential candidate she promised vast unilateral action on national gun control and environmental regulations, even without Congressional approval. As David Harsanyi of National Review has observed, “there is no power Harris has held that she hasn’t abused.”
Dana pointed out yesterday that our President, who for whatever reason seems bound and determined to lose this easily winnable election, doesn’t seem to have the wit to make any of the above arguments and is instead falling back on a tiresome and disgraceful tactic that brought him to political prominence during the Obama Era. Just as the all-time second worst Presidential nominee beat the single worst Presidential nominee four years ago, no matter what happens in November we will see the all-time third worst candidate beating the second worst candidate. But I guess it’s the appropriate way to close out this rancid and heartbreaking year.