Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris Digs Herself Deeper into Scandal

Harris’ official photo as a U.S. senator

If a powerful state government official saw flagrant law-enforcement corruption, remained silent and did nothing for years, what would you think if that person ran for the presidency of the United States with a campaign slogan of “Speaking Truth, Demanding Justice”?

What if that same White House candidate labeled herself “a fearless advocate” and a “determined fighter”?

And what if, in a sly attempt to mold her character weakness into a strength for unwitting voters, this onetime state attorney general also pledged “to fix our broken criminal-justice system” if she becomes leader of the free world?

That’s not a fictional, warped character. That’s real-life Kamala Harris, California’s junior U.S. senator who formally announced her presidential aims last month. Pundits quickly crowned Harris a frontrunner in an ever-expanding field of Democrats seeking that party’s 2020 nomination.

But trying to switch an ugly past with a glossy, blemish-free reincarnation isn’t necessarily easy in a national campaign if—and this is a big if—political reporters at large, mainstream news outlets study Harris’ past and grill her on it. Her most recent hurdle came from The New York Times, which published a lengthy profile (“‘Progressive Prosecutor’: Can Kamala Harris Square the Circle?”) on Feb. 11.

In that story, Harris admitted that as California Attorney General, she’d been briefed on systemic law-enforcement cheating in what is nationally known as the Orange County jailhouse-informant scandal. With a wink-wink from local prosecutors, deputies inside the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) ran unconstitutional scams against pretrial inmates, hid or destroyed exculpatory evidence, and repeatedly committed perjury to cover up their messes. Crime victims and their families were outraged that those tainted deputies’ habit of trampling the constitution botched trials.

In just a few years, the scandal upended at least 20 major felony cases, including those involving murders. The California Court of Appeal railed against the law-enforcement corruption in a historic November 2016 ruling, when a shoulder-shrugging Harris was still AG. The justices called the threat to the criminal-justice system “grave” and blasted officials for tolerating lousy ethics.

The situation wasn’t a mystery to Harris. “I knew misconduct had occurred,” she told Kate Zernike, a reporter at the Times. “Clearly it had.”

But none of the badged cheaters were held accountable. Then-Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and then-District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, whose office used the OCSD scams to win trials, pretended no misconduct had occurred. When it came time for Harris to act, she also did nothing.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. She announced the launch of an investigation in early 2015 and pretended she was a watchdog the public could trust. That alleged probe, which is now four years old, withered in bureaucratic la-la land while offending deputies and prosecutors felt relief as statutes of limitations expired.

Zernike quoted Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s law school during the height of the scandal, as calling Harris’ inaction “outrageous.” He also relayed an important tidbit.

“Twice, Kamala Harris called on my cell and said she was on top of [the cheating] and was looking into it,” Chemerinsky told the Times. “To my knowledge, the California AG never did anything with regard to the scandal.”

As I’ve reported for three years, the probe was a sham from the outset. We now have unassailable proof from a most unlikely source: Harris, who possessed the authority to arrest any lawbreaker in the state. She explained to Zernike that she philosophically believes an AG should ignore dirty law-enforcement officials, a notion she wisely kept secret during prior campaigns.

Imagine you’ve been wrongly arrested or convicted by scoundrels, and the state’s top prosecutor is uninterested in your nightmare. Imagine the signal that AG sends to crooked cops. Imagine being told the best you, as such a victim, can hope for is a future election that might topple a tainted agency’s boss.

Harris is at peace with that notion of justice.

Protecting the criminal-justice system from abuses by government officials was “up to the voters,” Harris told the Times, “not the attorney general.”

Will the presidential-primary electorate buy lame dodging of responsibility?

CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.

16 Replies to “Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris Digs Herself Deeper into Scandal”

  1. No way. No Kamala! You don’t get to obfuscate your fiduciary duty as the top law enforcement officer in the State and then seek the highest office in the nation! Its a non starter.

  2. Yes, I was so hopeful when she became attorney general. This prosecution/law enforcement illigitimate affair has been going on to my personal knowledge since at least 1986, and attorneys older and practicing longer than me say that it has been going on much longer than that.
    Kamala Harris did NOTHING! Fucking NOTHING. She shouldn’t be allowed to run for dog catcher.
    (PS I wrote about this to the OC Weekly at least 10 years ago, hoping some public outrage could be mustered).

  3. LOL, what even is this “article”? It’s not even up to the standards of an opinion column, much less journalism. Pathetic. With OC Weekly being free, I guess you get what you pay for.

  4. She’s a fantastic candidate. This story is weak on substance, yet makes a strong effort to taint her exemplary character. #kamalabiden2020

    1. Average hit piece but those too lazy to seek further information will likely fall for it even tho the writing is woeful & anyone with more than half a brain can see the obvious errors. But ok, you tried. Kamala must be scaring some forces out there badly going by how much disinformation is being spread about her. And after her successful debate it’s amped up to ridiculous levels. She’s being portrayed as the black female version of Hitler. Actually – no – people like the writer of this article wont even give her that. It’s a new “birther” movement claiming she isnt black & isnt american

  5. Collusion, whether “wink-wink” or overt, occurs more than frequently between police and prosecutors…
    So, Kamala Harris fans, you need to do better than
    “weak stuff”
    “hater loser babble”
    “not up to standards of opinion column”
    “weak on substance” “effort to taint her exemplary character”

  6. Kamala Harris doesn’t want to upset law enforcement and its multitude of supporters in middle America. So, she ignores the issue.

  7. What? Are you saying a politician is being duplicitous and self-serving? No way….I believe they are all fighters for truth, justice, and the ‘Murican way!

  8. I was very committed on voting for her but NOW I must be positive about anyone ‘s background and I was not a trump supporter but I must be sure! Climate, ending all killing of animals, no fracking, no more money coming from Koch Brothers, or Adelman, no more pollution in our waters and cleaning of our waterways, no more drilling for oil, tax reform, no tariffs, undo everything imbecile and cronies did

  9. Just a quick question here. Wasn’t it under Kamala Harris’ tenure AS CALIFORNIA AG that the states prison population reached its highest levels EVER? And she is an advocate for criminal justice reform right? Oh wait, that was then this is now. Which basically means if your a lying leftist, you’re a victim if someone questions your ethics, morality, policies and ability to tell the truth. And if you’re a republican, you’re immoral to question Harris, HRC, Adam Shiff, Eric Swowell, Cory Booker, Schmucky Schumer, Barack Obama, …. all who have said one thing, but now that DJT IS PRESIDENT, have all of a sudden done an about face and stand for the opposite.

    The corrupt, leftist democrat party is ruining this country. Makes me wonder now…California is completely a blue state, now that OC has flipped. And the fact it happened in an election year when the registrar of voters COMPLETELY and CONVENIENTLY “made mistakes” mailing out election ballots and voting material; people should be incensed at this corruption. They should be concerned. Extremely concerned. If they’re not, their either corrupt, naive, ignorant or ALL OF THE ABOVE.

  10. I love the comments. Mostly a group of retarded incest bread GOPRS and a few Obvious brain dead Sanders people. This article while has a valid point, ignores her overall record which was adequate and her record as Senator which has been exemplary. It’s in short, a Republican hit piece full of fluff to get all the GOP retards hard and same with the burny bros. At the end of the day the Dem Primary winner will be Biden, Warren or Harris and all 3 will crush Trump.

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