Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is not only running against an ever-growing field of fellow Democrats for the 2020 presidential election, but also against what may prove to be a couple of far more formidable opponents: her own records as the district attorney of San Francisco and later the attorney general of California.
What’s problematic for Harris is that the people who have the most problems with her records are the very progressives she seeks to secure as her base.
Just days before Harris’ campaign kickoff in January, The New York Times ran an opinion piece denouncing her claims that she was a progressive prosecutor. The subheading on the piece reads: “The senator was often on the wrong side of history when she served as California’s attorney general.”
Consider her record as San Francisco’s district attorney from 2004 to 2011. Ms. Harris was criticized in 2010 for withholding information about a police laboratory technician who had been accused of “intentionally sabotaging” her work and stealing drugs from the lab. After a memo surfaced showing that Ms. Harris’s deputies knew about the technician’s wrongdoing and recent conviction, but failed to alert defense lawyers, a judge condemned Ms. Harris’s indifference to the systemic violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights.
Bazelon the moved on to a litany of things she took umbrage with about Harris’ time as California’s AG, concluding the piece with this:
But if Kamala Harris wants people who care about dismantling mass incarceration and correcting miscarriages of justice to vote for her, she needs to radically break with her past.
A good first step would be to apologize to the wrongfully convicted people she has fought to keep in prison and to do what she can to make sure they get justice. She should start with George Gage.
Several progressive sites latched onto this article, mostly agreeing with it.
At the time, Harris made an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and took “full responsibility” for the decisions she made but didn’t apologize for anything.
Sen. Harris has now found something that she’s willing to admit making a mistake about: a truancy law that she pushed while California’s AG.
Sen. Kamala Harris is expressing regret for championing a truancy law during her time as California attorney general that threatened parents with prosecution if their children missed too much school.
In a “Pod Save America”interview that aired Tuesday, the Democratic presidential candidate said it “never was the intention” to criminalize parents and described the California law as one with “unintended consequences.”