Chamber-Funded Group Attacks Kamala Harris in CA Attorney General Race

Suddenly, after the Supreme Court's deplorable "Citizens United" ruling (ironically named, given nearly 80% of American citizens are united against that ruling), shadowy conservative front groups are feeling frisky.  There is a one such front group in Virginia now targeting the California Attorney General's race.  The Republican State Leadership Committee, a front group in the good graces of Karl Rove and funded by the anti-American US Chamber of Commerce, health insurers, big tobacco and manufacturing tycoons is pouring $1.6 million in an ad buy against Democratic nominee and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.
The ad... -- one of the many such entities revolving in GOP political guru Karl Rove's orbit -- targets Harris, currently the San Francisco district attorney, for her opposition to the death penalty. But it's not hard to figure what its funders really care about. The committee has lately been getting its biggest contributions from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, major health insurers, big tobacco and manufacturing interests.
So why target AG race, especially one in California? Because state Attorneys General can sue corporations on behalf of the state for gauging customers, and because they are on the front lines of campaign cash battles in the aftermath of the Citizens United decision. They will get to interpret their states' campaign finance laws in light of Citizens United. A Democratic AG like Kamala Harris is sure to make these interests jump through plenty of hoops before they are allowed to buy the California State Capitol. A Republican like Steve Cooley, the handmaiden of the big business interests, will no doubt hand over our state's electoral system to foreign corporate cash and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Edwin Bender, executive director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, notes that the attorney general races may be attracting a lot of campaign money because of the important role they will play in the future of campaign money.
That is, of course, already happening.  Harris' campaign has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission in California, charging that the spending by the out of state, super-corporate funded group running politically charged ads without disclosing their major donors is illegal under California election law.
Democrat Kamala Harris, candidate for attorney general, filed a complaint with the state's political watchdog agency today charging that a national Republican group is leading an illegal $1.6 million advertising attack against her, campaign officials announced.

Harris is targeting the lack of financial disclosure in a massive advertising blitz by the Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee during the final week of campaigning.
Not only will Cooley be the corporate call-boy, he has also promised to defend California's Proposition 8 (the anti-gay proposition bankrolled in 2008 by the Mormon church's strong arm) in federal court with state resources.  Kamala Harris has said that she will not, just as the current AG, Jerry Brown, also has refused to defend the law in court.  If we don't stand up for Kamala Harris, the GOP may actually get away with it.  A recent poll by the LA Times has Harris trailing her Republican opponent, 34 to 30 per cent.  We cannot let this happen.  We cannot let out-of-state corporate interests buy our Attorney General's seat.  We cannot afford to sell the AG's seat to a corporate conglomerate.

Stand up for Kamala Harris!  If you are in California, go vote early or mail in your ballot, marked for Kamala.  Donate.  Volunteer.  Make sure your friends and family vote.

As for qualifications, Kamala Harris is a different kind of District Attorney.  She has proven that convicting criminals and offering people a second chance are not mutually exclusive choices.  Even one of her opponents from 2003 has praised the job she has done cleaning up the San Francisco DA's office.  The conviction rate in San Francisco has risen from around 50% to over 70%.  But Harris did not demagogue crime and society. Instead, unlike most DA's she recognized that the best way to reduce crime is to prevent it.
Harris also took over and retooled the county's diversion program, called Back on Track, which offers nonviolent, first-time offenders job training and other life skills as an alternative to jail. She worked with schools to crack down on the parents of chronically truant elementary school students, children vulnerable to growing up into a life of crime.

"A district attorney will usually not take the lead on prevention. Historically, they are putting people in prison, not keeping people out of prison, and that's what makes her unique,'' said Joan Petersilia, co-director of the Stanford University Criminal Justice Center and expert on the state prison system.
This, my fellow progressives, is what a progressive DA - and AG - looks like.  She isn't just a tough as a nail prosecutor who sends criminals to jail, but also a compassionate pursuant of true justice and addressing the root causes of crime.  These prevention programs through job training are just as important to our youth as are early childhood education, and they are just as effective in reducing crime.  This alone should earn her the respect of all Californians who believe in reducing crime, in preventing it, and in building a society of productive young citizens, not feed the prison industry.

A lot of people like to criticize her for not seeking the death penalty in case of a murder of a police officer back in 2004.  What those same critics usually fail to mention is that it was thanks to her prosecution that the killer of the officer is now serving a life term in prison without the possibility of parole.

I first heard Kamala Harris speak in the 2008 California State Democratic Convention, where I was a delegate.  She spoke on behalf of Barack Obama, when many gave the skinny kid with a funny name little shot at the presidency.  She was eloquent, smart, and just like Barack Obama, she reminded us that we will only change things by believing in our own abilities to make a difference.  Just like Barack Obama, she told us we could not sit on the sidelines as history was being shaped.  But Harris had her own style, her own charisma, and her own charm that stood out in the crowd.  A woman of biracial dissent (her mother is Indian, her father Jamaican), even back then she had the ability to connect with people and understand people's concerns in a personal way - in a way that very few others do.

I may be speaking out of my league, but if she gets elected Attorney General, I would look to a bright California, down the line, with either a Governor or Senator Harris one day, and perhaps even a President Harris in a little further into the future.  I know talking about a presidential run for her right now sounds crazy.  But think back to 2000.  Did you ever think an African-American Illinois State Senator with the middle name Hussain would electrify a generation and rise to the presidency a mere eight years later?  I bet the corporate conglomerates interested in buying democracy realize this.  I bet Karl Rove realizes this.  They are trying to stop the rise of a smart, vibrant, young, all-American progressive woman before she's unstoppable.

Well, let's make her unstoppable!

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