Home / US / Kamala Harris began her political career with a $ 120,000 sponsorship job from her boyfriend Willie Brown

Kamala Harris began her political career with a $ 120,000 sponsorship job from her boyfriend Willie Brown

Kamala Harris & # 39; s first important political role was the appointment of her then-powerful friend Willie Brown, who was three decades older, to a medical panel in California that was criticized as a landing pad for patronage jobs and setbacks.

Then 30, Harris was friends with 60-year-old Willie Brown when he was appointed to the California Medical Assistance Commission in 1994. The position paid over $ 70,000 a year, $ 120,700 in current funds and Harris were on the board until 1998.

The Medical Commission met twice a month, and Harris, a United States Senator for California since 201

7 and now a Democratic presidential candidate for 2020, missed approximately 20% of the meetings each year. According to records of the commission obtained from the Washington Examiner .

The seven-member board consisted mostly of former civil servants who had retired late or had a wait before retirement. Harris was about three decades younger than he was 30 years old.

Harris (54) and Brown (85) began appearing in numerous high-profile roles in the spring of 1994, including Brown's lavish parties and galas. He has been separated from his wife Blanche Vitero since the 1980s but is no longer divorced and has had a number of girlfriends over the years.

In June 1994, Harris resigned as Deputy Prosecutor in the District Attorney's Office in Alameda County, where she worked for four years after completing law school. Brown appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a position that paid $ 97,000 annually, which would equal $ 167,000 in 2019. Five months later, Harris resigned from the insurance office and Brown immediately appointed her to the California Medical Assistance Commission.

Brown wrote in a letter to Harris that he was "pleased" to appoint her to the board, overseeing the payment of insurers for state-subsidized MediCal recipients. "I am confident that your knowledge and experience will make a significant contribution to the important work of the Commission," he wrote.

<img src = "https://mediadc.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/b468f1d/2147483647/strip/true/crop/455×257+0+0/resize/455×257!/quality/90/?url= https% 3A% 2F% 2Fmediadc.brightspotcdn.com% 2Fbe% 2F27% 2Fd438102242b4995f7f0b6926ad7d% 2Fimg-0289.jpg "alt =" Harris had no medical background Brown at the time, according to a copy of her resume she submitted consisted of four years as deputy prosecutor, a handful of summer jobs and internships, and a volunteer position in a hospital fundraising group.

According to government records at the time, members of the committee had to be selected from individuals with experience in managing hospital services, risk management insurance or prepaid health programs the provision of health services, the administration of district health systems, and a representative of beneficiaries. "

Brown's decision to e-Harris "Both panels are reserved for political repayment or occasionally for personal rewards for personal service," said Brett Granlund, a former Republican State deputy in California who had worked closely with the commission while Harris was on the board was appointments, as they do not require work or insurance policies and receive the equivalent of a full-time senator for ar I meet each month for a one to two hour meeting.

Granlund said the appointment seemed outrageous at the time because Harris and Brown were in a relationship. "Screwing the speaker has its rewards," he said. "Stevie Wonder could have seen through this piece."


Sandra Smoley, a nurse who worked for the California Medical Assistance Commission from 1999 to 2004, said many respondents did not have a doctor background and there were no appointment criteria.

"I had a health background, but [the commission] was not necessarily health related," she said. Smoley said that the commission was led primarily by unnamed staff working full-time from one office and handling all negotiations with hospitals.

Although the medical commission has since been dissolved, Smoley said the board had done some important work at the time. Her role was supervision. "I think the work of the Commission has been very positive," she said. "The work we've done has been necessary, and I think it has affected access to MediCal's care and cost containment of hospital costs."

Brown recently announced in a statement released for the San Francisco Chronicle that he "may have influenced Harris' career." Yes, we've arranged to meet. It was more than 20 years ago. Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her as spokesperson for the Assembly in two state commissions, "he wrote.

He found that he had helped other politicians Throughout his career, he said Harris was the only one who, after helping her, sent a message that I would be charged if I was as good as jaywalking in her time as a prosecutor & # 39 ;, he added, "This is politics for you "Brown was one of the most powerful politicians in California when he and Harris began their relationship, having been a member of the California State Assembly for three decades, half of that time as their spokesman, and later serving as mayor of San Francisco A charismatic and bright politician, Brown was also known for his variety of attractive girlfriends and the apparent inability to stay with a woman for a long time.

Ob Although he was exposed to several allegations of pay and corruption during his tenure as Speaker and Mayor, several FBI investigations were unsuccessful and he was never charged. ” data-image-size=”fixed”/>

Harris was first described as the accused "Speaker's new steady" in a column written in March 1994 by late San Francisco gossip columnist Herb Caen, a close friend of Brown. Photos from the time that come from Brown's personal archives in San Francisco show how the couple makes themselves comfortable and dances at parties, including Brown's birthday and his annual celebration known as "The Reunion."

According to Caen's column, friends of the couple hoped that Harris Brown could convince them to finally settle. To their surprise, the two broke up shortly after Brown was elected mayor of San Francisco.

"This news has shocked many, including those who found Kamala Harris attractive, intelligent and charming," wrote Caen on December 26, 1995. What Playboy's tendencies are all about in the carefree personality of the elected mayor.

The divorce happened after Brown met 32-year-old Socialist Carolyn Carpeneti from San Francisco, with whom he would later have a daughter. As the two met, Carpeneti received $ 2.33 million in campaign work from a network of non-profit groups and committees run by Brown and his associates, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"If this does not cross the line, it's terribly close to coming," said Jim Knox, executive director of California Common Cause, then told the San Francisco Chronicle: "At least it seems questionable that [Carpeneti] in their role As a private campaign, a public resource can be freely used as a counselor. "

It was not the last time that Brown was tested to gauge the benefits to women with whom he made an appointment She was later hired as marketing director for city commissions after Brown became mayor.

Brown also continued after her breakup with Harris' political career and successfully supported her campaign for the district attorney in 2003. In public, Harris tried to distance himself from the mayor of San Francisco.

In a weekly profile of San Francisco in 2003, she called Brown an "albatross hanging around my neck," straining his hands and narrowing his eyes. "Harris said," His career is over; I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years. I owe him nothing … Willie Brown will not be around. He's gone – hello guys, keep going. Brown recently joked before the Washington Examiner that if Harris wins the presidential election, he would have to "leave the country".

Harris's campaign did not respond to commentary requests.

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