*On the day that California Senator Kamala Harris announces that she will be running for President of the United State in 2020, there are still some unanswered questions that loom in the wake of a resurfaced lawsuit that settled in 2016. As a staunch supporter of the #MeToo movement and other progressive movements that back women and underserved demographics, it seems that Mrs. Harris’s DOJ office was dealing with its own scandal. However, it doesn’t seem as clear cut as you would think and her reluctance to address it makes it even more questionable.
On December 30, 2016, after Kamala Harris won the Senate seat that she now holds, Danielle Hartley, an executive assistant at the time, filed a harassment suit against the California Department of Justice stating that she was harassed because of her gender. She had been with DOJ since 2006. She started working with Larry Wallace and Rick Lopes in 2011 as an EA. After 5 years within her position, she filed a lawsuit against DOJ. Even though the media has highlighted the portions that relate to Larry Wallace while he was the director of the Division of Law Enforcement, there are many different claims that Danielle makes that have nothing to do with him.
Larry Wallace, a former Berkeley police detective and special agent for the Department of Justice in San Francisco, also served as Harris’ liaison with law enforcement. Mr. Wallace has helped to build support for Kamala Harris over the years with major police groups. They have worked hand in hand to implement what they would call “Smart on Crime” way of doing things means that there would be collaboration working with local entities and other forms of law enforcement, other groups within the community, not simply a lock-’em up-and-throw-away-the-key approach. Their bond was so close that Wallace’s daughter became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., following in the footsteps of Senator Kamala Harris.
In an interview with the LA Sentinel, Larry Wallace described his career working with Harris, stating, “I spent six years in charge of Kamala Harris’ special operations program, major fraud, witness relocation, and assistance program, and trial preparation unit.”
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey is a new book released by Senator Kamala Harris. In the book, there is a photograph of Harris with Wallace where she praises Wallace’s “leadership” while devising an “implicit bias and procedural justice training program,” according to the Washington Free Beacon. Over the years, it can be said that Wallace and Harris have a very close relationship. He is a part of her inner-circle. Former employees that refuse to be named affirm that Harris and Wallace were incredibly close. Larry Wallace managed her security team and frequently escorted her to public events throughout the state and handled threats against her and supported all fallen officers in California on her behalf.
So, now the question becomes, did Senator Harris not know the person that she had been working so closely with or were these accusations unfounded. The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 30, 2016, when Harris was still attorney general but preparing to be sworn in as California’s newly elected Democratic senator. It was settled less than five months later, in May 2017, by Xavier Becerra, who was appointed to replace her as attorney general. The department flat out and boldly denied “generally and specifically each and every allegation contained in the complaint.” Becerra and two of his deputies said the department took “reasonable steps to prevent and correct workplace harassment” by instituting procedures for harassment and training Hartley on the policy. Becerra wrote. “Had Plaintiff taken reasonable effort to utilize these procedures of Plaintiff’s alleged harm, injury or damages would have been avoided, in whole or in part.” In an email, an unidentified spokesperson wrote, “this case was handled in keeping with standard procedure.”
Why over 18 months later would this case resurface? One could guess that it’s because somebody had an idea that Kamala Harris would likely throw her hat in the ring for the presidency and something like this would trip her up. That still does not explain why Senator Harris would not come out and condemn or defend her longtime friend and colleague. When asked if she had been aware of the allegations against Wallace, who had worked for her for fourteen years, Harris’ response was vague and did not represent the official response of her former department. She stated that she did not know about the allegations. She has since called it “deeply unsettling and sad” and making it clear that she takes “full responsibility for what happened in (her) office.”
After further investigation, no other complaints or evidence of any type of inappropriate behavior by Larry Wallace has ever been reported or alleged, personally or professionally. “As far as we could find, this was the only public accusation of inappropriate behavior by Larry Wallace.” ~Alexei Koseff, The Sacramento Bee
With over 10 years with the Department of Justice, it could be assumed that Danielle Hartley has made her share of friends within the department. It seems strange that there is not one person that can confirm her declarations of mistreatment. However, it is obvious that loyalty to Senator Kamala Harris still rests with her long-time protector. Once this case resurfaced with a vengeance on December 5th, 2018 in The Sacramento Bee, Kamala Harris Aide Resigns After Harassment, Retaliation Settlement Surfaces, Larry Wallace immediately resigned, falling on the sword, likely knowing that Ms. Harris would be throwing her hat in the ring for the highest office in the land, making it easier for her.
For our new presidential candidate, much of her career has been with Larry Wallace by her side and sometimes leading the way. “I believe that the American people want someone that will fight on their behalf,” Harris stated on Good Morning America when she made her announcement. With no evidence that Larry Wallace has committed any inappropriate offenses, who was fighting on his behalf? Now that Senator Harris has announced her candidacy and intentions, there we may get a clearer understanding of her position down the line. For many hard-working Americans, it is important to know that when it’s time to take a stand, we will have somebody that will stand up for the truth and a just outcome for all.
Tonya McKenzie is a PR Consultant & freelance journalist covering politics, youth issues, and non-fiction authors. She is based in Redondo Beach, CA. Contact her at [email protected].