Sen. Kamala Harris insisted earlier this month that she was “unaware” of the harassment allegations against her top aide during her time as California’s Attorney General, but the agency that she oversaw: California's Department of Justice was informed about the complaint three months before she exited in early 2017, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Larry Wallace, the longtime aide who went to Washington with Harris, resigned earlier this month after the newspaper asked about the 2017 settlement with Danielle Hartley, a woman who made the accusations. Harris’ senate office said the senator had no knowledge of the alleged harassment.
"We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously. This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator, and she accepted it."
“We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously,” Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams said. “This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator, and she accepted it.”
On Friday, Harris – who’s mulling her 2020 presidential run – told the newspaper that she took “full responsibility for what happened in my office.”
She went on to reiterate that she wasn’t aware of the allegations against Wallace and said she was “frustrated” by the “breakdown” in the system.
“That’s what makes me upset about this. There’s no question I should have been informed about this. There’s no question. And there were ample opportunities when I could have been informed,” she added.
"That’s what makes me upset about this. There’s no question I should have been informed about this. There’s no question. And there were ample opportunities when I could have been informed."
But some expressed skepticism that Harris had no idea of the harassment caused by Wallace. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a tweet that the senator was either “lying or grossly incompetent.”
“No one is buying Kamala Harris’s claim she didn’t know her top aide of 14 yrs was accused of sexual harassment, resulting in a $400K settlement,” she wrote.
According to the report, an intake form from the Equal Employment Rights and Resolution Office, which administers the issues concerning discrimination at the state DOJ, reveals that the department was alerted on Oct. 3, 2016 that Hartley will pursue legal action.
Hartley had also already requested the right to sue from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Bee reported. Her complaint, filed a month earlier, detailed the allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation – naming Wallace and “those who worked for him” as the culprit.
The lawsuit filed by the woman alleged that Wallace demeaned her based on her gender while she worked for him as his assistant.
She said Wallace placed his computer printer under his desk and often asked her to crawl under and refill it with paper as he sat and watched, sometimes with other men in the room. Wallace refused to move the printer to another location when Hartley asked him to do so, according to the suit.
The lawsuit also claims Wallace instructed Hartley to run his personal errands such as booking flights for his children and washing and performing maintenance on his car. When she would return from the assigned tasks, the lawsuit states, “co-workers would make hostile comments to her including, ‘Are you walking the walk of shame?’”
Hartley claims she tried to solve the matter internally, reporting the harassment allegations in 2011, but this only prompted retaliations against her. She was involuntarily transferred to another office at the state Department of Justice at the end of 2014, the suit said.
The lawsuit was settled for $400,000 in May 2017, just two months after Wallace went to work for Harris as her senior adviser.