This might be what lawyers call “situational ethics.”
Kamala Harris, the California senator fueling her presidential run with a tankful of self-righteous indignation, had no problems last week calling out a law firm by name that represented convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
But when it came to hauling in campaign cash from the same firm, she didn’t have any problems at all.
Harris isn’t shy about pointing fingers at those she feels morally superior to.
Her biggest mark of the campaign so far came from a devastating attack on former Vice President Joe Biden during last month’s debates in Miami, when she all but called him a racist to his face because of his acknowledged association with Democratic segregationists in the 1970s.
On July 9, she took her smear by association strategy in a different direction with a statement attacking Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen because both had worked for the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis in the past.
In a high-handed letter, she demanded Barr and Rosen recuse themselves from any involvement with the Epstein case.
Barr is already recused from any review of Epstein’s 2008 plea deal, and any other matters related to Kirkland & Ellis, Newsweek reported on July 8. According to the AP, Barr has said there’s no need to do so with Epstein’s current charges in New York.
Kirkland & Ellis is not representing Epstein in his current case, according to The American Lawyer.
Harris, however, claims to see a need.
“In light of your professional ties to the firm that previously represented Jeffrey Epstein… I respectfully request that you recuse yourselves from any and all matters related to his case in order to ensure and maintain the integrity of the criminal proceedings,” Harris wrote to Barr and Rosen.
“In our democracy, no one — no matter how powerful or well-connected — is above the law. Yet Epstein’s deal, secured by his lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, calls into question the integrity of our legal system and undermines the public’s confidence that justice will be served. Now that Epstein faces new charges, the Department must do everything in its power to ensure that his prosecution is fair, just, and insulated from external pressures.”
What nobility! What character! What malarkey.
As it turns out, according to The Associated Press, documents show that on the exact same day that letter was published, Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, coordinated a fundraiser for his wife’s campaign with six Kirkland & Ellis partners.
Harris being a Democrat, the AP tried to spin it as delicately as possible.
The senator’s “decision to move ahead with the fundraiser hosted by Kirkland and Ellis partners while criticizing the firm underscores the tension that can arise when a politician’s rhetoric collides with his or her need to raise money to sustain a presidential campaign,” AP reported.
Well, that’s one way to put it.
Another way to put it would be that Harris’ statements about anyone associated with the law firm were meant for public consumption only. But where it really matters – where the money is – she didn’t mean a word of it.
As Paul S. Ryan, an attorney for the group Common Cause told the AP:
“If any connection with Kirkland and Ellis is a stain on (senior Justice Department officials), why isn’t a connection with the law firm for the receipt of campaign contributions a stain on her own campaign?”
The answer is obvious. If one is true, the other is true.
But politicians – especially Democratic politicians – live in a world of situational ethics, where what’s right depends on what’s necessary.
And for Harris, money is definitely necessary at this point.
Harris spokesman Ian Sams told the AP that Kirkland & Ellis is so large, it wasn’t fair to judge the firm’s donors to the presidential campaign by the lawyers involved in the Epstein case.
“It’s an international law firm with thousands of employees, many of whom probably support Kamala Harris because she’s a tough prosecutor who actually knows how to put away predators, unlike the Trump lackeys who protect them,” Sams said.
Funny how that logic only goes one way.
Two men who work for the Trump White House are guilty of association with Kirkland & Ellis because they used to work for the law firm.
Meanwhile, partners who actually do work for the law firm are A-OK with the Harris campaign, because they’re willing to attend a fundraiser and write a check to Kamala Harris, the superior one herself.
This isn’t to say Harris is wrong to take money from donors — it is a huge firm and for whatever it’s worth, it’s been eight years since Kirkland & Ellis represented Epstein, according to The American Lawyer.
The point here is hypocrisy and the Harris campaign.
For Harris, obviously, what’s right and wrong isn’t as clear cut, as black and white, as it might have seemed to viewers when she was roasting Joe Biden in Miami.
It all depends on the situation.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.