As you read this, keep in mind that the moment any of us in the private sector crosses the line in abusing our employer’s travel expenses — like using expense accounts for private purposes — we are shown the door. We lose our jobs and the stigma of that impropriety may follow us through the rest of our careers. The consequences are swift and severe for private citizens who break such rules.
So why do we continue to allow our elected officials to get away with such blatant and brazen behavior in their abuse of taxpayer funding?
As a public servant since 1990 when she served as a deputy district attorney, United States Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, has received a salary paid for by taxpayer dollars. With that long-standing history as a publicly compensated government official, it would be reasonable to assume that she would have a clear understanding of where the lines are drawn for using those funds.
But maybe not. Harris has run up nearly fifty thousand dollars in travel expenses — expenses that have been paid for by the city of Los Angeles.
While it is common for the city to provide security for dignitaries who visit LA, Harris has used LA funds for much more than that, according to a report by the Los Angeles affiliate NBC News 4.
“Armed, plain-clothes LAPD officers were dispatched to California cities outside of Los Angeles at least a dozen times to provide security for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris at public events, media appearances, and a party.
LA taxpayers paid for airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, and meals, according to detailed expense reports obtained by NBC News. The total cost of the trips, not including the officers’ overtime, topped $28,000.”
It’s an unprecedented move for the city to foot the bill for this kind of travel outside of LA according to a retired senior department official.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office — who usually approves such expenses for dignitaries visiting the city — was unaware of the state-wide expenditures.
Harris apparently made a habit of using LA city funds as her go-to for services as the trips took place between January 2017 when she took office in the Senate and July 2018, according to the report.
“Between January 2017 and July 2018 the records show LAPD officers flew to San Francisco at least seven times, including a trip in April 2017, when Harris gave TV interviews, a trip in March 2018 for a speech at a YMCA event, and a visit in June 2018, to escort Harris to the San Francisco Pride parade, where LAPD officers were visible in video and pictures captured along the parade route.
Officers also traveled to Sacramento, Fresno, and San Diego for Harris. The use of the officers and the purpose of the trips were confirmed by Harris’ office.”
Maybe it’s important to point out that Harris felt the need for armed protection at all as she toured her home state, considering the fact that she is an avid gun control advocate.
In February, The Washington Times reported that the NRA named her as a socialist who wants to disarm law-abiding citizens.
“Sen. Kamala Harris, who was named and blasted as a socialist by the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre during his Conservative Political Action Conference speech, fought back on Twitter, vowing the fight to reshape the nation and curb the Second Amendment was just getting started.
This is how the left sees safety and security being achieved — by disarming the law-abiding so that the criminal element has an easier time of it.”
And apparently young school children don’t deserve the same kinds of armed protection she enjoys as she schmoozes on the campaign trail and at public events.
When asked if teachers should carry weapons in schools to protect the children Harris responded: “I think that’s ridiculous.”
“You know we have many, many communities where six and seven year olds are going to sleep at night hearing gun fire. They are experiencing such trauma that is undiagnosed and untreated. Babies of our community who have regularly attended funerals of somebody who was killed as a result of gun violence. Having family members — it may have even happened in front of them, So we have enough trauma in our community that we need to deal with, without expecting our second grader is now going to go to school and look up in the front of the class at their teacher and she’s strapping a gun,” said Harris.
There is a lot to rationalize here. Using taxpayer funds for unauthorized travel expenses and security outside the authority of the mayor’s office is a big double standard to choke down.
And the entire liberal gun control argument is one I never could justify. How do you regularly hire armed security guards to escort you in public when you make school buildings full of children into gun-free zones?
It’s likely this story will fade away and Harris will suffer no consequences for crossing the line here. Public servants like Kamala Harris have gone too far off the rails when it comes to respecting the taxpayer funds that pay their salaries.
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