A newly released book by Democratic senator Kamala Harris features both a passage on and picture of Larry Wallace, her longtime aide who resigned last month after a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit against him surfaced.
Wallace, who began working for Harris when she was district attorney of San Francisco and then was brought along as a top aide in both the California Department of Justice and U.S. Senate, resigned in December after it was revealed that a woman was paid a $400,000 settlement by California after she complained about consistent harassment by Wallace, the Sacramento Bee reported. The woman, his executive assistant, said Wallace put his printer under his desk and would frequently order her to crawl under the desk to put paper in it when she was wearing skirts and dresses. He denied requests for the printer to be moved elsewhere and would make her change the paper when there were other men watching in his office.
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The harassment happened while Wallace worked for Harris, and the complaint was received by the California DOJ while Harris was still attorney general, the paper reported. The settlement was reached by her successor in May 2017 once Wallace was already hired as a senior adviser for Harris's Senate office. Harris immediately accepted Wallace's resignation, her office said, adding that Harris was "unaware" of the harassment claim and takes "accusations of harassment extremely seriously."
No attempt was made by Harris to have him washed from her new book, The Truths We Hold, which was released on Tuesday ahead of her widely anticipated run for president.
A picture of Harris alongside Wallace during a trip their team took to Mexico City is featured in the book. The caption says Wallace was at the time her director of the law enforcement division.
Harris also praises Wallace in the book for his "leadership" on a team she put together tasked with developing an "implicit bias and procedural justice training program."
A spokesman for Harris did not respond to an inquiry into whether any attempt was made to have mentions of Wallace removed from the book, or even address the sexual harassment settlement in it.
Harris has faced some heat for her claim that she was unaware of the allegations against Wallace, who worked under her for 14 years before his resignation.
The editorial board at the Sacramento Bee was skeptical of her denial, but argued that, if she is to be believed, the episode still reflects badly on her management style.
"Wallace wasn't out on the periphery of Harris' staff; he was a senior aide she knew for 14 years—hardly a stranger," the paper wrote. "For Harris to flatly deny any knowledge of this settlement seems, shall we say, far-fetched."
"A second and equally troubling interpretation is that Harris isn't a terribly good manager and that her staff was insulating her from information critical to the performance of her duties," it wrote. "Part of being an elected official is not only taking strong political positions and executing them fairly, it's also being able to manage the people you entrust with responsibility."
The paper concluded by calling for a more detailed accounting of her relationship with Wallace, which is yet to come.
"Harris owes the voters more than just a four-word denial on the steps of the U.S. Senate. She should fully explain her relationship with Wallace, and, by extension, her staff and why it insulated her from an issue upon which she has taken a leading national role."