Men Paid More Than Women in Kamala Harris's Senate Office and Campaign

Under Harris plan, companies would face major fines for even a 1% pay gap

Kamala Harris / Getty Images
May 21, 2019

A new plan from Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) to eliminate the gender pay gap would fine companies if they are unable to prove they're paying men and women equally, something Harris isn't currently achieving in either her official office or on her campaign, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found.

The policy proposal from Harris mandates large companies to obtain an "equal pay certification" by showing they are paying men and women equally. Companies would be fined 1 percent of their daily profits for every 1 percent of a gender pay gap that exists, unless they could prove the gap could be explained by other factors, such as experience or performance.

The California senator and presidential contender has some explaining to do.

Analysis found men were paid a higher median salary than women both in Harris's Senate office and on her campaign.

In her Senate office's most recent six-month disclosure, covering the period from April 1, 2018, through Sept. 31, 2018, the median male salary disbursement was $34,999 and the median female salary disbursement was $32,999, leaving women with just 94 cents of every dollar paid to men.

The gender pay gap for the previous six-month period, during which the median male salary was $27,167 and the median female salary was $25,749.97, was a nearly identical 6 percent.

The pay gap was even greater during the first full month of Harris's presidential campaign in February—the median female salary disbursement for the month, $5,763.97, was about 87 percent of the median male salary disbursement, $6,632.23, a further analysis of her campaign filing found.

The Harris campaign came closer to gender pay equality in March, when the median female disbursement was about 95 percent of the median male disbursement.

As with previous Free Beacon gender pay gap investigations on politicians such as two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and current presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, only staffers employed for the entirety of the pay periods were included in the calculations.

It is unclear based on the available information whether men and women were paid equally for equal work—both Senate offices and campaign are required only to disclose how much money is disbursed to individuals, not details such as annual salaries or hours worked.

A spokesman for Harris's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the gender pay gaps in her Senate office and on her campaign, and whether either would be granted "equal pay certification" under her proposed system.

In her proposal, the burden would be on companies to prove they are not discriminating based on gender.

"For too long, we've put the burden entirely on workers to hold corporations accountable for pay discrimination," her website explains. "We've let corporations hide their wage gaps, but forced women to stand up in court just to get the pay they've earned. It's time to flip the script and finally hold corporations accountable for pay inequality in America."

Harris called her plan "the most aggressive equal pay proposal in history."