Just days after PolitoMuse narrowly endorsed Steve Cooley’s opponent Kamala Harris as the better candidate for the State AG position in this very close race, the Los Angeles Times has broken a story raising serious questions about a major plank of Cooley’s election pitch.
In his campaign Cooley repeatedly claims to be a tough on public corruption by trumpeting his prosecution earlier this year of Bell City officials – a point we reference in our analysis of Harris and Cooley. But now the LA Times reports that three separate police offices have come forward claiming that they reported the corruption to Cooley’s office fully a year before the Bell officials were targeted (conveniently during the election year). Among the troubling reports that the officers provided to Cooley’s office: Bell authorities were seizing citizens’ cars illegally. Cooley’s office claims they never pursued those charges because they were federal violations (they offer no explanation why “theft” would be a federal charge). The officers contend that the L.A. District attorney declined to pursue the allegations, a claim at least partially supported by one deputy district attorney. When pressed, Cooley’s office concedes that they did not even forward the information to federal authorities. Check out the full article. To date, Cooley’s office has never charged Bell’s officials or police with the illegal seizures, something we found disturbing even before this more detailed information came to light.
These allegations are serious not only because they undermine a key part of Cooley’s “pitch” but also because they suggest that Cooley may not be as serious about rooting out corruption as his campaign suggests — that’s troubling because the Attorney General also functions as the “supervisor-in-chief” frequently relied upon to “police” local police forces, address claims of misconduct and pursue corrupt local officials. This breaking news strengthens our support for Harris and we urge you to vote for her as our next Attorney General.