Surely, Kamala Harris expected intense scrutiny when she agreed to run for vice president, and we’re happy to oblige.
We reported on 131 pages of payroll records from the District Attorney’s Office of the City and County of San Francisco detailing payments to Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) when she was employed by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Harris, the 2020 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, worked in the San Francisco city attorney’s office from 2000-2003; she was San Francisco district attorney from 2004-2010. She was elected California attorney general in 2011.
We obtained the records in response to a pair of California Public Records Act requests.
The documents include a May 17, 2005, letter from Susie B. Sales, the Payroll/Personnel Services Division (PPSD) Officer for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDAO), notifying San Francisco Controller Johnny Zabala that Harris had improperly received incentive payments. Sales writes:
Thank you for your phone call this afternoon regarding the report that PPSD is working on with regards to identifying employees who are still receiving incentive and should not have due to changes of job classification. Kamala Harris “MAAINQ” [Municipal Attorneys Association Inequity Premium] incentive should be removed as her job classification does not allow her to receive the benefit. However, I tried to removed [sic] the “MAAINQ” from her file, but the system does not allow me to do anything. Can you look in to [sic] it in addition to the split file distribution in her records that should also be removed?
SFDAO payroll records show that, from January 2004 to early May 2005, then-District Attorney Harris apparently was paid for working for 8 hours of “regular” pay per day and 8 hours of pay classified as “04U1.” (04U1 appears to be an internal accounting code representing the “Inequity Premium” incentive she received, with 04 denoting the District Attorney.)
According to an official in the San Francisco Controller’s Office, this “inequity premium” is paid to senior attorneys in the San Francisco government and consists of an additional payment of one to three percent of the attorneys’ base salary, according to the provisions of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the city and county of San Francisco.
On January 3, 2002, while serving as deputy city attorney for San Francisco, Harris filed a “Payroll Problem Description” form saying she was paid for 40 hours one week when she should have been paid for 80 hours. Harris requested an additional payment for that week of $2,684.
On October 25, 2019, we submitted a follow-up CPRA request to the district attorney’s office, seeking additional communications about the improper payments Harris received, as well as records reflecting the total amount of the improper payments, any reimbursements she made and any disciplinary actions taken against her as a result. To date, we have not received the additional records — not even an acknowledgement from the district attorney’s office of our follow-up request.
This certainly raises a few questions about Senator Harris’s time as a prosecutor.