A week after Sen. Kamala Harris announce that she was running for president, on a weekend when the California Democrat held a big rally in her hometown of Oakland, the former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, confessed that Harris was once his mistress.
Brown, 84, also stated that he used his influence to essentially launch her political career.
In a weekly column Brown does for the San Francisco Chronicle that was focused on Harris’ presidential run, he spoke of an extramarital affair he said he had with Harris.
Almost as an afterthought, in a segment titled “Elephant in the Room,” Brown wrote:
I’ve been peppered with calls from the national media about my “relationship” with Kamala Harris, most of which I have not returned.
Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago. Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker.
And I certainly helped with her first race for district attorney in San Francisco. I have also helped the careers of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and a host of other politicians.
The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I “so much as jaywalked” while she was D.A.
That’s politics for ya.
The affair ended in 1995, just before Brown was elected mayor, The Washington Free Beacon reported, but the two remained political allies.
Brown, thirty years her senior, rewarded Harris with two lucrative appointments, earning her over $400,000 in a five year period, according to the online news source, which cited the SF Weekly.
The positions were on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the California Medical Assistance Commission.
Harris also received a BMW as a gift from her then-lover, The Free Beacon noted.
In a 2003 interview with SF Weekly, Harris defended her good fortune and the lack of experience she brought to the positions — she was just a few years out of law school.
“Whether you agree or disagree with the system, I did the work,” she said. “I brought a level of life knowledge and common sense to the jobs.”
Turns out, Brown, who Bill Clinton once called the “real Slick Willie,” was quite the player in his day, as seen in a 1996 People magazine profile:
Named one of the world’s 10 sexiest men by Playgirl magazine in 1984, he “has had a succession of girlfriends,” according to James Richardson, a Sacramento Bee reporter whose biography of Brown hits stores next fall. “The measure of his flamboyance is he’ll go to a party with his wife on one arm and his girlfriend on the other.” As for Brown, he only requests that his date “absolutely be the best-dressed woman in the room.”