Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is being slammed by Latino activists for refusing to investigate the Ponzi scheme operated by nutritional supplement marketer Herbalife in exchange for what amounts to bribes masquerading as “donations” from Herbalife lobbyist Heather Podesta.
At the time, Harris was the Attorney General of California.
Heather Podesta was then married to Tony Podesta, the high-powered lobbyist with longstanding ties to Hillary Clinton. Tony’s brother, John Podesta, was the campaign manager for Hillary 2016 presidential campaign.
Refused Multiple Pleas to Investigate Herbalife
During her tenure as California attorney general, Kamala Harris refused to investigate the fraudulent pyramid scheme operated by Herbalife, which is accused of exploiting the Latino community. The Washington Free Beacon noted:
“Herbalife’s records indicate that at least 60% of the company’s distributors are Spanish-speaking Hispanics. And the total number of Hispanics might be as high as 80% when bilingual and English speakers are included.”
In 2013, the League of United Latin American Citizens and four other groups urged Harris to investigate Herbalife for fraud.
Harris denied their request without explanation, even though similar investigations were occurring elsewhere around the country.
Podesta Gave Hefty Donations to Harris
In 2015, prosecutors in the San Diego office of the California attorney general sent a lengthy memo urging Harris to investigate Herbalife for deceptive marketing practices.
However, she refused. And this may be why: Documents obtained by Yahoo News show that:
“About three weeks after the San Diego letter was sent, Harris received the first of three donations to her campaign for the U.S. Senate from Heather Podesta, the powerful Washington lobbyist whose ex-husband Tony’s firm, then called the Podesta Group, had worked for Herbalife since 2013.
Heather Podesta’s own lobbying firm, Heather Podesta and Partners, would soon be hired by Herbalife, too.
Harris did not pursue an investigation — even as the Federal Trade Commission proceeded with an investigation of its own — which had been opened the previous March, and which suggested that sufficient grounds for such scrutiny did exist.
The San Diego letter had meticulously laid out those grounds, pointing out that Herbalife presented itself to the public as a lawful enterprise, but that it could nevertheless be “engaged in less obvious conduct” that potentially harmed both Herbalife distributors and Herbalife customers.
Allegations of such conduct, by 2015, had become commonplace in media reports.”
Latino Activist: ‘It’s Disgusting’
“It’s disgusting,” said Latino anti-Herbalife activist Julie Contreras. “Kamala Harris did a huge injustice.”
In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission won a $200 million settlement from Herbalife for its long history of fraud. Other states that sued Herbalife also received settlements, while California sat on its hands — thanks to its attorney general Kamala Harris.
Latino activists and legal experts say Harris should have prosecuted Herbalife herself when repeatedly asked.
Harris’ Top Aide Accused of Sexual Harassment
This isn’t the first time that Harris has been accused of turning a blind eye to crimes committed by those close to her.
As California attorney general, Harris also did nothing when one of her top aides was forced to pay out $400,000 to settle a 2016 sexual harassment claim. That senior aide worked for Harris even after she became a U.S. Senator.
He resigned in December 2018 — only after his sexual harassment settlement was revealed in the press.
Kamala Harris — a junior senator who assumed office in 2017 — rose to fame this year after viciously attacking Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation, when he was smeared with sham, 11th hour sexual misconduct claims.
More #MeToo hypocrisy: Longtime top aide to Democrat Senator Kamala Harris resigns after paying $400,000 in sexual harassment lawsuit.
California's Democrat Trump-hating attorney general, Xavier Becerra, blamed the victim.https://t.co/WVQlSiv9Yz
— Samantha Chang (@samantha_chang) December 6, 2018