California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat who filed 15 felony charges against pro-life filmmakers Tuesday, previously accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood during his congressional campaigns.
Becerra announced Tuesday that the state had filed charges against David Daleiden, the founder of The Center for Medical Progress, and his associate, Sandra Merritt, for their roles in the release of a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood employees appearing to negotiate the price of aborted fetal body parts.
Profiting from the sale of human body parts — including those of the unborn — is illegal under federal law. Planned Parenthood denied illegal conduct and applauded the indictment of the pro-life filmmakers.
You cannot target women, Planned Parenthood patients, or expert health care providers without consequences.… https://t.co/jZNSOfo7WP— Planned Parenthood Action (@Planned Parenthood Action) 1490813076.0
According to the Washington Examiner, Becerra, who previously served in the House of Representatives, received campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood during his congressional campaigns. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that Becerra received $2,000 from Planned Parenthood during his 2012 campaign, and $1,000 in 2014.
When Becerra was appointed to be California's attorney general by the state's Gov. Jerry Brown (D) late last year, Planned Parenthood released a statement praising him as "a long-time champion for women's reproductive rights and health."
Becerra’s predecessor, Kamala Harris, who now represents California as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate, received $2,600 from Planned Parenthood during her 2016 Senate campaign, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Harris had a history of working on behalf of Planned Parenthood's agenda.
As attorney general, she spearheaded an investigation into The Center for Medical Progress. Daleiden said last April that Harris’ office raided his home and seized his video footage.
Emails obtained by the Washington Times in September showed that Harris’ office also collaborated with Planned Parenthood to draft legislation criminalizing the recording or distribution of a private conversation with a health care provider, targeting The Center for Medical Progress. The emails showed a Harris staffer asking Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, to review the text of the bill.
The bill was signed into law by Brown.
Harris vowed to defend Planned Parenthood as a senator and urged supporters to sign a petition in defense of the group on her campaign website.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that both attorneys general received thousands of additional funds from other pro-choice groups allied with Planned Parenthood during their congressional campaigns.
Becerra’s office did not immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment about the campaign contributions.
Daleiden’s attorney, Tom Brejcha, who is also president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, said in a statement provided to TheBlaze, "When it comes to felony charges against our client, David Daleiden, history is on our side.”
“When David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were falsely charged in Texas, after they mounted a vigorous defense, the charges were abruptly dropped. We expect that the same will prove true in California,” Brejcha said.
Lila Rose, the president and founder of the pro-life group Live Action, which has also released undercover footage of Planned Parenthood employees, said in a statement that “using state power to attack citizen journalists who expose crimes against the defenseless is a severe miscarriage of justice”:
The real criminal is Planned Parenthood, not David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. The Center for Medical Progress did a tremendous service by exposing the barbaric baby parts trafficking that Planned Parenthood had kept hidden behind closed doors. They should be lauded for their brave work, not punished.
California’s last two pro-abortion attorneys general have yet to investigate Planned Parenthood after two congressional committees found significant evidence that it may have broken the law with its baby parts trafficking scheme. Similar charges against David and Sandra were dropped in Texas months ago, yet Mr. Becerra insists on punishing them and putting his political agenda ahead of the laws that he was sworn to uphold.