Earlier this month, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she had no knowledge of harassment allegations against her top aide while she was serving as Attorney General in the state. But the California Department of Justice, the agency she oversaw, knew about the complaint three months before Harris left her position in 2017, the Sacramento Bee reported.
What were the allegations?
The lawsuit involved discrimination and retaliation allegations against Larry Wallace, one of Harris' top aides. Wallace's former executive assistant filed the lawsuit shortly before Harris was sworn into the U.S. Senate, according to the report. The lawsuit was later settled for $400,000.
Records from the Equal Employment Rights and Resolution Office showed that the justice department was notified on Oct. 3, 2016 that the assistant, Danielle Hartley, planned to pursue legal action, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Hartley's complaint, filed in late September, alleged sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation by "Wallace and those who worked for him," according to the news outlet. The lawsuit "named the Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement, as respondent and Wallace, the division's director, as a co-respondent."
On the EERR form, Hartley alleged "discrimination, harassment, retaliation, demotion," and other violations of federal equal employment law. Wallace was named as her division chief. The complaint alleged Wallace frequently ordered her to crawl under his desk to change the paper and ink in his printer. It also claimed he retaliated when she complained.
Hartley's attorney sought the immediate right to sue and an intake analyst wrote on the form that no action was immediately required. It was filed under "Intake Results."
The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 30, 2016, and reportedly settled for $400,000 in May 2017. Wallace resigned his position last week, the news outlet reported.
What reason was given?
Harris, who has ambitions to run for president in 2020, told the newspaper last week that she accepted "full responsibility for what happened" in her office. She said she wasn't briefed on the complaint against Wallace and called it a communication breakdown.
"That's what makes me upset about this," Harris told the Bee. "There's no question I should have been informed about this. There's no question. And there were ample opportunities when I could have been informed."
A Harris spokesperson told Fox News: "We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously. This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator, and she accepted it."
Harris has actively spoken in support of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Harris was elected as a U.S. Senator in California in 2016. She began her career in California politics in the 1990s as a local district attorney.