A long-serving staffer of Democratic Senator Kamala Harris has resigned over harassment allegations.
Larry Wallace stepped down after the Sacramento Bee questioned him over a 2017 $400,000 harassment settlement with his former executive assistant, Danielle Hartley.
The settlement dates back to when Wallace was the director of the Division of Law Enforcement at the California Department of Justice. Harris was Attorney General at the time.
According to a lawsuit against the Department of Justice dated 2016 seen by the Sacramento Bee, Hartley accused Wallace of harassing and demeaning her “due to her gender.”
Wallace allegedly fitted a printer beneath his desk, and demanded Hartley tend to the ink or paper daily – often while he was sat at his desk or in front of other senior male members of staff.
Hartley, who was hired as Wallace’s assistant in 2011, claimed he refused her request to move the printer to another location in the office.
Wallace also allegedly diverted Hartley from “meaningful” work, and instead asked her to complete personal errands such as fixing his car. Colleagues would subsequently ask if she was “walking the walk of shame,” after completing the tasks.
When she complained, Hartley claims she was effectively pushed out and told by senior management to quit her job.
Hartley said the harassment trigger panic attacks, depression, and a pinched nerve which required surgery.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, Harris had recently been elected as California’s Democratic senator, and was about to transition from attorney general to her new role. Wallace had previously worked for Harris when she was San Francisco district attorney, and as a detective for the Oakland Police Department prior to that.
The case was settled in May 2017, when Harris had appointed Wallace as a senior advisor. Harris apparently did not know about the allegations when she gave him the position.
Lily Adams, a spokeswoman for Harris, told the Sacramento Bee: “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.”
The Department of Justice denied “each and every allegation” in a response to the lawsuit and settled in May 2017 $400,000 while maintaining its denial.
The representatives of Wallace, Harris and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Department of Justice told the Sacramento Bee it would not comment on a personnel matter. Wallace did not respond to a request for comment from the newspaper.
The details of the settlement emerged amid speculation Harris has her sights set on the White House in 2020, particularly after she entered the national spotlight through her involvement in Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, Harris said she intended to consider the “very serious” decision of running for president in 2020 during the holiday season.
Commenting on the race which would involve the incumbent President Donald Trump, among others, she commented “Let’s be honest. It’s going to be ugly,” she said. “When you break things, it is painful. And you get cut. And you bleed.”
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