Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Anti-Pot US Prosecutor Haag
Gave to CA AG Harris, EQCA/No on 8

(U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder with Melinda Haag. Credit: AP photo.)

You can't make this stuff up.

Melinda Haag, before President Obama appointed her to serve as federal prosecutor for the Northern District of California, was a proud political animal happy to make donations to candidates and causes she believes.

Even though the donations were made before becoming part of the Obama administration, they illustrate her political engagement as a liberal Democratic partisan donor and the contributions were remembered when appointment time came. My duty is to sunshine those donations and raise the specter of a conflict of interest with California attorney general Kamala Harris, who's received $600 over her career from Haag and who is doing a lousy job of getting the feds to back off the dispensaries.

Haag's been cracking down on long-established medical marijuana dispensaries the past few months, jeopardizing the health of hundreds of patients and putting dozens of people out of work. Some reelection strategy for Obama.

When she was in private practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, in San Francisco, Haag wrote out a robust number of checks at the all levels of elective office, so let's start from the top, her federal giving.

FEC records show a total of $12,200 from Haag, of which $9,700 went to Obama and two of his related presidential campaign PACs, and the remainder went to the likes of Barbara Boxer, Evan Bayh, John Kerry, Christopher Dodd and the DNC.

At the California state level, Haag's $5,930 in donations is broken down thus: $250 to Kamala Harris for attorney general, $1,680 to her law firm's PAC, $2,000 split among Carole Migden, Phil Angelides and Janice Hahn, and her biggest single contribution in California went to Equality California and the No on 8 campaign in the amount of $2,000.

Great. She's pro-gay marriage and anti-medical marijuana. How messed up is that?

And finally, in San Francisco races she gave all of $550. Kamala Harris received $350, Susan Leal got $100 as did some guy named Larry Kane.

Let's tally up Haag's federal, state and municipal giving. It comes to $18,680. A robust chunk of change, greasing her climb up the legal political ladder.

Over the course of Harris' career, Haag has given her $600, a small amount in the grand scheme of electoral fundraising, but it's enough to demand a few questions be raised about Haag's motivations carrying out the dispensary closures and conflict of interest with the state attorney general.

If there was mainstream press scrutiny of her donations at the time Obama appointed her to the federal prosecutor's chair in Northern California, I missed it. Typical of coverage was the San Francisco Chronicle story by Bob Egelko which omitted Haag's many checks written out to politicians, including the guy who nominated her to the top ranks of the Department of Justice.

Please join the protest on Monday, January 9 at 11 am at the federal building at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, and tell Haag to cease and desist with shutting our medical marijuana dispensaries.

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