California Attorney General Kamala Harris is facing conflict-of-interest accusations after launching a raid on pro-life activist David Daleiden’s apartment even as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate on a pro-Planned Parenthood platform.
Ms. Harris, a longtime Planned Parenthood supporter seeking the Democratic Senate nomination, includes on her campaign website a petition asking voters to “take a stand and join Kamala in defending Planned Parenthood.”
“Voting to strip federal funding from an organization that provides vital health services to 2.7 million Americans is the epitome of dysfunction,” says the Harris petition.
Meanwhile, agents from her office searched Mr. Daleiden’s apartment Tuesday in Orange County, seizing his laptop and multiple hard drives while attempting to take his phone as he was speaking to his attorneys, according to sources close to Mr. Daleiden, lead investigator for the pro-life Center for Medical Progress.
The center ignited an outcry last year with the release of hidden-camera footage showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting of and billing for fetal tissue obtained from abortions for medical research.
The reaction from Mr. Daleiden’s corner was swift, with one of his attorneys describing the raid as “an oppressive abuse of government power.”
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“To storm into a private citizen’s home with a search warrant is outrageously out of proportion for the type of crime alleged. It’s a discredit to law enforcement, an oppressive abuse of government power,” Matt Heffron, a former federal prosecutor in Phoenix and now a legal adviser to Mr. Daleiden, said in a Wednesday statement.
Another conservative known for his hidden-camera investigations, Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe, came to Mr. Daleiden’s defense Wednesday, arguing that the “retaliation” by Ms. Harris “represents a direct attack on journalists who speak truth to power.”
“It is no secret that Harris is in bed with Planned Parenthood,” Mr. O’Keefe said. “Her 2014 AG campaign received donations from multiple Planned Parenthood PACs and her 2016 U.S. Senate race has already received personal donations from senior Planned Parenthood players.”
Mr. Daleiden has also challenged Ms. Harris’s objectivity, calling her the “bought-and-paid-for AG” who has “refused to enforce the law against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them — while at the same time doing their bidding to harass and intimidate citizen journalists.”
Brenda Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said in an email Wednesday, “I can’t comment on any ongoing investigation.”
The search warrant was issued for materials related to the video footage of Dr. Deb Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior director of medical services, and Dr. Mary Gatter, president of PPFA’s medical directors counsel, according to the Daleiden camp.
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In an undercover video released last year, Dr. Nucatola said that she would use different, “less crunchy techniques” to obtain intact fetal tissue better suited for medical research, even though federal forbids any alteration of the “timing, method or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy … solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue.”
“I guess ‘Crush below, crush above, and see if I can get it all intact’ and ‘less crunchy techniques’ of abortion for baby parts harvesting have the full support of Attorney General Kamala Harris in California,” said Mr. Daleiden in a Wednesday statement.
Ms. Harris, who’s is facing U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, has come under pressure in recent weeks to target Mr. Daleiden after saying in July she would review the CMP investigation.
Supporters of Planned Parenthood cheered when Mr. Daleiden and a second investigator were indicted in January by a Texas grand jury on charges related to their undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
Both have pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the use of fake driver’s licenses for purposes of the investigation, and Mr. Daleiden has also denied a second charge of attempting to procure human organs.
“But what’s taking California so long?” Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian asked in a March 25 op-ed urging Ms. Harris to take action, criticizing her “apparent lack of urgency” and arguing that targeting the center would help, not hurt, the Democrat’s Senate campaign.
“It’s not as if a California Democrat has anything to lose by protecting abortion rights,” Ms. Abcarian said.