Maya Harris, the sister of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, reportedly participated in a spate of meetings and discussions with Democratic allies in a bid to boost her husband's candidacy for the post of attorney general in President-elect Joe Biden's administration. According to reports, Maya Harris has been working aggressively behind the scenes to lobby for her husband, Tony West, for the coveted role.
West is the chief legal officer at Uber and has served as the deputy US associate general in Obama administration. However, he came to prominence through his marriage with Maya Harris, thus making him the brother-in-law of Kamala Harris.
Giving Her Best Shot
West has been a contender for attorney general since the time Biden won the Presidential election. In fact, allies have proposed his name time and again over the past few days for the nation's top law enforcement official. However, others have ruled out his name given that he is related to Kamala Harris. Moreover, his role at Uber has also been questioned as the ride-hailing company faced a series of lawsuits in recent years.
His failure in handling the legal problems faced by Uber has cast doubt over his candidacy but more than anything are the family ties that have been questioned. But that hasn't stopped his wife from lobbying for West.
Maya herself has been associated with Democratic politics and is a seasoned player. Besides serving as chair of her sister's presidential campaign, she was one of the three senior policy advisors to Hillary Clinton on her 2016 campaign. Prior to that, she was with the Ford Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Although Kamala Harris hasn't commented anything on this, the two sisters are extremely close and many Democratic aides are in favor of West becoming the attorney general, according to a report in Politico. However, despite sharing a close relationship with her sister, Maya Harris didn't hold any official position in Biden's campaign after her sister's nomination.
However, a Kamala Harris aide told Politico that Maya Harris is not waging a campaign for her husband as the next attorney general but it's only that the couple requested and participated in an ethics briefing to ensure they would abide by all Biden transition guidelines.
West may not be the best of the choices for the topmost law enforcement role but Maya Harris, reportedly, has been working hard to make that happen. For West, it definitely will be a big achievement given that his past laurels aren't that noteworthy.
All in the Family
West, although not the preferred choice for many, still does have quite a few supporters. One among them is civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake. In an op-ed in USA Today that appeared last month, Crump wrote: "In my view, there is no one more uniquely qualified for this role given this significant moment in history than Tony West, the brother-in-law of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris."
But besides that West is still a nonstarter for many Democrats. He had worked in a senior role in PepsiCo before moving to Uber but his achievements have been limited. In fact, many have actually cast doubt over his role given the legal hassles Uber has been facing over the years.
Moreover, West may be backed by his wife and some Democrats but he definitely doesn't feature in Biden's top picks. Biden's top contenders for attorney general include former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson and Alabama Senator Doug Jones, who lost his reelection bid in November.
Maya Harris' lobbying may have raised a few eyebrows but pushing a family member for a top role in the Presidential administration isn't new. President Donald Trump has been one of the biggest examples of this. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are both top advisers to the president.
That said, it's now just a matter of days when one gets to know who Biden chooses for the nation's topmost law enforcement official.