Calif. AG hopeful gives campaign another $4 million

By Chris Rizo | Apr 27, 2010

Chris Kelly (D)

Kamala Harris (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California attorney general hopeful Chris Kelly has contributed an additional $4 million to his campaign war chest, the Democrat said Tuesday.

Kelly, former chief privacy officer for Facebook, had previously contributed $4 million, in the form of two checks, one in March and the first in December. Kelly's latest check brings his total contribution to his effort to succeed Jerry Brown as the state's chief legal officer to $8 million.

In a statement, Kelly, a political neophyte, said the money is part of his continued commitment to running an "aggressive campaign" to reach voters ahead of the June 8 Democratic primary.

"As the only non-politician in this race, I have never been the establishment candidate and will not be beholden to any special interests," he said. "My priority as attorney general will always be ensuring public safety for all Californians."

Kelly is one of six Democrats running in the Democratic primary for attorney general.

Meanwhile, there are three candidates vying for the Republican nomination: Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, state Sen. Tom Harmon of Huntington Beach and John Eastman, the former dean of Chapman University Law School of Orange.

While the GOP contest is widely between Cooley and Eastman, the Democratic frontrunner appears to be San Francisco Attorney General Kamala Harris, whom Kelly has rapped repeatedly over the growing drug theft scandal at the San Francisco Police Department's crime lab.

He has chided Harris for being on the East Coast raising campaign cash instead of being in her office dealing with the fallout from the scandal, which could affect 1,000 cases. A statement today noted that Harris has recently made separate trips to Washington and New York as fundraising missions.

"Harris's pattern is to skip town on fundraising junkets when the going gets rough on her day job," the statement quipped.

For its part, the Harris campaign has criticized Kelly for his role as Facebook's chief privacy officer, saying in the beginning of the campaign he touted his role at the Internet-based company but now avoids mentioning his Facebook roots.

According to Harris's chief strategist Brian Brokaw: "The guy who paved the legal route for the further degradation of your online privacy has opted-out of his hard-earned Facebook job title."

In a statement to reporters, Brokaw noted that today four U.S. senators called on Facebook to tighten its privacy policy amid concerns over recent changes that would, among other things, allow third parties to save information about Facebook users and their friends on the network.

The Democratic senators -- Charles Schumer of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska and Al Franken of Minnesota -- outlined their concerns in a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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