At first, it looked like a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered state of California.
Meg Whitman, an accomplished business executive with the very consumer friendly “Ebay” name attached to her own, was leading slightly in the fight to be California’s next Governor. It was still a tight race, yes, but Democratic gubernatorial nominee (and the guy who was California Governor when I was in 5th grade) Jerry Brown, a perennial government employee, was struggling to find a compelling message amid the anti-Obama backlash.
And then Ms. Whitman (and her entire family) got hit with a very ugly surprise. Nicky Diaz, a former employee of the Whitman family, spoke at a press conference orchestrated by left-winger attorney Gloria Allred to announce that they were suing Meg Whitman for $6, 210.00. Diaz and her attorneys were alleging distress and “damages” from the way Diaz was treated during her term of employment with the Whitmans, and from the fact that Whitman was so insensitive as to have “fired” Ms. Diaz (is employment termination no longer permitted in Obama’s America?).
After this disgraceful press conference, the discussion about who should be California’s next Governor devolved into a TMZ-Perez Hilton – styled gossip fest about Nicky and Meg. While Whitman quickly responded by dismissing the law suit as “Jerry Brown politics,” Jerry Brown insisted he had nothing to do with “it.” Whitman was also forced to abandon her campaign message – at least a little bit, anyway – and to answer questions about her relationship with Nicky Diaz.
Whitman explained that Diaz had been a live-in family housemaid from 2000 to 2009, and earned $23.00 an hour. According to Whitman, Diaz had provided all the appropriate “paperwork” to demonstrate that she was residing in California legally. Whitman apparently did not become aware of Diaz’ “illegal” status until 2009 (the same year that Whitman decided to run for Governor, interestingly enough), whereupon Whitman did the only thing she could do to bring herself into compliance with federal law – she terminated Diaz’ employment.
For her part, Diaz’ story was fascinating. She openly confessed to using somebody else’s Social Security number for the purpose of duping both Whitman, and immigration authorities. And never mind the fact that she held a steady fulltime job for nine years earning $23.00 an hour while living in a plush home the likes of which most Americans will never experience. Being “used” for a time by Meg Whitman and then being callously “discarded” was emotionally painful, and Diaz needed retribution. As she put it, speaking through her broken, Hispanic-tinged English, “I’m doing this for all the other Nicky’s…”
Shortly thereafter when Whitman and Brown met in Fresno for the second of three California gubernatorial debates, Whitman was forced to again tell “her side of the story” – she was given falsified documents that showed Diaz to be “legal,” but when she realized that Diaz was “illegal” she had to fire Diaz. Brown conveniently ignored the legal entanglements, and simply stated that, because she fired Nicky Diaz from her job, Whitman had failed the most basic tests of “decency” and “respect.”
Today, polling data indicates that Brown is leading Whitman by roughly six percentage points. It’s not “over” for Whitman, not by any means, and she could still win. But it is difficult to suggest that she hasn’t been damaged by this embarrassing scenario.
This is an “emotional matter,” to be sure. But let’s step away from the “feelings” for a moment and talk about some facts.
It is a fact that Nicky Diaz has violated U.S. federal law on multiple accounts. She entered into the U.S. illegally; by her own admission she falsified documents for both the Whitman family, and for federal immigration authorities; she stole somebody’s Social Security number (among the citizen class we call this “identity theft,” and many of us spend a lot of money each year trying to protects ourselves from this type of crime); she worked illegally in the U.S.; and so far as we can tell she is still residing illegally in the U.S. today.
Jerry Brown, currently California’s Attorney General and, as such, California’s top law enforcement agent, has had absolutely nothing to say about any of the lawlessness of Nicky Diaz. He has played politics with this matter, and even insisted that Meg Whitman behaved in an “insensitive” and “indecent” fashion by firing the illegal immigration Diaz.
Yet Meg Whitman hasn’t exactly been forthcoming, either. She has yet to state the obvious about this situation – that Nicky Diaz has violated U.S. federal law, and continues to do so.
It would seem that stating the obvious about crime, and lawlessness, is just too politically “dangerous” – especially when the “obvious” involves illegal immigration.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.