Meg Whitman, the former eBay chief executive who is the Republican gubernatorial candidate in California, has spent a record $119 million on her campaign for governor of California. With the revelation that she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant, will all those millions be for naught? Or will she plow more of her personal fortune into the campaign to counter the charges by her former housekeeper that the billionaire treated the illegal immigrant from Mexico who cared for her children for nine years like “garbage” and “as if I were not a human being”?
The picture painted at a new conference held at the office of Nikki Diaz-Centillion’s attorney, Gloria Allred, was of a heartless woman who knew that Diaz was an undocumented worker for six years, but who chose to fire her for her political ambition. Once Whitman decided to run for governor of California in 2009, Diaz — who is filing a claim for back wages that allegedly were not paid to her — had to go, lest she publicly embarrass Whitman and derail her candidacy.
The conservative Whitman is tapping into the white backlash against immigration from Mexico.
Allred claims that Whitman kept Diaz on as an employee, paying her $23 an hour for a maximum of 15 hours a week, as her undocumented status made Diaz vulnerable to exploitation. Whitman regularly worked Diaz as a nanny/housekeeper/go-fer for more than 15 hours a week and refused requests for more pay and a raise. Whitman even refused a request for a pregnancy leave. If she were a documented employee, Diaz would have been able to sue Whitman over the failure to provide a pregnancy leave for discrimination.
A billionaire, Meg Whitman has spent more money on her election campaign than any other candidate in history, surpassing that of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a fellow billionaire. Bloomberg spent $73 million in the 2001 election, a similar amount in 2005 and a then-record $102 million in 2009.
On September 16, 2010, the Associated press reported that Whitman definitely broke Bloomberg’s 2009 record for self-financing a campaign when she gave her campaign $15 million, bringing the total amount she has spent from her own finances on her gubernatorial bid to $119 million. The AP report put Bloomberg’s 2009 contributions at $109 million.
In his 2009 bid for re-election, Bloomberg did not accept campaign contributions. Whitman has aggressively solicited donations from her supporters. Bloomberg has actually endorsed Whitman. Aside from spending over $100 million to get elected, they share the fact that neither had any political experience before they ran for office.
Meg Whitman’s relatively unlimited flow of cash has enabled her to spend on countless television advertisements in all of California’s media markets. Kerry Cavanaugh of the Los Angeles Daily News reported on September 27th that the Whitman for Governor campaign already has spent $60 million on 58,436 television ads and likely a similar amount of radio spots.
By contrast, Jerry Brown has only aired 3,445 TV ads, all of them in September. The numbers were provided by the A.C. Nielsen Co.
The polling organization Rasmussen Reports, which generally skews to the right, reported on September 22nd — before their first debate, which was held on September 28th — that the two candidates are in a dead heat, with Brown at 47% and Whitman at 46%.
Associated Content, “Meg Whitman’s Former Housekeeper was an Illegal Immigrant from Mexico; Billionaire Knowingly Employed Undocumented Worker”
Associated Press, “Meg Whitman breaks US campaign spending records”
Los Angeles Daily News, “Meg Whitman’s costly run for office,” by Kerry Cavanuagh
Los Angeles Times, “Housekeeper says of Meg Whitman: ‘She treated me as if I was not a human being'”
New York Daily News, “Mayor Bloomberg spent $102M on campaign to win third term – or $175 per vote”
New York Times, “Settlement Was Paid in Whitman Shoving Incident”
NYU News, “Bloomberg endorses Meg Whitman’s campaign”
Southern California Public Radio, “Will Fiorina’s primary strategy backfire in California’s general election?”
TMZ.com, “Meg Whitman’s Housekeeper — ‘Explosive’ Allegations”