Elections bring out all the skeletons in a candidate’s closet, as Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is finding out. Whitman’s former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, is claiming that Whitman knew that she was an illegal immigrant for years, and kept her on her staff so she could pay her only $23 an hour, according to The Associated Press. Even more damning to Whitman is the fact that she has vehemently been for stricter sanctions against people who hire illegal immigrants.
Whitman claims that Diaz Santillan, along with lawyer Gloria Allred, are making up these accusations and that she never know Diaz Santillan’s status as an illegal immigrant. According to The Huffington Post, Allred says that she has the letter Whitman sent to the Social Security Administration, asking why Diaz Santillan’s Social Security number didn’t match her name. How this will affect her campaign remains to be seen. But this is not the first time that a politician found herself in hot water over hiring illegal immigrants.
Federal Judge Kimba Wood, of Orange County, New York, was being considered for attorney general when it came out that she hired an illegal immigrant for her babysitter, according to The Los Angeles Times. Even though she couldn’t become attorney general, Wood still served as a Chief Judge for the Southern District of New York until 2009.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that he has illegal immigrants fix his house on a regular basis, according to CBS News. He said this in defense of illegal immigrants, asking the government to find a way to give these people some kind of status, because they do jobs around America that need to be done. This seems to have had no effect on the former Secretary of State, as he is not running for any political office. If he was embroiled in a battle for a political position, this may have had more of an effect.
Timothy Geithner, the current Treasury Secretary, almost didn’t get confirmed to his position because of a revelation that he hired an immigrant housekeeper, according to The Wall Street Journal. The housekeeper’s work papers expired while she worked for Geithner and his family. Even after this came out, senators from both parties said that they were planning on voting to confirm him. So, Geithner’s illegal immigrant problems didn’t seem to affect his nomination for United States Treasury Secretary at all.
Who knows how Meg Whitman’s campaign will be affected by her hiring of an illegal immigrant. It has both hurt and not made a difference for other politicians. The fact that she has come out so strongly against hiring illegal immigrants, and is now a hypocrite, will probably have a greater affect on her than the other politicians who were mentioned.
Michael R. Blood, Juliet Williams, “Atty: Whitman knew housekeeper was in US illegally” The Associated Press
Nick Wing, “Lawyer: I have proof Meg Whitman is lying about immigrant maid” The Huffington Post
Leslie Berkman, “Many in O.C. Divided Over Wood’s Hiring of Immigrant Law: Some wonder if female candidates for prestigious positions such as Kimba Wood are being unfairly tested” Los Angeles Times
The Associated Press, “Colin Powell: Illegal Immigrants Fix My House” CBS News
Jonathan Weisman, “Geithner’s Tax History Muddles Confirmation” The Wall Street Journal