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Attorney general candidate, Kamala Harris, takes legal action


LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The Democratic candidate for state attorney general, Kamala Harris, said she will announce legal action against a group that is airing a negative ad against her in her race with Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

According to her campaign, an out-of-state group calling itself The Republican State Leadership Association funded the ad, which criticizes Harris for her opposition to the death penalty and a decision she made as district attorney not to seek capital punishment against a man who killed a San Francisco police officer.

“The Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee is pumping more than $1 million in funds from tobacco, oil, insurance and pharmaceutical companies into TV attack ads in an attempt to buy the Attorney General’s office in California,” according to a statement from Harris’ campaign.

The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday that the group, headed by influential Republicans and funded by tobacco, insurance and gambling interests, is airing the ad to help elect Cooley, the Republican running against the San Francisco district attorney.

Cooley’s campaign manager, Kevin Spillane, told the Bee that Cooley would not be influenced by donors who help elect him, and that no one in his campaign was aware the Virginia-based group was paying for an ad in his race.

The group’s chairman is Ed Gillespie, former counselor to President George W. Bush.

Gillespie and Bush’s chief political strategist, Karl Rove, helped create American Crossroads, which is spending millions of dollars to help Republicans take control of the House and Senate. American Crossroads has given $600,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee, according to the Bee.

By election day, the group will have spent about $20 million on races for statewide offices across the country, according to the Bee. It reported that it is unusual for such groups to become involved in races lower down on the ballot.

Harris is the only African-American Democrat on California’s statewide ballot, and according to the Bee, President Barack Obama participated in a fundraiser for her, which is also unusual in races lower on the ballot.