- Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer and former U.S. associate attorney general in the Obama administration, however, is not considered to be among President-elect Biden’s top picks.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ sister, Maya Harris, has reportedly been lobbying her husband’s candidacy for attorney general, Politico reported. Maya Harris is married to Tony West, currently the chief legal officer at Uber and former U.S. associate attorney general in the Obama administration. West is an African American.
However, a Kamala Harris aide told Politico that “Maya Harris is not waging a campaign for her husband as the next attorney general,” adding that “Harris and West requested and participated in an ethics briefing to ensure they would abide by all Biden transition guidelines.”
Although West is not considered to be among President-elect Joe Biden’s top pick, there are a few who are rooting for him, given his qualifications and experience. In an op-ed in USA Today last month, civil rights attorney Ben Crump wrote: “In my view, there is no one more uniquely qualified for this role given this significant moment in history than Tony West, the brother-in-law of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”
Biden’s top contenders for attorney general include former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones. Biden is expected to announce his selection this week.
Politico says that West’s relationship to Kamala Harris might be a hindrance to his appointment, especially in the light of how President Trump exploited his position in the last four years “for elevating his family to key White House positions.”
Even Biden has spoken several times about distancing his family from political appointments. In a recent interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Biden said: “My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise, that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict, with the appropriate distance from, the presidency and government.” He was referring to his son Hunter Biden who was often discussed during his presidential campaign.
Before serving as the U.S. associate attorney general in the Obama administration, West was Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division, the largest litigating division of the Justice Department. Earlier in his career, West was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of California, where he prosecuted a variety of federal crimes. He also served as Special Assistant Attorney General at the California Department of Justice and was a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco. After leaving the White House, West was Corporate Secretary and Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs of PepsiCo.
His wife, Maya Harris is no stranger to politics, having worked within the Democratic party for years. A policy expert in policing and crime, she spent her career advocating for stronger civil rights protections for ethnic and racial minorities. Prior to managing her sister’s presidential campaign as chair, Maya Harris worked as one of three senior policy advisers to Hillary Clinton on her 2016 campaign. She previously worked at the American Civil Liberties Union and the Ford Foundation, and became one of the youngest law school deans in the U.S. at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She was a political analyst for MSNBC and quit to work with Kamala Harris on the campaign trail
“I think most people who know Maya will tell you she’s one of the smartest people they know,” Kamala Harris told Politico in a June 2019 interview. “The fact that she has volunteered to work on this campaign at such a high level and she’s exactly who she’s always been—she works around the clock and she’s probably the hardest, if not one of the hardest working people on the campaign—I feel very blessed.”