Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris. Photo by John Schreiber.

California Sen. Kamala Harris spoke Saturday at two Los Angeles-area fundraisers for her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The fundraisers were hosted by David Cooley, the CEO and founder of the Abbey, the West Hollywood restaurant and nightclub, and Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Jeff Shell at his Beverly Hills home, the Harris campaign confirmed.

The fundraisers were closed to the news media like most fundraisers for presidential candidates.

Housing and racial justice activists handed out flyers about Harris’ record to guests attending the fundraiser at Shell’s home. They accused Harris of being “hard on poor people and people of color and soft on banks and bankers,” according to organizer Maria Estrada.

Estrada criticized Harris for defending the death penalty and California’s three strikes law and refusing to allow advanced DNA testing for death row inmate Kevin Cooper when she was the state’s attorney general.

Estrada also criticized the Attorney General’s Office under Harris for not filing a civil action against OneWest Bank for foreclosure fraud when it was owned by a group led by Steven Mnuchin, now the Treasury Secretary.

Mnuchin later donated to Harris’ 2016 Senate campaign.

“Senator Harris has been a fighter for reforming our broken criminal justice system and holding those who prey on Californians accountable for her entire career,” Ian Sams, the Harris campaign’s national press secretary, told City News Service.

“She put fraudsters in jail, got $20 billion from the big banks for California homeowners, created a re-entry program that became a national model for helping first-time offenders get education and training and has pushed to end cash bail and combat mass incarceration in the Senate.”

The fundraisers were Harris’ first in the Los Angeles area since declaring her candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She would be the nation’s first female and first South Asian president. Her mother is a Tamil Indian.

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