Sovern Nation: Housekeeper Scandal Looms Over Second Debate

FRESNO (KCBS) – Rumors and political chatter swirled ahead of the second debate between California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown: would Whitman’s illegal immigrant housekeeper scandal overshadow Saturday’s Central Valley showdown?

KCBS Doug Sovern Reporting:

Whitman and Brown agreed to square off in Fresno in a debate to be broadcast on a Spanish language TV network. The GOP candidate insisted the controversy wouldn’t follow her to Fresno, where she has made headway with Latino voters.

In fact, the former eBay executive suggested the scandal could work to her advantage with the Spanish-speaking audience.

“I think Latinos are really smart. I think they will see this for exactly what it is, which is one giant political stunt and a smear campaign by a desperate Brown campaign.”

She maintained a confident demeanor ahead of the debate.

“I actually think it could backfire on the Brown campaign and actually help me with the Latino community,” she said.

She was equally confident when allegations were first made public that she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant housekeeper, something she vehemently denied.

Whitman declared that there was no letter from the Social Security Administration advising that the housekeeper’s documents were not in order.

“We never saw the letter, Nicky did bring in our mail and sort the mail. If she had gotten a letter two weeks before, alerting her to a problem and saying we’re going to alert your employer, she might have been on the lookout for that letter. I mean, it pains me to say that because gosh, that’s not the Nicky I knew.”

“We never saw any such letter. We never saw it. So they may have sent something but we never saw it.”

Whitman backtracked hours later, when the former housekeeper produced a letter which bore what looked like the handwriting of Whitman’s husband on it, addressing the housekeeper.

Whitman acknowledged that the handwriting looked similar to her husband’s. However, she added that her husband did not recall ever receiving the letter.

The question then became whether Whitman’s acknowledgment would repair any damage she may have done.

“I think it hurts her. I think she knows deep down, as well as her campaign strategist, that it’s not a good thing for her,” warned Jaime Regalado, Ph.D., director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at CSU Los Angeles. “Some Latinos who were giving her the benefit of the doubt really wonder if she’s the candidate that should be backed, after all.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • Gordn

    She can throw $140,000,000 into a campaign and non a cent for a poor housekeeper. Typical Republican.

    • jimbe

      If she know she an illegal immigrant…why would she paid her $23.00 hr when she can paid her $10.00. 2010 minimum wages $8.00? I think housekeeper lying her @$$ because she have everything to gain for this regardless if she get deported or not, Allred will give housekeeper money no matter what happen. Allred did not give money for Jerry Brown campaign but this her way of giving to Jerry……and the letter may not be real

      • FN

        If the letter was not real why the Whitmans didn’t deny it?

  • roberta dyer

    why when she was paying social security for this woman would you ever think she knew she was illegal? That, plus 23 dollars and hour, you could get a legal person with no problems. Who would hire an illegal for nine years and pay all that mobney? I think this lady will just make it harder for people to get jobs.

    • FN

      Whitman was required by law to pay social security tax regardless of the immigration status of the employee. Period.

  • Cabo520

    The illegal alien housekeeper was being paid $23/hr. That is over $47,000 per year. Not too bad for being here illegally. She used a false Social Security number. She then kept a letter that was supposed to go back to the Social Security Administration. This housekeeper should be put in jail.

  • Anne Admiral

    Let’s clear up Cabo520’s calculations. The housekeeper was only paid for 15 hours a week. That’s under $20K a year. Also, had Meg treated her with more dignity, this “extended family member” would have been out stumping in the Latino community. Meg has a history of inappropraite behavior. (Oh, and don’t look at her son’s records – kicked out of schools, brought up on assault charges, etc.) Shows limited character – we Republicans missed by supporting the most monied candidate. It’s our fault when Moonbeam get’s elected. We could have had better choices – but, we didn’t vet the candidate well enough.

  • Mojo C.

    Husband visited our local Latino grocery and asked in perfect and LOUD Spanish what everyone thought about Ms. Whitman. Got an earful, let me tell you. She’s an idiot if she think the Latino community is not taking this seriously and NOT in her favor. Good riddance to ultra-rich, arrogant rubble.

    • celtibero

      Yes, but how many so call latinos can vote?

      • Grace

        Meg Whitman wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars courting Latinos if there weren’t enough of them to make a difference – dud…

  • gil

    Come to this country legally like my parents from mexico did and viola you have no problem on either side. Sad that an illegal , breaking the LAW could ruin someone who seems to be a good person who hasn’t broken a law ever. BACKWARDS THINKING IN AMERICA confuses me.

    • Fred

      okay, asshat, Meg broke the law when she hired an illegal. typical conservanazi – do as I say, not as I do.

      by the time you and your moronic tea-party friends realize all the liberties you’ve frittered away in the name of free enterprise – it’ll be too late to get them back

  • paul

    I would say that megg new this lady couldnt leave the country this was a red flag in my book wasnt it in yours.. she new this from the start. I never have trusted anyone whom has so much to gain from a win in her pos. and power that she could give more money to the rich whiile they dont hire anyone except China or another foreign country..

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