Kamala Harris settled with a top aide who lost her job, and both sides agreed to keep quiet, records show

Sophia Bollag, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Political News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Under then-Attorney General Kamala Harris' direction, the California Department of Justice paid a nearly $35,000 settlement to Harris' former chief deputy attorney general after a dispute related to her termination in 2011, documents show.

A copy of the settlement agreement provided to The Sacramento Bee by the California Department of Justice says the department paid former Harris aide Terri Carbaugh $34,900.

The agreement came less than a year after Harris, now a U.S. senator and widely considered to be a favorite for the vice presidential nomination, assumed office as California's attorney general.

As part of the agreement, both the department and Carbaugh agreed "not to disclose, discuss or provide the contents or terms of this Agreement to third parties, except as expressly authorized by this Agreement or in response to formal requests authorized by law."

The agreement does not detail specifics of the dispute, but says the "department determined that Carbaugh should no longer serve in the position of Chief Deputy Attorney General for Administration and Policy."

Carbaugh challenged that decision and "asserted certain disputed claims and damages relating to her employment with the department."


Carbaugh agreed to resign, according to the settlement. As part of the deal, Harris also wrote Carbaugh a complimentary letter of recommendation, in which Harris described her as "an indispensable member of my executive team and a longtime friend."

Carbaugh did not respond to questions for this article. Harris' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the settlement with Carbaugh, first reported by Business Insider, contained non-disclosure language, Harris has taken a stand against non-disclosure agreements in the Senate. The use of them in sexual harassment cases gained new scrutiny as the Me Too movement unfolded.

In 2018, Harris co-authored a bill to ban employers from requiring workers to sign non-disclosure agreements to get a job.


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