Maya Harris has participated in conversations with allies aimed at boosting her husband’s candidacy for attorney general, according to people familiar with the calls.
Harris, the sister of Kamala Harris, is married to Tony West, the chief legal officer at Uber and former U.S. associate attorney general in the Obama administration.
Allies have floated West’s name as a possible contender to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official, but others have ruled him out of contention because he is related to the vice president-elect. His work as Uber’s top lawyer, given the company’s legal troubles, have also raised concerns about his ability to fill the role.
Maya Harris has worked in Democratic politics for years, including serving as chair of her sister’s presidential campaign, which collapsed in December amid infighting between warring factions. She also worked as one of three senior policy advisers to Hillary Clinton on her 2016 campaign after working at the Ford Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union. Maya Harris is extremely close with her sister, but she did not hold an official position on the Biden campaign after Kamala Harris joined the ticket.
“Maya Harris is not waging a campaign for her husband as the next attorney general,” a Kamala Harris aide said.
The aide added that Harris and West requested and participated in an ethics briefing to ensure they would abide by all Biden transition guidelines. Maya Harris and West declined to comment.
West is not considered to be a front-runner for Biden’s pick, but he has received some buzz for the position. 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, who lost his reelection bid in November. Biden said Monday he planned to announce his selection this week.
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who has represented the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Jacob Blake, publicly advocated for Biden to select West in a USA TODAY op-ed late last month.
“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,” Crump wrote.
In the Obama administration, West served as the third-highest-ranking official and ran the department’s civil rights division. After leaving the administration, he joined PepsiCo in a senior role before decamping for Uber. The ride-hailing service has faced a litany of lawsuits in recent years, including some over its use of gig workers, as well as over sexual assault and safety issues.
Beyond his legal work, West’s relationship to Kamala Harris is likely a nonstarter for many Democrats, who have eviscerated President Donald Trump over the last four years for elevating his family to key White House positions. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, are both top advisers to the president. The foreign business entanglements of Biden’s son, Hunter, were a flash point during his presidential run, and Biden has shown he is eager to avoid any conflicts of interest in his administration.
“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,” Biden said in an interview with CNN last week.