Harman departure leaves questions
February 7th, 2011
06:10 PM ET
12 years ago

Harman departure leaves questions

Washington (CNN) - Democratic California Rep. Jane Harman is expected to announce her intention to resign from office on Tuesday and when she does she will face more questions about the timing of her decision.

Harman won her 9th term in office in November and was sworn in just last month. She is expected to announce she will leave Congress to head the Woodrow Wilson Center, a top think tank in Washington.

According to state election laws, the California governor is required to set the date for a special election, no later than 14 days after the seat is vacated.

California currently has a budget gap of $25 billion, and Los Angeles County, parts of which Harman represents, is facing a budget deficit of $3.5 million to $4.5 million.

On Monday, Harman's office offered no comment to questions about her departure date or whether she is concerned about the cost burden of a special election on her constituents.

According to the California Secretary of State's office, individual counties foot the bill for special elections.

The Los Angeles County Registrar's office estimates that the special election to fill the seat vacated by Hilda Solis in 2009 cost $1.5 million. Solis left her seat in Congress representing California's 32nd district to become secretary of labor under President Obama.

In a letter to her constituents, Harman said the decision has been "excruciating" because "the distinction of representing the smartest constituents on earth will never be surpassed."

"You have elected me to nine terms in Congress – an honor without equal," Harman wrote. "I hope you understand how truly grateful I am for your friendship and support."

- CNN's Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report

Filed under: Jane Harman
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Unless she's one of the few Dems who got sensible and voted with the GOP to kill Obamacare, she's just leaving now to avoid being thrown out in 2012.

    February 7, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Sgt Schultz

    Yes the timing is odd. Maybe it means nothing. Find-out what happened CNN.

    February 7, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    Uh oh, for Harmon to quit overnight can mean only one thing.

    Ann Coulter has proof that she too, used to be a man.

    February 7, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Flipper

    Why would a Dem in a gerry-mandered, safe district suddenly retire to head a...think tank? It makes no logical sense unless there's trouble coming down the road for her.

    February 7, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. paul

    So this politician was offered more money and has opted to QUIT after only a few months and now the people have to pay money they don't have to get representation! Seriously for all the money that the people pay to have elections and all the perks that these elected politicians get while in office ... and sometimes out of office ... politicians should be forced to stay in office for the term elected unless for a family emergency or illegal actions that deem it impossible to stay in office OTHERWISE they should foot the bill! Especially in this case. I think it is EXTREMELY SELFISH ON THIS WOMAN'S part to quit. But where is CNN attacking her as they did Palin when she up and quit!!! (Only difference with that quiiter was that no special election was required since there was a liutenent governor in place to take over.

    February 7, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Bob

    Quitting her job to chase bigger bucks. Seems no one here can complain about Palin doing exactly the same. Happens on both sides.

    February 7, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I'm leaving because President Obama is going to veto all earmarks and he should. Governors of every state should be held accountable for their budgets and stop holding Washington responsible, we'll see who will and we'll see who won't and we'll also see who quits. Governors have been spending like drunken sailors for years, not budgeting and waiting for Government earmarks to waste and spend more.

    February 7, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. Inmyopinion

    What, she didn't know she was going to be offered this position when she ran for Congress for the 9th term????? What a waste of time and money for the voters. Leave it to a Californian to be irresponsible, shallow and self centered, it's no wonder that poor state is in so much trouble. She should pay the bill for the new special election!

    February 7, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. Greenspam

    Sounds like another Sarah Palin to me.

    February 7, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. Brian

    Who is raising the questions? Seems like an invented story by a journalist. There was no one in the article questioning Rep. Harman's decision.

    Having said that - if the cost of a special election is a burden - perhaps Jane can donate the money? She's the second richest member of the House - with a net worth estimated net worth between $151,480,522 to $435,429,001.

    That is according to the OpenSecrets.org analysis of her financial disclosure records.

    February 7, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. Leon

    Can they garnishee any money left in her campaign funds to pay for the new election?
    This Left Wing Loon is worse than Palin. Thank God she is no longer in Congress squandering our hard earnwd money.

    February 7, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Leon

    Can they garnishee any money left in her campaign funds to pay for the new election?
    This Left Wing Loon is worse than Palin. Thank God she is no longer in Congress squandering our hard earned money.

    February 7, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. Clyde

    Perhaps the State of California should sue this irresponsible and deciptful politician for the cost of the special election.

    February 7, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. blake

    Good riddance to a female California Democrat. Please take Pelosi, Boxer, and Feinstein with you.

    February 7, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |