Harris premature in pointing blame
Mayor Jeremy Harris has been understandably "outraged" by the Campaign Spending Commission's referral to prosecutors of possible criminal charges against him. After all, simply by making the charge, the commission seriously damages his campaign for governor.
Harris suggested this was little more than a political vendetta. But now his chief fund-raiser concedes that campaign workers might just might have mistakenly attributed donations to people who didn't make them. But he said he would be shocked if campaign finance reports had been deliberately falsified, as the commission unambiguously contends.
Of course, it's entirely possible to make errors in attributing political contributions without criminal intent. But ultimately the mayor is responsible for the accurate reporting of his contributions. By now he should have ordered his own examination of his books and should be well aware of exactly what the commission is looking at.
If there are mistakes, his energy should go into explaining them rather than focusing on the motives of those who uncovered them.
The commission's executive director, Robert Watada, is having none of the "honest mistakes" defense. "That's not what happened in this case," he said. "A lot of things can happen, but we verified fairly clearly what happened here. I think this was very deliberate."
Either Watada is right or he isn't. Harris' claims of political vendetta won't help him a bit if the fund-raising charges stick.
Right now is a good time for the mayor to quit pointing fingers and make certain that his own house is in order. That's the quickest way of putting this matter to rest.