Just a little over a week into President Joe Biden’s administration, there are already reports of a potential scandal brewing within his vice president’s inner circle.
According to the Daily Wire, Kamala Harris’ 36-year-old niece, Meena Harris, has been accused by some of capitalizing on her aunt’s newfound popularity by selling products associated with her likeness. The emerging issue is apparently so concerning that White House aides have revealed they’re worried Meena Harris is “leveraging her relationship with her aunt,” Politico reports.
A long-brewing controversy
Long before the vice president was in the position she’s in now, Meena Harris published a book called Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, which she has been since ordered to stop selling, given that it uses the vice president’s name and is clearly a commercial venture.
But that’s just one issue among many: Meena Harris is also pushing a clothing line and other businesses that clearly benefit from her aunt’s emerging popularity leading into and after November’s election.
According to Politico, she even convinced her aunt’s campaign to list a shirt she had designed for sale on then-candidate Kamala Harris’ campaign website. It was later removed “for appearance sake,” with the campaign noting that it “didn’t want to make it seem or appear that she would be benefiting or profiting from the campaign.”
Meena Harris’ ambitious ventures eventually triggered a response from her aunt’s team, reports said, in an obvious attempt to reassure that she would not be profiting off of her aunt’s success in public office.
“The Vice President and her family will uphold the highest ethical standards and it’s the White House’s policy that the Vice President’s name should not be used in connection with any commercial activities that could reasonably be understood to imply an endorsement or support,” said Sabrina Singh, a spokesperson for the VP, according to the Daily Wire.
More problems for Harris
Even still, the potential ethics problems with Meena Harris — a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law — do not end with book and merch sales.
Politico’s report also indicated that she flew to Biden’s inauguration ceremony on a private jet that was owned by one of Biden’s donors, and she posted about the fancy trip on her Instagram account.
Shortly after her aunt’s November victory, Meena Harris also formed a production company with a man named Brad Jenkins, who worked in former President Barack Obama’s White House. Their first production, which was a two-minute video, featured her aunt and was unveiled just a day prior to the Jan. 20 inauguration.
The issue with the video is if Meena Harris was reimbursed for the production. If so, it would potentially be a violation of White House policy. Meena Harris looked even more suspicious when she reportedly refused to comment on whether her new company did the work for free or if they were paid by the nonprofit women’s leadership group known as the Supermajority Education Fund, as the Daily Wire reported.
All of Meena Harris’ business ventures seem to fall within the backdrop of the controversy surrounding the accusations that Biden’s family members aggressively profited from the president’s name while he was vice president of the United States — ethics issues that Biden’s new White House presumably wants to avoid at all costs.