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Did Whitman Hire an Illegal Immigrant and Does It Matter?

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Meg Whitman has a Zoe Baird problem.

Baird, the Cal Berkeley Law grad, the successful corporate attorney, was nominated in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton to be his Attorney General. Her nomination was withdrawn after revelations that she knowingly hired illegal immigrants as her chauffeur and nanny.

Whitman, the Republican gubernatorial candidate faces allegations that she knowingly hired an illegal immigrant to her domestic staff back in 2000.

The claim was made Wednesday by Nicky Diaz Santillan in a teary press conference in Beverly Hills, at which she was accompanied by the controversial lawyer Gloria Allred , whose recent clients include two former mistresses of Tiger Woods.

Santillan said Whitman kicked her to the curb last year when she decided to run for governor. She maintained she “was exploited and abused” by Whitman, whom she is suing for back wages.

Whitman responded Wednesday that her former $23-an-hour housekeeper is lying, and that she is being manipulated by Allred (who happens to be a long-time friend and supporter of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown).

I have no way of knowing whether Whitman or her scorned domestic is telling the honest-to-God truth.

I accept that Santillan is being used by Allred to further Brown’s election prospects. But I also don’t find it unimaginable that a person of Whitman’s background and stature who didn’t bother to vote for 20 years or so, might not have bothered to ascertain, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a Mexican housekeeper she hired truly was legal.

The question is: Does it really matter here and now? Does it speak to Whitman’s fitness to occupy California’s highest office?

If it does, then every single lawmaker in Sacramento should be barred from office. Because the Governor and Legislature have yet to enact a budget 91 days past the deadline required by the State Constitution.

I thought it wrong that Baird was denied the honor of being the first woman in history to serve as the nation’s Attorney General because she hired a couple of undocumented immigrants to drive her car and look after her kids.

And I think it would be no less wrong if Whitman’s quest to become the first woman in California history to be elected governor is undone by unproven allegations that she knowingly hired an illegal immigrant to keep house for her.

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