California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman found herself in the political hot seat today on one of her key issues -- holding businesses responsible for ensuring the workers they hire are here legally. Attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference to reveal allegations by Whitman's former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz, that Whitman was well aware of Diaz's illegal status but continued to employ her anyway.
Whitman maintains that she only discovered that Diaz was an illegal immigrant when she asked Whitman and her husband to help her get a green card. Whitman then fired Diaz. According to Whitman's official statement: "After nine years of faithful service, Nicky came to us in June 2009 and confessed that she was an illegal worker. [She] falsified the hiring documents and personal information she provided to the employment agency that brought her to us in 2000."
However, Allred counters that Whitman knew about Diaz's illegal status long before 2009.
Specifically, Allred stated that the Social Security Administration contacted Whitman in 2003 to advise that Diaz's SSN did not match her name. Diaz claims to have seen the letter; Whitman claims never to have received it. Allred did not provide a copy of the letter, nor has the Social Security Administration yet released a copy.
Per Allred, Whitman "continued to receive the letters from the Social Security Administration Office regarding the mismatch in the Social Security numbers ... [Diaz] saw these letters after they were thrown into the trash."
Political candidates and appointees have long been tripped up by hiring undocumented workers, both knowingly and unknowingly. We don't yet know what Meg Whitman knew or when she knew it, but either way, she's got a political mess on her hands.
Image via NY Daily News