Thursday night KRQE Channel 13 ran a story on Councilor Harris' ethics audit. The package featured a pan of a piece of paper with a bunch of check marks on it. Reporter Michael Herzenberg indicated that each check mark would be considered a violation.
We were curious about that violation matrix and managed to get our Eyes on a copy of the checklist(read it here). We counted 175 individual violations. Frankly, we couldn't believe that someone who has presumably passed the state bar could have screwed up his campaign reporting so badly.
The most troubling part for us was Harris' repeated acceptance of donations that exceeded the maximum allowed by law. Mr. Harris like all candidates, had to have been aware of the donation cap; it's hard to view his actions as anything other than a willful disregard of the law. In our opinion, these acts alone disqualify him from holding elected office.
Councilor Harris has already lost the trust of a good portion of his constituents, it remains to be seen whether or not the Ethics Board will recommend to the council that he be removed from office; which after seeing the type and number of violations revealed by the audit seems likely.
As a member of the State Bar, Mr. Harris should be held to a higher standard; a standard that doesn't allow for willful violation of the law. The consequences of his misdeeds could and probably will extend beyond the council chambers. Perhaps it's time for Councilor Harris to resign in order to concentrate on more immediate problems like keeping what's left of his legal reputation.