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In the 24 hours or so since the news broke that California Gov. Gavin Newsom had chosen Laphonza Butler to replace Dianne Feinstein in the United States Senate, the bulk of the news about the appointment has swirled around the fact that Butler has lived in Maryland for at least the last two years and wasn’t even registered to vote in California. Since Butler is being appointed she doesn’t face the same qualifications those who run for the office face, and simply has to be a registered voter in the state by the time she’s sworn in on Wednesday. While the fact that she only lived in California from 2009 through 2020 and left the state to continue her climb up the Democrat grift ladder is maddening and insulting, it’s not necessarily the issue conservatives should be focusing on when it comes to future Sen. Butler.
She’d already remedied the voter registration issue by the time the appointment was officially announced, according to Pete Wilgoren of Los Angeles TV station KTLA.
#BREAKING from @KTLA the LA County’s Registrar: confirming to KTLA that our newly appointed Senator Laphonza Butler is now an active registered voter in Los Angeles County. The registrar’s office says Butler’s re-registration was done online Sunday.
— Pete Wilgoren (@WILGOREN) October 2, 2023
My colleague Jennifer Oliver O’Connell wrote about Butler’s extreme pro-abortion advocacy and Big Labor ties, and noted her long-time friendship and professional relationship with Kamala Harris. We’ve even mentioned her at RedState in the past, as part of the team behind Harris’ spectacular failure of a presidential run.
READ: The Kamala Harris Campaign Is Burning Down
READ: Kamala Harris’ Campaign is Imploding. A New Report Explains How
So, maybe any fear of her finding electoral success is misplaced?
Anyway, now we’re learning something new that should disqualify Butler, and that’s her on-the-record support for convicted corrupt California politician Mark Ridley-Thomas. Ridley-Thomas was a labor leader before heading to Sacramento, then returned to Los Angeles after he termed out in the legislature. He was elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors, then to the Los Angeles City Council, which is where he was employed when he was indicted on federal public corruption charges.
Ridley-Thomas was convicted earlier this year, and Butler was one of dozens of California Democrats who wrote to the judge asking for leniency in sentencing.
Back in May, Laphonza Butler wrote this character letter to the judge who decided whether + how long Mark Ridley-Thomas would go to prison after being convicted in a public corruption case.
She noted MRT’s help when she came to LA in ’09, his backing of labor, & his friendship pic.twitter.com/Isj8D3jp07
— Matt Hamilton (@MattHjourno) October 3, 2023
From Butler’s letter we know she didn’t move to California until 2009, and she moved here to work with SEIU. Her letter focuses on the union issues Ridley-Thomas voted for, like the $15/hr minimum wage Butler championed at SEIU, and what a great “ally” he is to union workers.
Ridley-Thomas’ behavior in the events that led to that 20-count bribery and corruption indictment weren’t a one-off. He surrounds himself with extremely shady people, including another convicted felon, Carl Kemp. Kemp pled guilty to filing a false tax return; he failed to report $750,000 in “lobbying” income, including more than $220,000 from a drug trafficking kingpin. When Kemp was released from prison he needed a job, and luckily for him, his wife has connections. His wife, Claudia Gutierrez, is an attorney who worked as Ridley-Thomas’ chief counsel when he was on the Board of Supervisors. So Ridley-Thomas hooked Kemp up with a sweet gig at LA County Department of Public Health with Barbara Ferrer; Kemp was in charge of the department that wrote all of the citations during the pandemic (because that’s definitely the department where you want to place someone who’s susceptible to bribes).
Butler likely believes Ridley-Thomas is to be commended for helping a man who’d just been released from prison support his family, since both Kemp and Ridley-Thomas are such big union supporters.
It’s really not surprising that Butler’s such a terrible judge of character or that she’s trying to keep criminals out of jail, but now that we know that Ridley-Thomas was such a big influence on her career we definitely need to watch her like a hawk.