Harman, husband of California Democrat Rep. Jane Harman, has long financially supported Democratic candidates and has been associated with numerous center-left groups over the past decades. According to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, Harman has donated more than $150,000 to Democratic candidates and committees over the past twenty years. (He also gave $6,000 to independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2005-2006, $4,600 to Maine Sen. Susan Collins and $2,000 to then-Colorado Rep. Scott McInnis in 2001, both Republican).
Harman has never been a man who simply lets his money do the talking. In the 1970s, he served under President Carter in the Commerce Department where he worked to impose barriers on foreign shoe manufacturers who wanted to enter the American market, according to a 2003 New York Times profile. Today, he is a trustee emeritus at the Carter Center and sits on the board of the Aspen Institute.