But as the attorney general of the nation’s largest state — and therefore one of the most powerful law enforcement officials in the nation — Harris declined to investigate Herbalife, the nutritional supplement company that has been accused of fraudulent marketing practices. Documents exclusively obtained by Yahoo News show that in 2015, prosecutors in the San Diego office of the California attorney general sent Harris a lengthy memorandum that argued for an investigation into Herbalife and requested resources in order to undertake such an investigation. Similar investigations into Herbalife were already taking place elsewhere.
A week after the San Diego letter was sent, Harris received the first of three donations to her campaign for the U.S. Senate from Heather Podesta, the powerful Washington lobbyist whose firm, then called the Podesta Group, had worked for Herbalife since 2013.
Harris did not pursue an investigation, even as the Federal Trade Commission proceeded with an investigation of its own, which had been opened the previous March and which suggested that sufficient grounds for such scrutiny did exist.