Michael Harris, the new Shelby County Democratic Party chairman, says he supports unity a week after his controversial election what with revelations of his law license having been suspended, The Daily Memphian reports.
A majority of the local Grass Roots Council voted for Harris on April 6; he was unopposed.
His law license has been suspended since 2017 for ethical violations that include dishonesty, lack of diligence and communication, excessive fees, improper termination, failure to perform paid services and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. He is also repaying $22,975 to nine former clients, The Daily Memphian said.
He spoke to The Daily Memphian Politics Podcast about why he deserves to be chair.
“Absolutely I should be chair,” Harris said on The Daily Memphian Politics Podcast. “The requirements for being chair do not lie in the mistakes a person has made,” he said. “The skills and abilities and understanding of the organization are more important. The life experiences that shape us and give us perspective are more important. When we look at the world we live in, people make mistakes all the time.”
The podcast is available here.
Harris’ statement would seem to conflict with the Shelby County Democratic Party’s platform stated on its website, available here.
Integrity in Government
The SCDP supports…
- The requirement of all candidates for public office and those holding elected office comply with all local, state, and federal requirements for financial and conflict of interest disclosures, ensuring that all public obligations are fulfilled, both prior to election and while serving in office
- Requiring that all candidates and elected officials hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct, while maintaining regular access and availability to their constituents
The Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee handles lawyer discipline. Its information on Harris is here.
The Memphis Flyer ran an in-depth report on the politics behind Harris’ selection and how several contenders were considered for the post but ultimately did not run. The story is available here.
The Tennessee Star also reported on Harris’ selection process and the three-hour party convention.
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