Last night, California Attorney General Kamala Harris spoke "truth to power" at a fundraiser hosted at Airbnb's new crisp and airy Soma headquarters. But the only fat cats in the room were the Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires who are helping to finance her reelection, including Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Airbnb investor Ron Conway.
Venture capitalist John Doerr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Uber investor Shervin Pishevar, power-shamer Marc Benioff and the suddenly politicized Sean Parker were all co-hosts, as well as Allen & Company managing director Shelby Bonnie, who will underwrite more billions for Airbnb and Uber soon enough.
And Harris could not have found a worse time to be standing near them! Here, let us count the ways:
1. It was the same day that San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera filed two lawsuits for evicting tenants in order to rent property out on sites like Airbnb.
2. This week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman—her fellow Democratic counterpart on the East Coast—is in the middle of trying to subpoena 15,000 Airbnb users for illegal sublets and possibly unpaid taxes.
3. After Airbnb refused to settle, the $10 billion company emailed all their customers in New York claiming that Schneiderman would seek user data "until the end of time" (and other assorted name-calling).
4. So many articles with the words "illegal" and "Airbnb" back-to-back!
5. For some diversity, how about Airbnb + the phrase "get you evicted and priced out of the city"?
6. San Francisco authorities are still trying to figure out when it's legal to use Airbnb.
7. Her fundraiser happened on the same night that Airbnb held a meet-up in New York City to try to explain to why startups can get you subpoenaed.
8. Conway has been known to coax the law in Airbnb's favor before.
There you go. Eight reasons why you didn't see CEO Brian Chesky posting front-backs with Harris last night or mention of it on Harris' Twitter.
Harris has been tough on tech companies once before, when it came to privacy. She also helped put anti-trust pressure on Google back in 2011. Here's hoping a few hours next to the "living wall" in Airbnb's lobby won't make her too soft on the moguls.
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