Newsom Appointment of Laphonza Butler to Senate Could be Illegal


(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent appointment of Laphonza Butler, the president of the leftist EMILY’s List PAC, to the vacant California seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein could be illegal. 

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., raised concerns on Monday that this appointment, following Feinstein’s passing on Friday, may have violated California’s constitution because Butler, a Black lesbian activist, does not reside in the Golden State.

Speaking to Fox News, Issa expressed his reservations, stating “We’re not talking about the question of majority, we’re talking about 38 million Californians who have an absolute right to have somebody who puts California first – not who puts the District of Columbia first or Maryland, where she’s a resident, first.” 

Issa continued, “It’s not that he couldn’t find somebody, instead, [Newsom] chose the most progressive African American woman he could find, seemingly for political purposes.” 

According to FEC forms and the EMILY List’s own website, Butler allegedly resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is nearly 3,000 miles away from California.

Issa hinted that he intends to send a letter to Newsom, Senate leaders and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., to express his concerns about the residency of Butler, a requirement for those seeking a Senate seat in California. 

In response to these allegations, a spokesperson for Newsom claimed that Butler moved near Washington, D.C., in 2021 and reportedly owns a home in California. It is further stated that upon her swearing-in, Butler intends to change her voter registration to California. 

However, Issa remains skeptical, asserting, “The quid pro quo of agreeing to pay your California taxes in return for becoming a senator is not an acceptable bargain,” Issa said. “That’s a privilege the rest of us don’t get.” 

To be eligible for a Senate seat in California, candidates must be U.S. citizens, residents of the state, and registered voters there, Fox reported. 

Shortly after Newsom announced Butler as his pick to replace Feinstein, Butler edited her biography on the EMILY’s List website to remove any mention of her residency in Maryland.

Newsom’s decision to appoint Butler comes after days of speculation. In 2021, he had promised to appoint a black woman to the Senate seat, following Kamala Harris’s election as vice president. 

Some critics have raised the possibility of Harris returning to the Senate as a Newsom appointee, which could have potentially paved the way for Newsom to be selected as Joe Biden’s vice president ahead of the 2024 presidential election. 

Butler is expected to hold the Senate seat until the 2024 presidential election when the seat will be up for election. Newsom reportedly placed no prerequisites on the appointment, which means that she could seek a full term.

Notably, Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee are currently vying for the opportunity to fill the seat permanently. 

In announcing Butler’s appointment, Newsom stated, “As we mourn the enormous loss of Sen. Feinstein, the very freedoms she fought for – reproductive freedom, equal protection, and safety from gun violence – have never been under greater assault.”  

He added, “Laphonza will carry the baton left by Sen. Feinstein, continue to break glass ceilings, and fight for all Californians in Washington, D.C.”