Harris’ Parting Shot: Expanded Complaint Against Backpages

On Tuesday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the state’s new U.S. Senator.   Before leaving, however, she continued her war against Backpages.com and its executives over the publication of prostitution ads.

As outlined previously, Backpage has been under increased scrutiny from Congressional investigators and state attorney generals, leading to the arrest of its CEO in August on prostitution related charges.  In November, thethe complaint was tentatively dismissed as being preempted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

On December 9th, the Court rendered a final ruling dismissing the complaint (see below).

Harris has responded by filing an expanded complaint to allege that Backpage created multiple corporate entities to launder money and circumvent the refusal of financial institutions to process Backpage transactions because of overtly sexual material.

Governor Brown has indicated he will appoint Congressman Xavier Becerra once Harris resigns.  There is no indication of whether Becerra will take a different approach with respect to Backpage.