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Diane Lynn Harkey[1] (born June 20, 1951) is an American politician who was a member of the California State Board of Equalization, representing its fourth district. She previously served as a member of the California State Assembly and of the Dana Point City Council, and as Mayor of Dana Point. She was a Republican candidate for California's 49th congressional district seat in the 2018 election, losing to Democrat Mike Levin.

Diane Harkey
Member of the CA State Board of Equalization, Diane Harkey.jpg
Chair of the California State Board of Equalization
In office
February 23, 2017 – January 7, 2019
Preceded byFiona Ma
Succeeded byMalia Cohen
Member of the California State Board of Equalization
from the 4th district
In office
January 5, 2015 – January 7, 2019
Preceded byMichelle Park Steel (redistricted)
Succeeded byMike Schaefer
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 73rd district
In office
December 1, 2008 – December 1, 2014
Preceded byMimi Walters
Succeeded byBill Brough
Mayor of Dana Point
In office
December 13, 2006 – December 4, 2007
Preceded byLara Anderson
Succeeded byJoel Bishop
Member of the Dana Point City Council
In office
December 8, 2004 – December 1, 2008
Preceded byWilliam Ossenmacher
Succeeded byScott Schoeffel
Personal details
Born (1951-06-20) June 20, 1951 (age 67)
Joliet, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of California, Irvine (BA)
WebsiteGovernment website


Early years and educationEdit

Born in Joliet, Illinois,[1] Harkey moved to California with her family as a young girl.[2] Harkey graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine, with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.[3]

Banking careerEdit

Harkey has served as a vice-president in the banking industry and has had a 30-year career in corporate banking and finance.[4]

Political careerEdit

Dana PointEdit

Harkey's involvement in politics began in 1989, when she actively campaigned for the incorporation of the City of Dana Point. Harkey has served as a board member of the Ocean Institute and Dana Point Fifth Marine Regiment Support Group, a trustee for the Capistrano Valley Symphony, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. She served on the Dana Point City Council from 2004 to 2008, and during that period, in 2007, she served as the city's mayor.

California State Senate election, 2006Edit

In 2006, Harkey ran against then-Assemblyman Tom Harman for the 35th State Senate District in one of the closest California State Senate races in the state's history. Harman defeated Harkey for the Republican nomination by 225 votes or roughly 0.2% of the vote and went on to win the general election by 44,000 votes.[5]

California State AssemblyEdit

In 2008, she ran as the Republican nominee for the 73rd State Assembly district against Democratic nominee Judy Jones. Harkey received the endorsements of the Republican Congressional delegation in the district, Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (who vacated the seat to run for State Senate), former opponent state Senator Tom Harman, over 80 elected officials in Orange and San Diego Counties, and the Republican Assembly Women's Caucus. Harkey won the election with 53.4% of the vote, while Jones received 40.6% of the vote. She served in the Assembly from November 2008 to November 2014.

State Board of EqualizationEdit

In 2014, Harkey became term-limited in the State Assembly and ran for a seat on the California State Board of Equalization representing the 4th district,[6] which encompasses Imperial, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties, as well as small portions of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. She came in second place in the June 3 nonpartisan blanket primary with 34.0% of the vote,[7] and subsequently won the November general election by a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%.[8] She has been sitting on the board since January 2015.


Harkey represents the communities of Aliso Viejo, Coto De Caza, Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, California, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, and Trabuco Canyon.

Harkey has been an outspoken opponent of California High Speed Rail, introducing several pieces of legislation to defund the project.[9]

In 2017, the California Department of Finance audited the Board of Equalization and found a conference in Harkey's district had brought in 98 board employees to perform duties including "registration, parking lot duty, and break area facilitation". Harkey denied that she was involved in redirecting staff to these activities.[10]

In 2017, a California State Personnel Board audit of the California State Board of Equalization recommended the dismissal of one of Harkey's aides. The audit found that the aide was allowed to work from the agency's New York office, and that Harkey's staff "used their positions of authority to improperly influence, and arguably pressure, BOE executives to ensure placement" of the aide to a permanent civil service position.[11]

Interest group ratingsEdit

As of 2008, Harkey had received an "A" lifetime rating from the NRA.[12]

As of 2013, Harkey had a 100% rating from the Capitol Resource Institute, a socially conservative interest group in California.[13]

In a March 2016 opinion piece, Harkey noted that while gas prices around the U.S. had recently dropped dramatically, California prices had stayed high. She pointed out that even though the State Board of Equalization had approved decreases in the state gas tax, prices had not gone down accordingly. The reason for this, she explained, was "overreaching regulatory policies", such as "the cap-and-trade and low-carbon fuel fees".

Harkey has a 100% rating from the California Taxpayers Association[citation needed], and an "A-" grade from the anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for the six years she served in the California State Assembly.[14]

Committee membershipEdit

  • Business Tax Committee – Chair
  • Franchise Tax Board – Member
  • Member of the State Assembly, she served as Vice Chair for the Assembly Committees on Revenue and Taxation and Appropriations.[15]

Political positionsEdit


She would like to strengthen border security, and believes that California should pay more attention to that issue.[16] She supports President Trump's desire to build a wall on the southern border of the United States.[17][18][16]


Harkey supports taking care of the environment but has stated America is damaging its economy with unnecessary climate change laws. She believes America shouldn't be leading the global fight against climate change when other countries like India and China are releasing higher levels of greenhouse gases.[19] She doesn't support the federal plan to increase offshore drilling in California by the Trump administration, and believes California should get an exemption like the one given to Florida.[18]

Economic issuesEdit

Harkey supports the Trump administration's 2017 tax reform, especially as it affects employers, but has criticized how it got rid of state and local tax deductions for many California residents.[19]

Harkey supports free trade and has found some of the Trump administration's trade pacts "frightening" but believes the issues will resolve themselves.[19]

Gun policyEdit

Harkey said she's not a supporter of gun control laws "because the bad guys will always have guns". She has stated that school shootings are actually the result of drugs and mental health issues, as well as children spending too much time with games and cell phones during their formative years. She has stated children should not have access to cell phones in schools, and that schools should be doing more to identify and address children with mental health issues. She has stated support for locking down schools and arming teachers with guns if they're comfortable with it, but believes that isn't a country-wide solution.[19]


Harkey has stated that the Affordable Care Act has caused healthcare costs to rise in California. She has stated that Medicare is a failing program and does not support its expansion. She believes the federal government should be doing more to instill healthy habits in children and focus on improving healthcare technology to bring down healthcare costs. She has stated the NIH should be doing more to treat mental illness.[19]

President Donald TrumpEdit

Harkey has been endorsed by Donald Trump and supports some of his policies, though has said he lacks "charisma"[16] and his mannerisms are "not attractive", often making women uncomfortable.[19][20][17][18] She wishes he would post on Twitter less often.[19][17]

Husband's financial convictionEdit

Harkey's husband, Dan J. Harkey, is a loan broker who operated the company in Orange County, California called Point Center Financial Inc. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into the company in 2009 and subpoenaed records relating to $500 million in capital investments, where 60% of the loans had gone into default. In response, 50 investors from his company filed a lawsuit alleging Harkey was making risky investments and giving profits to his wife's political campaigns.[21] Point Center Financial Inc. filed for bankruptcy in February 2013. In July 2013, the company was ordered to pay $11.6 million after Dan Harkey was found guilty of eleven charges related to breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, having ruled he was guilty of Elder Financial Abuse by preying on older people for their life savings with "malice, fraud and oppression".[22][23] Diane Harkey was not implicated in the case and was removed as a defendant.[24] On July 30, 2018, an appeals court affirmed the judgement against Dan Harkey.[25][26][27][28]

In September 2013, Harkey sued California state senator Mark Wyland, a Republican from San Diego she was running against for a seat on the Board of Equalization, for $10 million due to alleged defamation.[29] She claimed he misstated the facts and intentionally inflicted emotional distress when he said, "Unfortunately, there has been a lawsuit brought by a lot of investors of modest means against her and her husband for defrauding them.... There was decision that those investors were defrauded and there is a judgment." She claimed the investors weren't of "modest means".[29][30]

In August 2014, when Diane was an assemblywoman and a candidate for the Board of Equalization, California Controller John Chiang was garnishing 25% of her $95,000 annual salary as state legislator in settlement of the 2013 case. She wrote to Chiang that she was legally separated from her husband Dan and should therefore be exempt from liability for his debts. Chiang rejected this argument.[31]

Electoral historyEdit

2014 Election: 4th District B.O.E. Member

California State Board of Equalization, Member 4th District election, 2014Edit

Party Candidate Imperial Orange Riverside San Bernardino San Diego District Total %
Republican Diane Harkey 9,539 389,404 203,475 58,978 369,184 1,030,580 61.4
Democratic Nader Shahatit 10,771 198,570 129,383 51,272 258,984 648,980 38.6
2012 Election: District 73 State Assembly

California State Assembly District 73 election, 2012Edit

Party Candidate Orange District Totals %
Republican Diane Harkey 130,030 130,030 64.3
Democratic James Corbett 72,196 72,196 35.7
2010 Election: District 73 State Assembly

California State Assembly District 73 election, 2010Edit

Party Candidate Orange San Diego District Totals %
Republican Diane Harkey 56,784 24,380 91,164 62.0
Democratic Judy Jones 30,359 19,487 49,846 38.0
2008 Election: District 73 State Assembly

California State Assembly District 73 election, 2008Edit

Party Candidate Orange San Diego District Totals %
Republican Diane Harkey 60,390 27,515 87,905 53.1
Democratic Judy Jones 40,130 27,355 67,485 40.8
Libertarian Andrew Favor 7,036 3,135 10,171 6.1
2006 Special Election: District 35 State Senate

California State Senate District 35 Republican Primary special election, 2006[36][n 1]

Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tom Harman 37,840 38.76
Republican Diane Harkey 37,604 38.52
Democrat Larry Caballero 22,176 22.72

California U.S. House of Representatives 49th District election, 2018Edit

On June 5, 2018, in the California "jungle primary", Harkey advanced to the November 2018 general election for California's 49th congressional district, finishing with the most votes in a crowded primary field. She advanced to the general election alongside Democratic environmental activist Mike Levin of nearby San Juan Capistrano, assuring that this north San Diego County-based district would be represented by someone from the Orange County portion.

In May 2018, the Orange County Register endorsed Harkey for the U.S. House.[37] In July, the Tea Party Express, America's largest tea party PAC, endorsed Harkey.[38] In late August, President Donald Trump tweeted what the San Francisco Chronicle described as "a glowing endorsement" of Harkey.[39][40]

Harkey was defeated in the November 2018 general election by Levin, who received 55% of the vote to Harkey's 45%.[41]

Personal lifeEdit

Harkey and her husband, Dan, have a daughter, Jaclyn.[42] Dan is a businessman who ran Point Center Financial for three decades after founding it in the 1980s.[43]


  1. ^ The rules of the special elections were that if a candidate received over 50% of the vote then the candidate wins outright. If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, then the top vote-getter of each party advances to the next round. Hence, Harman and Caballero advanced to the next round, held June 6, 2006


  1. ^ a b Schmidt, Gregory; Wilson, E. Dotson, 2009-10 California Legislature Handbook (PDF), State of California, archived from the original (PDF) on November 16, 2010, retrieved August 12, 2011
  2. ^ Zernike, Kate. "'Don't Run This Year': The Perils for Republican Women Facing a Flood of Resistance". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Diane L. Harkey, Alumna of the Year, 2009-2010". Saddleback College. 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-02-17.
  4. ^ "A look at House candidates in Orange County, California". New Haven Register. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  5. ^ Pasco, Jean O. "Harman Is Victor in State Senate Recount". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  6. ^ Torey Van Oot (February 12, 2013). "Diane Harkey officially launches 2014 Board of Equalization bid". The Sacramento Bee CapitalAlert blog. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013.
  7. ^ "Board of Equalization Member: 4th Board of Equalization District" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Board of Equalization Member: 4th Board of Equalization District" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2014-11-11.
  9. ^ Robert Cruickshank (March 17, 2012). "Diane Harkey Tries Again to Kill HSR". California High Speed Rail Blog.
  10. ^ Patrick McGreevy (May 7, 2017). "Accused of mismanagement, California's tax collection agency 'is in complete disarray,' officials say". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Adam Ashton (November 15, 2017). "State workers should lose jobs over nepotism findings, board says". The Sacramento Bee.
  12. ^ "Rating Group: National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund: 2008 Lifetime Score". Vote Smart.
  13. ^ "Rating Group: Capitol Resource Institute: 2013 Positions". Vote Smart.
  14. ^ "2014 HJTA Legislative Report Card". Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Click on "2014" in top menu to access.
  15. ^ "Harkey to Chair CA State Tax Board & Join Franchise Tax Board". Highland Community News. February 23, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c "State tax official Diane Harkey on the issues in the 49th Congressional District". The San Diego Union-Tribune. May 17, 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  17. ^ a b c "'Don't Run This Year': The Perils for Republican Women Facing a Flood of Resistance". Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  18. ^ a b c Daniels, Jeff (2018-08-26). "GOP stalwart Darrell Issa's retirement gives Democrats a chance to pick up a California House seat". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "Q&A with Congressional candidate Diane Harkey". The San Diego Union-Tribune. September 21, 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  20. ^ "Midterm Election Poll: California's 49th District, Harkey vs. Levin". Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  21. ^ Pfeifer, Stuart (2009-02-25). "SEC probes O.C. real estate lender Point Center Financial". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  22. ^ "Assemblywoman Diane Harkey's Husband Dan Ordered to Pay $11.6 mil for Ponzi-Like Scheme". OC Weekly. 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  23. ^ "Point Center Investors Awarded More Than $10 Million in Damages". Dana Point Times. 2013-07-19. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  24. ^ Pfeifer, Stuart (2013-07-15). "Jury awards $10 million in damages against legislator's husband". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  25. ^ Ronald Campbell (July 11, 2013). "Jury: Point Center Financial breached duty to investors". Orange County Register.
  26. ^ R. Scott Moxley (August 2, 2018). "Diane Harkey Campaigns for Congress on Ethics Platform While Her Husband is Labeled a Swindler". OC Weekly.
  27. ^ Alison St John (August 30, 2018). "49th Congressional Campaign Off To Aggressive Start". KPBS. Aired August 31, 2018 on KPBS News.
  28. ^ Jenkins, Logan. "In the 49th, making the playoffs will be survival of the fittest". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  29. ^ a b Joe Garofoli (September 16, 2013). "Republican state lawmaker sues fellow GOPer/future rival for defamation". SFGate Politics Blog. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  30. ^ "Harkey files $10 Million lawsuit against fellow state lawmaker |". 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  31. ^ Martin Wisckol (August 12, 2014). "State legislator's effort to avoid garnishment is rejected". Orange County Register.
  32. ^ "California Secretary of State: Board of Equalization Member by County" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
  33. ^ "California Secretary of State: State Assemblymember by District" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
  34. ^ "California Secretary of State: State Assemblymember by District (80 districts)" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
  35. ^ "California Secretary of State: State Assemblymember by District (80 districts)" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
  36. ^ "Special Election Results State Senate, 35th District* Special Primary Election, April 11, 2006" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
  37. ^ Editorial Board. "Diane Harkey for Congress". Orange County Register. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  38. ^ "Tea Party Express Endorses Three Dynamic Women for Congress in California". Tea Party Express. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  39. ^ Garofoli, Joe. "California Republicans' reaction to bad news from Washington: Ignore it". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  40. ^ Garofoli, Joe. "California GOP remains silent on Trump turmoil". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 25, 2018 – via pressreader.
  41. ^ "California Election Results: 49th House District". New York Times. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  42. ^ "Diane L. Harkey, Alumna of the Year, 2009-2010". Saddleback College. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  43. ^ Campbell, Ronald. "Judge ousts Harkey from Point Center". Orange Country Register. Retrieved 4 October 2018.

External linksEdit