On The Indictment Of A Former Congressional Candidate For Obstruction Of Justice

The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, Calif., has indicted former Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen on a federal obstruction of justice charge.  Nguyen allegedly provided investigators with misleading statements letters sent to Latino voters in California’s 47th Congressional District before the November 2006 elections.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has pressed the Justice Department to aggressively pursue allegation of voter intimidation in advance of the upcoming elections.  In September, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Justice Department’s preparations for the November elections.

 “Almost two years after the last federal election, the Department of Justice is now finally announcing an indictment in this California case.  This is an important step, and I hope it will serve to deter similar conduct in the future.  Candidates must be held accountable for the illegal and undemocratic actions of their campaigns.  Still, Americans have to wonder why the Department took no action until now.  Before the 2006 elections, there were many reports of the misleading letters meant to intimidate Latino voters in Orange County and keep them from voting.  Despite this indictment, I wonder why the Department has not taken action related to another incident of voter intimidation during the 2006 elections, where attorneys witnessed anti-immigrant activists armed with guns and badges aggressively intimidating Latino voters in the 9thprecinct in Tucson, Arizona.  Nearly two years later, I understand they have not even interviewed a single eyewitness. 


“The Senate Judiciary Committee reported Senator Obama’s bill to protect voters, the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, to prevent these activities and protect Americans’ right to vote.  When citizens’ votes are lost, an indictment two years later is of little solace.  The Justice Department should be doing a better job of protecting Americans’ voting rights in advance of the upcoming historical federal election, not waiting until the polls have closed.”


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