American Elections Are Suspect

California Candidate’s Office, Home Raided
Republican’s Campaign Sent Intimidating Letters to Hispanics
By PETER PRENGAMAN, AP

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (Oct. 21) – State investigators on Friday searched an office of a Republican congressional candidate whose campaign mailed thousands of intimidating letters to Hispanic immigrant voters.

About 10 uniformed California Department of Justice agents arrived with a search warrant and could be seen opening cabinets, scouring desks and packing up a computer inside the storefront campaign office of Tan D. Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant trying to unseat a popular Democratic incumbent.

Nguyen has acknowledged that his campaign sent the letter, which wrongly said immigrants could be jailed if they voted. He blamed a campaign worker he said he has fired.

Nguyen has resisted calls from leaders in his own party to quit the race, saying he did not approve the letter and did not know about it.

State and federal officials have been investigating the mailing for possible violations of election or civil rights law. “We’re aggressively pursuing our investigation to determine exactly who is responsible for the letter,” Nathan Barankin, spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said Friday.

Nguyen was not in the Garden Grove office when agents arrived. A volunteer had said he planned to return for a mid-afternoon news conference, but instead his attorney, David Wiechert, arrived and cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

“A search doesn’t mean the person whose office is being searched is guilty,” Wiechert said as about 200 people including journalists, illegal immigration protesters and local Democratic candidates milled outside the office. “This is a political firestorm of high-ranking Republicans and Democrats speculating about an investigation they have no knowledge of.”

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