Total Pageviews

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In a New Attack, Brown Sets Target on Warren\'s Daughter


BOSTON â€" Senator Scott P. Brown on Wednesday accused Elizabeth Warren's daughter of using her position on the board of a nonpartisan organization in service of her mother's Senate campaign.

It is the latest exchange between Mr. Brown and Ms. Warren, his Democratic opponent, in what has become the country's most expensive Senate race â€" and one that will likely be critical in determining the Senate's balance of power come 2013.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr. Brown, the incumbent Republican senator representing Massachusetts, cited an effort by his state's Department of Transitional Assistance to mail almost 500,000 voter registration cards to individuals receiving welfare benefits. As part of the effort, the state will also run radio and television advertisements about voter registration and provide additional information on the issue in public assistance offices.

The Boston Herald reported on Wednesd ay that the effort is expected to cost more than $270,000.

The push is the result of a negotiated agreement in a lawsuit that said the state failed to follow the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which requires that all states offer voter registration at public assistance offices.

“I want every legal vote to count, but it's outrageous to use taxpayer dollars to register welfare recipients as part of an effort to boost one political party over another,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

Mr. Brown then referred to the fact that Amelia Warren Tyagi, Ms. Warren's daughter, is the chairwoman of the board of trustees at Demos, one of the public-interest organizations that are lending litigation or research to this issue in more than a dozen states.

“This effort to sign up welfare recipients is being aided by Elizabeth Warren's daughter, and it's clearly designed to benefit her mother's political campaign,” Mr. Brown sa id.

Ms. Warren's campaign swiftly responded, calling Mr. Brown's comments “ridiculous” and “baseless.”

“His entire attack is built on efforts in multiple states to enforce a law passed almost 20 years ago with bipartisan support,” said Mindy Myers, Ms. Warren's campaign manager, in a statement. “Even the Bush Justice Department filed suit to enforce this provision of that law. For Brown to claim this is some kind of plot against him is just bizarre.”

Lisa Danetz, the senior counsel for Demos and one of the lawyers in the Massachusetts case, said the case was not intended in service of either political party.

“This is really just about making sure that people are offered the opportunities that are required under federal law,” Ms. Danetz said. “This is not about partisan gain, about any particular candidate or election. It's about making sure we have a representative democracy and robust participation in the political process.”

Ms. Danetz added that Ms. Tyagi has not been directly involved in Demos' Massachusetts work. The organization has been working on enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act since 2004; Ms. Tyagi joined Demos in 2006.

“She's not been in the conversation in terms of the strategy on this,” Ms. Danetz said. “Demos has been doing this work well before Amelia was on our board, and we're going to do it long after the election is over.”

On Wednesday, the candidates also released dueling television advertisements. Ms. Warren's, called “Crushed,” calls for investment in higher education. Mr. Brown's ad, “Paul,” features an endorsement from a Democratic former district attorney for Bristol County, Mass.