Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) claimed Wednesday there is a coordinated effort underway in Massachusetts to bolster support for his Senate opponent Elizabeth Warren. According to Brown, Warren's daughter is behind the plan.
Brown's allegation hinges upon a drive to register recipients of welfare benefits who may not have been offered voter registration forms when they filed paperwork for state assistance, a requirement under the 1993 National Voter Registration -- or "Motor Voter" -- Act. Voting rights groups filed suit earlier this year after a 35-year-old woman claimed to have been repeatedly denied voter registration services at her public assistance office. According to one report, 94 percent of public assistance clients may not have been given a chance to register.
As in similar cases, Massachusetts decided to settle out of court last month, agreeing to contact 477,944 welfare recipients at a cost of $275,844 after having failed to comply with federal law. Republicans including Scott Brown, however, are now seizing on the fact that one of the parties involved in the suit was Demos, a think tank chaired by Warren's daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi. They say that is evidence that the registration drive is part of a conspiratorial effort to help Warren's campaign.
Here's Brown's reaction, from ThinkProgress:
I want every legal vote to count, but it’s outrageous to use taxpayer dollars to register welfare recipients as part of a special effort to boost one political party over another. 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. It means that I’m going to have to work that much harder to get out my pro-jobs, pro-free enterprise message.
“It smells wrong and it is wrong,” Brown also said of the move. “I’m going to now have to go out and work even harder.”
Warren's campaign later responded to Brown's remarks, pointing out that the suit was filed in order to force the state to comply with a longstanding law regarding the voting rights of welfare recipients.
"Let's be very clear –- Republican Scott Brown's baseless attack on Elizabeth's daughter is ridiculous. His entire attack is built on efforts in multiple states to enforce a law passed almost twenty years ago with bipartisan support. Even the Bush Justice Department filed suit to enforce this provision of that law,” Mindy Meyers, a spokesperson for the Warren campaign, said in a statement. "For Brown to claim this is some kind of plot against him is just bizarre. Elizabeth is very proud of her daughter and she will keep fighting for middle-class families across Massachusetts."