Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.
Sen. Scott Brown is crying foul over the Massachusetts welfare department's decision to send out nearly a half-million voting registration forms to people on public assistance. The reason: He says the effort is a clear push to boost turnout for his challenger, Elizabeth Warren.
As the Boston Globe explains, the mass mailing is part of the settlement in a lawsuit that had accused Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick's administration of violating what's known as the federal "motor voter law," which requires DMVs and public assistance offices to provide voter registration.
The problem, as Brown sees it, is who was behind the lawsuit that forced Patrick's hand: Demos, a left-leaning advocacy group chaired by Amelia Warren Tyagi, Warren's daughter. The group is one of several working on the registration effort, which, as the Globe notes, extends to a number of states, including Pennsylvania. Cases have been also been settled in New Mexico, Indiana and Georgia.
"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," Brown said in a statement. "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."
According to the New York Times, Demos has been working to enforce the law since 2004, not only well before Warren jumped in the Senate race but also before her daughter joined the group in 2006.
In addition to the mass mailing, Massachusetts will also run radio and TV ads about voter registration and provide additional info on the issue in public assistance offices. The overall effort is expected to cost more than $270,000, according to the Boston Herald.
Warren's camp responded by calling Brown's accusation "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 (via NYT). "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."