The Missouri Democratic Party released documents today that it says shows that Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Blunt attempted to use his post 20 years ago as Missouri secretary of state to aid a woman from Nicaragua who was seeking asylum in the United States.I see three issues raised by this case:
In a 1990 letter on official state letterhead, Blunt wrote that the woman "has done some work for Roseann,'' his wife at the time. The letter was addressed to Gene McNary, then the head of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. McNary previously had been St. Louis County executive.
The state Democratic Party also released 1989 documents from the INS pertaining to the woman, Dora Navaez, that are stamped "employment not authorized." Attached to Blunt's letter to McNary was a lengthy letter from Navaez to Roseann Blunt, in which the woman lays out her immigration problems and her request for asylum.
Corey Platt, speaking for the state Democratic Party, said the documents show that Blunt "used government resources to reach out to Gene McNary'' and that he or his family had employed an illegal immigrant. Platt asserted that the incident showed Blunt's practice of "using his office'' to help friends and relatives. Blunt has been a congressman for 14 years from southwest Missouri.
First is the question of whether Blunt abused his office by reaching out to McNary. I'm not familiar enough with the case or with the general practices of politicians to evaluate this claim. Obviously, politicians help out constituents in dealing with government agencies quite often; in fact, many constituents get pissed if elected officials don't help them out with these issues. So I'd need to see more to be convinced that Roy Blunt did something beyond the pale on this issue (and yes I realize that Navaez, as someone who was not a citizen, is not technically a "constituent," but I think it's related to that general practice).
Second, there's the hypocrisy. Mannies writes the following:
The Kansas City Star reports that it got ahold of Navaez and that she said she had been the Blunts' housekeeper.Given Roy Blunt's stance on immigration and that Navaez was not authorized to work in the U.S., it would be pretty amazing if he had hired her to do housework. This issue has the potential to be pretty damaging.
Finally, and in my mind most importantly, is the fact pointed out by Sean at FiredUp that the Blunt campaign's statements seem to contradict the statements of the woman and the original letter. Blunt's spokesman claims that, "the woman merely helped at some church events, and was never employed by the Blunts." However, the Kansas City Star wrote the following:
A woman who identified herself as Narvaez spoke briefly with The Star. She said she had worked as a housekeeper for the Blunts for several months in 1990."Furthermore, the original letter from Blunt stated:
Dora Narvaez has done some work for Roseann [his wife]," and asks McNary to do anything he can "to provide information and an early resolution of this request."So it strongly appears that Blunt is claiming, in contradiction with his own letter and with the comments of Navaez, that she never worked for him. This might get very interesting, espcially considering that Robin Carnahan has already been making a strong move in the polls and Roy Blunt has been running away from reporters.