Rep. Walt Minnick isn't backing off of his criticism of Republican opponent Raul Labrador's work in immigration law.
In a guest opinion, the 1st District Democratic incumbent defends his controversial TV ad criticizing Labrador, and adds a new wrinkle: Minnick says Labrador sold his clients immigration documents that they could have received through the government.
"Raul’s business website sold immigration documents that could be obtained for free from the U.S. government, taking advantage of those who did not know better," Minnick writes in his guest opinion.
Minnick didn't make this claim in his TV ad, but campaign manager John Foster says it isn't a new issue. He says the Associated Press wrote about the issue in June, in an article about rapidimmigration.com, a company that provided self-help kits in legal immigration.
"Some packets included forms seeking the same information as a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services questionnaire would ask, though the materials noted that rapidimmigration.com would use the information to fill in the federal application forms," the Associated Press reported in June.
Labrador accused Minnick of lying, saying his company did not sell government forms — but instead sold step-by-step instructions on how customers could fill out government immigration forms. "(Minnick is) willing to say anything to get re-elected."
Here is a full comment from the Labrador campaign:
This is yet another attempt by Walt Minnick to deflect or attempt to divert attention from a meaningful, legitimate debate on a relevant campaign issue — as he has done on virtually every issue of this campaign. He is feeling the heat for running a mean-spirited, deceitful TV ad incessantly and he and his campaign continues to grasp at straws in a disgraceful attempt to defend the indefensible.
His own position on illegal immigration is just one major issue he’s avoided — the biggest are joblessness in America, as well as the explosion of the national debt under the Democrat majority, which he is responsible for due to his vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker. Raul Labrador wants to talk about all the issues, particularly jobs and our national debt. But instead the people of Idaho are subjected to yet another attempt by Walt Minnick to denigrate his opponent for his profession that reduces us all as concerned citizens.
Here's the Minnick guest opinion in full:
Facts are stubborn things.
We may wish they are not true. We may find them distasteful. We may even be
told that the facts themselves are not as they seem.
But facts they are, and no amount of political spin or media misreporting can change the facts.
Such is the case with Raul Labrador.
Advertisements about my opponent in the Nov. 2 election have stirred up some controversy, including on these editorial pages.
Some in the media and liberal blogs don’t like the straightforward, tough look at Raul’s own record and background, the two things he specifically points to as his main qualifications for office.
Although he claims to counsel illegal immigrants that they must leave the country before he can help them, in 2008 he told a gathering that half his clients have some sort of illegal status.
Records from the U.S. Justice Department show that he has represented hundreds of people facing deportation.
Raul’s business website sold immigration documents that could be obtained for free from the U.S. government, taking advantage of those who did not know better.
Before he ran for Congress he described his views on immigration as “to the left.”
And while Raul apparently does believe that our immigration system is broken, he did joke — even brag — about the “good living” he makes from that system.
Everyone facing criminal charges in this country has a constitutional right to representation by a lawyer. But it is hypocritical of Raul to claim he opposes “amnesty” and demand deportations when he earns his living by defending those here illegally who face just that.
He can’t have it both ways.
Raul himself has not publicly refuted any specific part of my advertising, and has only complained about quotes being “taken out of context.” He may believe that to be true, but I believe the advertising speaks for itself.
I am the first to agree that Raul, as an immigration attorney, is obligated to offer his clients the absolute best defense possible within the ethical standards and norms established by the legal profession.
However, there should be close scrutiny of Raul for running for office and saying one thing about immigration after doing the opposite in his professional life.
Walt Minnick is the incumbent candidate for 1st Congressional District.