Remember Tan Nguyen, the GOP nominee to run against Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in 2006? The one who sent out a letter that’s commonly interpreted by Democrats and Republicans alike (but apparently not by his supporters) as threatening Mexican-American U.S. citizens that they can’t vote?
He’s been indicted by a federal grand jury. for lying to investigators about that letter, reports the OC Register‘s Norberto Santana Jr. here.
When the letter first surfaced, the California Attorney General charged Tan Nguyen, raided his campaign offices, took away his computers and then returned them a few days later after having copied all data. In February 2007, all charges were dropped.
The Bolsavik took Tan’s above picture at his press conference on October 22, 2006, two days after the raid. And below the jump is a picture that the Bolsavik took of a state police officer seizing documents from Tan’s campaign office.
The letter was written in Spanish, signed by one Sergio Ramirez, and used the letterhead of an anti-illegal immigration group, the California Coalition for Immigration Reform.
That group denied sending the letter, and said that the organization had no member named Sergio Ramirez.
The OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano (here) later found the Sergio Ramirez, a political science student at Cal State Long Beach, who had attended a meeting of CCIR as part of a class. It is believed that whoever made up the letter took Ramirez’s name from the CCIR’s sign-in sheet because it, well, sounds Mexican.
The CCIR at first denounced Tan Nguyen’s letter. However, when Tan Nguyen held a rally on October 28, 2006, the CCIR’s head Barbara Coe was in the crowd, cheering on Tan Nguyen.
Coe was later seen clapping her hands and swinging and swaying to a Vietnamese woman in fishnet stocking singing “Stand by your Tan.” (Too bad the Bolsavik didn’t have a camera that day; the OC Weekly had a picture somewhere…)
Tan Nguyen himself took changing positions regarding the letter. When the controversy first surfaced, Tan disappeared. Whereas before that the Bolsavik could always find Tan, for the next several days, Tan would not pick up his cell phone. Reportedly, the OC GOP’s head Scott Baugh couldn’t call him either.
Then he sent out a fax calling the letter “flawed and ill-conceived” and said he’d fired the person responsible.
And then he later re-hired the person, who was later identified as Mark Nhan Nguyen, whose daytime job is as a police officer. Tan started defending the letter, even though he still said he never “approved” it.
The fulfillment company that sent out the letter, Mailing Pros, however, said that Tan had called them and told them to hurry up with sending the letter out.
After the elections, which Tan Nguyen lost 4-to-6, the Bolsavik published a seven-part series in Nguoi Viet, examining Tan’s financial disclosures and all the insights that could be gained from it — including the likely source of Tan’s immigration stance: His campaign consultant Tom Fuentes, the same man responsible for the GOP “poll guards” in the 1988 Dornan vs. Sanchez elections.
Viet Weekly (the same magazine later accused of being communist and subjected to a year-long protest) jumped to Tan’s defense and made the Bolsavik famous by attacking him in print repeatedly.
Tan himself was gracious. He tried to call the Bolsavik but at the time the Bolsavik was in Vietnam, covering the APEC summit (more proof the Bolsavik is a commie). Later on, when the Bolsavik ran a front-page story about the California DOJ dropping all charges against Tan, he called to express his appreciation.
Guess he’s not in the clear yet.
The indictment (here) charges Tan with one count of lying to investigator, formally “misleading conduct toward another person with the intent to hinder, delay, and prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer of the United States.
Specifically, he’s charged with lying to a state investigator, who would have relayed such alleged falsehood to a federal investigator. (Can someone say “federalizing a state offense”? Anyway, practically all civil rights and voting rights cases can be viewed as federalizing a state offense.)
The U.S. Attorney’s office noted in its press release that if convicted, Tan Nguyen faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Tan, by the way, was the first chink in the supposedly united front of Viet GOP elected officials. The 2006 election season saw all the Republican Viet pols making a united front, taking a picture together and running that picture in all their ads.
Van Tran was there, as was Janet Nguyen, and also Dina Nguyen, Trung Nguyen, Lan Quoc Nguyen, and of course Tan Nguyen.
When the controversy arose, though, Garden Grove School Board member Lan Quoc Nguyen was the first to turn on his friend, attack Tan Nguyen and distance himself from the hot potato.
That photo never surfaced in political ads again.