The Ugly Side of Politics; Ex-Congressional Candidate Gets 1 Year in Prison

Tan Nguyen
By Allan Lengel

Tan Nguyen represents the ugliest of ugly in politics.

The 35-year-old Vietnamese immigrant and former Republican California congressional candidate was sentenced Monday to one year and one day in prison for lying to investigators about a letter sent to Latino voters during his 2006 campaign against a Latino, Democratic incumbent. The letter said immigrants couldn’t vote.

In addition to the prison term, the U.S. District Judge David O. Carter in Santa Anna, Calif., ordered Nguyen to serve six months at a halfway house.

Last December, a federal jury convicted Nguyen of obstruction of justice for lying to the California Department of Justice and saying that campaign volunteers created the letter without his knowledge, the Justice Department said.

Authorities say the letter, written in Spanish, was sent to about 14,000 voters with Latino surnames. He lost his bid against incumbent Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the voting rights of all individuals,” Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez said in a statement.


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