Quite a few people are in high dudgeon over California Democratic congressional candidate Francine Busby and her apparent solicitation of votes from illegal aliens, including my own colleague Kim Priestap. As a hard-nose on the illegal alien issue, the thought of this happening infuriated me, so I started looking into it myself. And my conclusion? As Dorothy Parker said, “there’s no ‘there’ there.”
From the full context of the discussion, it’s clear to me that Ms. Busby was asked if one needed to prove one was a legal voter in order to “help” her campaign — with the clear implication of volunteering to work for her,not simply vote. She replied that they do not check IDs for volunteers, and anyone was welcome to assist. And under current law, they I do not believe they are required to verify the immigration status of an unpaid volunteer.
Whether or not that should be the case, that’s the way it is under current law. And whether or not Busby should be held to a higher standard than the legal minimum is another question.
Yes, it is possible to interpret the discussion as a solicitation for voter fraud. But it’s a hell of a stretch.
I’m not a lawyer, but if I were defending Ms. Busby, it’d be a slam-dunk. “No, your honor, my client was not soliciting voter fraud. She took the question to mean ‘can I volunteer for your campaign without proving my immigration status, as I do not have the papers on me at this moment?’, and replied that her campaign, in compliance with the law, does not require such proof from unpaid volunteers. The issue of voting was never in question; the discussion was entirely about campaign volunteer work.” It might not be true, but it’s enough to generate reasonable doubt.
At the very most, we have a Democratic candidate who is accepting the support of a potential illegal alien. This is absolutely nothing new, and not against any laws.
I hope she is defeated in Congress, as it is attitudes like hers that have put us in such a bind regarding illegal aliens. But I’m afraid this is hardly a smoking gun.