Sunday, March 29, 2009

Senate leader vows new bid to revive polygamy task force

Senate leader vows new bid to revive polygamy task force; The Salt Lake City Tribune

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday he would reintroduce legislation setting up a federal task force to crack down on polygamy-related crimes and would urge new Attorney General Eric Holder to take action as well.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat and Mormon convert, made a push for his measure last year after the raid of a polygamous community in Texas grabbed national headlines. Now, a year later, the Nevada senator says he still believes the federal government needs to step in.

"These people who are doing this -- many of them are doing things that are immoral, and in many instances illegal," Reid said at a breakfast meeting with reporters. "There's a lot of welfare fraud that goes on, domestic abuse that goes on. ... I think we have an obligation to help these women and children who are being victimized."

Asked whether he would bring back his bill to create a federal task force, Reid said, "I sure am."

The Democratic leader also said he would reach out to Holder -- who was sworn in Friday as the nation's top law-enforcement official -- and ask him to do something about crimes in polygamous communities.

"I just haven't had time but I'm going to speak to the attorney general personally about this," Reid said. "It's something we need to do."

A fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spokesman denounced Reid's threatened crackdown as an abuse of power.

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