A criminal case? Democrats push for Allen records

The DSCC asks the Virginia Bar to release materials that could explain why George Allen's name appears in a 1974 court file.

Published October 30, 2006 7:58PM (EST)

As we noted the other day, religious conservatives are raising a stink over works of fiction written by Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb. Democrats? They'd like to know a little more about George Allen's real life.

In a letter sent today, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is asking the Virginia State Bar to release the application materials Allen submitted when he applied for a license to practice law in the Commonwealth in the 1970s. "Mr. Allen's bar application was submitted less than five years after two arrest warrants were issued in his name in Albemarle County, Virginia," DSCC Executive Director J.B. Poersch writes in the letter. "Since the official arrest records have been purged, your organization may be one of a handful with official documentation regarding these arrests."

Allen's name appears in an Albemarle County court index from 1974. It's not entirely clear what that means. A court spokeswoman has told Talking Points Memo's Election Central that the listing could reflect an arrest warrant or could be for something less serious, such as a summons for unpaid parking tickets. State bar associations generally require would-be lawyers to document and explain any prior scrapes with the law. Thus, as the DSCC says, Virginia bar's records could disclose whether "Mr. Allen was arrested for unpaid parking tickets or for something much more severe like assault or battery."

The request comes as the Allen-Webb race seems to be moving deeper into the too-close-to-call category. An MSNBC/McClatchy poll released early last week had Allen up by three, which was pretty consistent with the overall averages we'd been seeing. But then a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll put Webb up by three later in the week, and the DSCC is out today with an internal poll showing Webb up by five points with just a week and a day to go before Election Day.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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