Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this morning he plans to revive his drive to crack down on crimes committed within polygamous communities, and to help people seeking to leave plural marriage groups.
"I personally believe these people who are doing this, many of them are doing things that are immoral and in many instances illegal," Reid said.
There have been allegations of welfare fraud and abuse within such groups, Reid said. "We have an obligation to help these woman and children who are being victimized," he said.
Reid, the Senate majority leader, said he was "ignored by the Bush folks" when he pushed a polygamy crime bill last year. "I think that is really too bad." "Nobody seems to be concerned about (bigamy) but it is against the law in every state," he said.
FLDS Church leaders have been accused of strong-arming their followers, controlling their finances and forcing young girls into sex and marriage.
Reid's role in the issue drew even more attention since he is the most powerful Mormon church member in political Washington. He has said his actions are motivated by his personal faith, and not at the behest of church leaders.
Spokesmen for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have said Reid and others were seeking to "demonize" their entire religion for the crimes of a few.