Pryor Denies Charge He Hired Illegal Employee

Senate candidate Mark Pryor said a Hispanic woman who worked as his housekeeper provided documents proving she was in the country legally, denying a report that he had been hit with claims he hired an illegal immigrant.

Pryor, Arkansas' Democratic attorney general, blamed Republicans for the accusation. He called the claim that he hired an illegal immigrant, carried by Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge and some cable stations, "a shameless attack from Tim Hutchinson and his party."

Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., said Monday he was not at fault and that his campaign and party were not behind them.

"Absolutely, unequivocally, our campaign had nothing to do with these allegations," Hutchinson said from Jonesboro, where he began a final full day of campaigning. "Mark has tried to blame my campaign about this issue. It cannot be laid at my feet and I will not allow it to be."

An affidavit released by the Pryor campaign Monday, and bearing the signature of a woman named Hortenzia Osorio, said she was authorized to work in the country when she was Pryor's housekeeper. Pryor had said earlier that the woman worked briefly for him.

"She did light housework for us, as needed, for a few hours a week and only for a few months. We have never employed an illegal immigrant," Pryor said.

Separately, Pryor's campaign included a statement from Osorio that said a woman had called her and asked about her employment with the attorney general.

"At the end of the conversation, she asked me for my address so she could send me a gratuity," the woman wrote.