9/18/08

Could RICO stop ACORN?

More ACORN stories: hereDale Rathke stories: here

Union-backed 'community organizers' threaten 2008 election with bogus voter registrations

Well, if it's getting closer to election day, then several things are due to start happening: the weather will get cooler, the foliage will start to change colors, and more and more people from ACORN will be caught faking voter registrations.

We could have our first frost any day here in New Hampshire, the leaves are already starting to turn (and fall off), and -- just in time -- ACORN is piling up the fraudulent voter registrations.

Michelle Malkin seems to share my loathing of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now!, and seems to have a hot-line on their travails. ("More fraud from ACORN? Quick, Chief O'Hara, to the Malk-Signal!") So, just what have these Community Organizers been up to lately?

Well, for starters, they've been working like the dickens in New Mexico -- where over 1,100 bogus registrations have been flagged.

They're also playing their little games in Detroit, in Cleveland, in Philadelphia, and in Milwaukee, just to name a few cities.

ACORN also thought it was just dandy to pay people with criminal histories of forgery and identity theft to staff voter registration tables in New Mexico.

I could go on and on and on, but that ought to be sufficient for now.

So, what's the big deal, anyway?

The big deal is that our entire system of government is built on free, honest, and fair elections. More importantly than the elections being free and honest and fair, though, is the PERCEPTION that they are. Like so many things, this is based on the public's faith more than anything else.

When ACORN registers bogus voters, than at the very least they are screwing around with our system of governance in many ways. For example, a lot of places use voter registration listings for jury pools. That causes headaches for our court system.

But at the worst, they are disenfranchising plenty of honest Americans.

Our system is based on the principle of "one person, one vote." Those are adjusted and weighted somewhat in certain elections, such as the electoral college system for the presidency, but overall the principle is the same: each eligible voter is entitled to exactly one vote.

When ACORN gets a bogus registration through the system, then they are opening a window for someone to cast more than one vote. This, in effect, cancels the vote of one or more people who voted in the opposite way from the ACORN cheater. So they have been deprived of their vote without even realizing it.

Here's another way it can happen: suppose an ACORN person goes to the polls and casts a ballot in someone else's name. If that person later shows up, then they will either be denied their vote or given a "provisional" ballot, which will be accepted after their identity has been verified. But even in that case, the original, fraudulent ballot will go through -- and at the very least, nullify that original ballot.

The other day, a bunch of people got their panties in a wad by citing this story. In Michigan, the state Republican party is planning on assembling a list of foreclosures and using that at the polls to challenge voters. This move is giving the Obama campaign conniptions, and they're suing to stop the practice.

The theory behind the GOP's move is simple: by law, one votes in the area where you live. When a foreclosure takes place, you no longer live at that address. If you are voting by claiming a residence where it is provable you no longer live, then you are not entitled to vote in that district.

Now, some folks who get evicted might find a new home in the same district, and still be eligible to vote. Some others will not have taken the time to update their voter registration (understandable; their priorities are otherwhere at times like that) and might just go ahead and vote where they're still registered -- which is not legal.

Here's a simple remedy, one that doesn't need any great effort: when you go to the polls to vote, bring with you two items: an ID and a proof of residence. For me, that's simple: I already have my driver's license with me, and I simply tuck my most recent Comcast or electric bill in my wallet. If I'm challenged, then I'm all set to prove that I'm who I say I am and I live where I say I live.

Challenges, folks, are GOOD things. They are a simple Quality Control measure -- and as anyone who has ever done any kind of production work (even fast food) can tell you, quality checks are a necessity. They don't necessarily prevent problems, but they do help identify them quickly to minimize the complications.

Personally, I'd like to see 100% quality control at elections. I'd like to see every single voter have their ID checked when they vote, to prove that they are who they say they are and to protect them from having their vote stolen or nullified.

But back to the scumbags at ACORN. At some point, they have to reach the "tipping point" when all these instances of voter frauds are no longer excusable as accidental and the work of rogue individuals. There has to be a point when the sheer number of these incidents reaches the point when folks say "these aren't flukes, these are patterns" and hold the organization responsible for the crimes committed in its name, by its agents.

Luckily, we have a law already on the books for just such occasions. It's called RICO -- the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Under that law, if an organization is tied to at least two violations of certain laws, then RICO can be applied against the organization as a whole.

Fraud is one of those crimes. And it includes identity theft.

Embezzlement is also one of those crimes. Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, stole about $1 million from the group. This was kept quiet -- ACORN's board was not even told about it, let alone law enforcement officials -- and the Rathke family agreed to pay the money back in exchange for secrecy. Dale wasn't even fired -- he was still on the payroll months after the agreement was reached, and only left after the story broke.

To me, the case for a RICO investigation and prosecution against ACORN is clear. Their defenders will, no doubt, cite all the good they group has allegedly done, but even giving them full credit for all they claim (something I do NOT do), that poses the question: just what is the exchange rate for good deeds versus felonies, anyway? Do we allow people to "buy" their way out of crimes by some sort of karmic balancing?

If that's the case, then I want in, too. There's this rather attractive woman I know who I'd like to get to know better, if you know what I mean -- but she might not be interested. I'm a six-gallon blood donor, so I've got that going for me. How many more good deeds will I have to perform before I can just have my way with her, regardless of her wishes?

Yes, that's a facetious argument. It's hyperbole. But I first thought of it back during the pedophile priest scandal, when I wondered why so many people tried to excuse the rape of children by priests -- and the wholesale covering up by the Catholic Church of the whole mess -- by citing all the good works done by the Church. The defense pissed me off then, and it pisses me off even more today.

ACORN's best hope, as far as I can tell, is if a certain old friend of theirs -- who's remained faithful to them for well over a decade -- wins election in November.

That's not a great thing to put much faith in, though. That old friend has a rather awkward habit of jettisoning people and organizations that end up embarrassing him.

Regardless of November's results, though, ACORN's history of crimes needs to be exposed -- preferably in a court of law. This is precisely the sort of corruption that must be stomped out, and stomped out hard.

(wizbangblog.com)

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