'You're killing the American dream.'

More collectivism stories: here

Worker Freedom: Compare the candidates

More worker-choice stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Dem solidarity with union bigs while GOP sides with rank-and-file workers

The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) has released a matrix comparing Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain's positions on issues concerning worker freedom. A fifteen category version is available on their website, www.workerfreedom.org. Executive Director Brian Johnson said, "We will be releasing short facts from the full version every day until the election to educate the voters on the two candidates and their different positions."

Policy Issue Obama McCain
------------ ----- ------
Right to Wants to force workers to Supports giving workers the
Work([1]) join a union and pay right to choose whether or
dues as a condition of not to join a union.
Card Supports forcing workers Supports the current law of
Check([2]) to vote on union holding union elections
membership using a using a private ballot
public ballot so just like other democratic
everyone, including processes.
union bosses, can see
how they voted.
Minimum Supports forcing states Voted to balance any minimum
Wage([3]) to raise their minimum wage increase with
wage leaving less money offsetting small business
to hire additional tax credits, thus
staff, increasing alleviating the burden of
unemployment. any wage increases without
increasing the cost of
Competitive Voted against legislation Supports allowing private
Sourcing([4]) that would have sector competition for
increased competition government jobs to lower
and efficiency in the cost to taxpayers,
government contracting increase efficiency, and
by allowing the private provide opportunities for
sector to compete. new employment in the
private sector.
Union Obama promised the Voted to increase Office of
Financial Teamsters he would end Labor Management Standards
Transparency federal oversight funding, providing the
([5]) imposed to root out necessary resources to
widespread corruption enforce existing union
and mob ties in the financial disclosure laws
union. and protect union members.
[1] Obama: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/laborissues; McCain: S. 370, 02/14/05, co-sponsored by McCain; S. 1788 Vote 188, 7/10/96.

[2] Obama: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/laborissues, H.R. 800, Vote 227, 6/26/07; McCain: http://www.johnmccain.com/Images/Issues/JobsforAmerica/briefing.pdf; H.R. 800, Vote 227, 6/26/07

[3] Obama: S.Amdt. 2115 to H.R. 3058, CQ Vote 258 10/19/05; McCain: S.Amdt. 44 to S. 256, Vote 26, 3/7/05; S.Amdt. 2115 to H.R. 3058, CQ Vote 258 10/19/05, H.R. 2, Vote 23, 1/24/07; S.Amdt. S.Amdt. 100 to H.R. 2, Vote 24, 1/24/07.

[4] Obama and McCain: Motion to table S.Amdt. 4230 to S. 2766, Vote 169 06/14/06

[5] Obama: S.Amdt. 3373 to H.R. 3043, Vote 380 10/18/07, "Obama Says Teamsters Need Less Oversight," WSJ (05/05/08); McCain: S.Amdt. 3373 to H.R. 3043, Vote 380 10/18/07

(Please note: The Alliance for Worker Freedom is part of Americans for Tax Reform)
SOURCE Alliance for Worker Freedom


ACORN slapped with RICO lawsuit in Ohio

Related: "Could RICO stop ACORN?"
More ACORN stories: hereRICO: hereVoter-fraud: here

Union-backed group compared to racketeers

Two Warren County residents have brought accusations against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, claiming the group is engaging in a pattern of organized crime by fraudulently registering people to vote.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Oct. 14 in Warren County Common Pleas Court, Jennifer Miller of Mason and Kimberly Grant of Loveland claim that ACORN's actions deprive them of the right to participate in an honest and effective elections process. The lawsuit was filed by the Columbus-based think tank Buckeye Institute on behalf of the two women.

The lawsuit asks that ACORN be disbanded and that an injunction be placed on it to prevent the group from registering any more voters.

ACORN stands firm that it has done nothing wrong.

"We think it is a frivolous lawsuit," said Amy Teitelman, the head of ACORN's Cincinnati chapter.

Teitelman said a similar lawsuit was filed by the Free Enterprise Coalition in 2004 and that claim was dismissed.

Miller and Grant could not be reached for comment.

Maurice Thompson of the Buckeye Institute's 1851 Center for Constitutional Law said fraudulent voter registrations submitted by ACORN dilute the votes of legally registered voters.

"It's organized crime," Thompson said, adding that all voters are affected by ACORN's actions. No specific incidents in Warren County were cited in the suit.

"We believe the voter fraud is pervasive, both statewide and nationwide," Thompson said. "But it is more of a problem in Ohio than in other states."

According to ACORN's Web site, they have registered nearly 250,000 voters in Ohio out of 1.3 million nationwide.

Thompson said the Buckeye Institute was approached by Miller and Grant, and together they filed the allegations of a state RICO charge – Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

In addition, the complaint cites conduct by ACORN in Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Read the full complaint [.pdf]: here.


Fraudulent Ohio registrants got absentee ballots

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Barack Obama: ACORN was victimized

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN can't escape Wade Rathke

Related: "ACORN's Wade Rathke: Disgraced Organizer"
More ACORN stories: hereWade Rathke stories: here

Controversial ACORN founder also founded SEIU

ACORN whistleblower Marcel Reid explains that "ours is the voice for hundreds of thousands of otherwise disenfranchised people." Noting that voice must now rise above questionable voter registrations and America's financial crisis, Reid cautions fellow board members to overcome "the ACORN culture of quiescence to Wade Rathke and his family so that ACORN vindicates the poor and moderate income people it represents."

ACORN whistleblower Karen Inman asserts with support of fellow board members known as the ACORN 8 that she and Reid were "authorized and need to pursue a forensic accounting, independent audit, and to preserve ACORN assets". Their efforts come after Wade Rathke, ACORN's former chief organizer, reportedly confessed to concealing an almost one million dollar embezzlement from the group, allegedly by his brother Dale Rathke.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 14, 2008 -- Courageous whistleblowers Karen Inman and Marcel Reid continue the fight they began for transparency and accountability within ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Fellow ACORN board members elected Inman and Reid to an interim management committee after firing Wade Rathke, their long time affiliate and Chief Organizer. According to board minutes, Wade's termination followed news that he concealed for nearly a decade, an almost one million dollar embezzlement from ACORN during the years 1999 to 2000, allegedly by his brother Dale Rathke.

The ACORN board voted unanimously "that funds be created to allow (Inman and Reid) access to professional consultants . . . so that the will of the Association Board be carried out." A certified community development financial institution joined Inman and Reid in overseeing a team of professionals to identify, preserve, account for, and otherwise protect ACORN assets and interests. The team includes attorneys who secured a temporary restraining order and are seeking additional injunctive relief for ACORN, the IMC, and eight board members dubbed the "ACORN 8". Their case is ACORN vs. Rathke, et al., no. 08-8342, before the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana.

Yet various ACORN staff and board members disparage what the ACORN 8 has done. "These dissenters claim the underlying petition was not properly authorized or in ACORN's best interests and should be withdrawn" says Inman. Media reports by the New York Times, The Times Picayune, and others suggest ACORN 8 detractors are ACORN's board president, Maude Hurd, and its interim chief organizer, Bertha Lewis. Inman and Reid add Steve Kest to the list, ACORN's executive director. They also include attorney Beth Kingsley of the D.C. law firm, Harmon Curran Spielberg & Eisenberg LLP. Kingsley is reportedly identified as ACORN's "outside counsel".

When asked to summarize the transition strategy their opponents support, Inman and Reid explain it "is substantially managed by people who helped Wade conceal his brother's embezzlement; involves private negotiations with Wade with no legal constraints on his part; hijacks the prerogative entrusted to us by board vote; and as is being implemented through unauthorized contracting." Both Inman and Reid complain that "such deference to Wade and disregard of ACORN board members nearly transformed ACORN into a Rathke family alter-ego over the years."

Two weeks ago, Louisiana District Court Judge Michael Bagneris ruled in the referenced ACORN vs. Rathke, et al., case no. 08-8342, that ACORN and its affiliated organizations shall not destroy ACORN corporate books and records. He refused to dismiss the IMC's petition for ACORN. Instead Bagneris instructed ACORN directors to settle on who are its authorized representatives at its upcoming New Orleans meeting.

Inman and Reid are arranging for experts, including their lawyers, to address ACORN in writing and in person. Their board presentation will be previewed at a press conference from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday - October 16, 2008 at the World Trade Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ironically the event seeks to quash intra-corporate disputes when ACORN faces unprecedented upheaval, arguably from outside forces.

This historic election season likely marks the end of ACORN's uncanny ability to be both prominent and relatively obscure. For many, the group is synonymous with community organizing. So some may relish ACORN writhing in the media spotlight.

Referencing ACORN, Marcel Reid explains that "ours is the voice for hundreds of thousands of otherwise disenfranchised people." Noting that voice must now rise above questionable voter registrations and America's financial crisis, Reid cautions fellow board members to overcome "the ACORN culture of quiescence to Wade Rathke and his family so that ACORN vindicates the poor and moderate income people it represents." Reid and Inman emphatically assert with support of the full ACORN 8, that they were "authorized and need to pursue a forensic accounting, independent audit, and expedited discovery to identify and protect ACORN assets and interests."


Court smacks down Ohio's fraud-friendly SoS

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Devastation, humiliation for Jennifer Brunner as 6th Circuit reverses on TRO

A 3-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently vacated a temporary restraining order which would effectively make Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner follow the law - and do her job - in preventing election fraud. Tonight, the full court decided to hear the case en banc, and has reimposed the TRO. This is great news.

Here are some highlights:

"So far as this record is concerned, the Secretary has given no tenable exlanation why her current interpretation of the statute, as opposed to the office's prior implementation of the law, remotely furthers the anti-fraud objective of the law."

The Ohio Republican Party's position is "not only sensible but it is also fair - and it also furthers both objectives of HAVA ..."

The court mocks Brunner's defense as "[t]he bureaucrats' lament - that this will be difficult to do."

UPDATE: In looking at the decision, it appears the full court voted 9-6 to hear the case en banc (which means all of them). I'd say the 9-6 vote is a good sign, but doesn't necessarily mean the case will end that way. Tonight's decision has been described as the opportunity to "live and fight another day." But in the world of temporary restraining orders, if you have it, that's all that matters for the time being. And the time being is what is crucial right now.

Second point - the initial district court decision got some press because the judge found that Brunner was actually violating the law. That dialogue was snuffed out by the subsequent reversal. But now it's back. When you run into Jennifer Brunner on the street, you can ask her why she's violating federal election laws.

UPDATE 2: Here's a link to the decision (pdf).

UPDATE 3: Laura did a pdf link which you bloggers can use to cut-and-paste.


Minnesota launches ACORN investigation

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed group has criminalized the voter registration process across the nation

The Hennepin County Attorney's office said today it is investigating whether a voter registration processing lapse at the Minnesota ACORN office falls within guidelines for criminal prosecution.

A malfunctioning scanner at ACORN's St. Paul offices in August created a backlog that caused a batch of cards to be submitted late to the Hennepin County Elections Board. All of the registrations were processed in time to allow voters to participate in both the primary and general elections. None was discarded for fraud or ineligibility.

Despite the recent controversy over ACORN voter registration practices, the grass-roots community organization's policies appear to be in compliance with state law, Deputy Hennepin County Attorney Pat Diamond said this afternoon. If the county finds cause for prosecution, it likely would focus on individuals. Diamond declined to speculate what kinds of charges could be pursued, or what kind of penalty would be possible.

Organizations are given a 10-day filing period intended to prevent a last-minute backlog of registrations at county elections offices. ACORN officials declined to say exactly how many cards were affected, or how far outside the window they were submitted.

ACORN executive director Brandon Nesson estimated the batch as "less than 1,000," and the timing as "within a month."

In its voter registration drive, which began in January and ended Tuesday, Minnesota ACORN registered about 43,000 new voters, a figure it boasts is 75 percent of the state's new registrations.


ACORN worker jailed for forgery in Michigan

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Where there's smoke, there's fire

Michigan's attorney general is charging a former employee of a community organizing group with forgery after he says the man falsely submitted six voter registration forms.

Antonio Johnson is being held in Jackson County on a parole violation. The 23-year-old is accused of falsifying the registration forms between May 20 and June 6 in Jackson. He worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.

Jackson Clerk Lynn Fessel suspected a problem and asked police to investigate. Two residents said they didn't sign the forms and that some information used to complete the forms was incorrect.

Attorney General Mike Cox announced Johnson's arrest Tuesday. Johnson couldn't be reached immediately at the jail.


Union members back worker-choice

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"
More worker-choice stories
: here union-dues: here

But press coverage overwhelmingly favors forced-labor unionism

The Rocky Mountain News praised the deal under which several union-sponsored measured were pulled from the ballot ("Dodging the bullet," Oct. 3) and so will not advocate for Amendment 47 as a result. We think that is a mistake and would like to explain why.

Throughout this campaign season, we have heard from business leaders and organizations, large and small businesses, about why Colorado needs to pass Amendment 47. Very little attention, however, has been paid to the union workers in Colorado - those Coloradans who will be most affected.

Both of us are union workers in Colorado, and we, along with many co-workers and union friends, support Amendment 47, Colorado's Right to Work Amendment.

Amendment 47 will make it illegal to force workers to pay union dues in order to keep a job. It will guarantee that we can no longer be forced to pay union dues against our will, but it does not forbid it, either. What it does is give us a choice.

We are employed by two great companies in Colorado - Qwest and Kaiser Permanente. Together, we have about 40 years of experience at these companies. Unfortunately, however, we have collectively been paying union dues against our will - at about $50 per month, for 12 months a year, for 40 years.

That's about $24,000 out of our pockets, and we don't have a choice.

We are not anti-union. In fact, we both see great value in unions and union membership for many of our co-workers and fellow Colorado citizens. But we also feel that everybody should have a choice about whether or not they will join a union or pay dues to a union.

Currently, we don't have that choice.

Amendment 47 is a pro-freedom issue, and it will give us a choice that we haven't had for 40 years - at quite the personal economic sacrifice from both of us.

We of course talk to our friends and co-workers. We can say with confidence that the two of us are advocating for the passage of Amendment 47 on behalf of thousands of hard-working Coloradans who are being forced to pay union dues against their will.

We also find that unions spend a lot of our money on things that don't promote better wages or benefits, or a better workplace. It's no secret that unions spend a large percentage of their money on political causes its members may or may not agree with.

When Amendment 47 passes, those who find value in union membership are still free to continue supporting their union. In fact, Amendment 47 may actually strengthen the collective voice of workers by making union leaders more accountable to their membership. But those who don't see value will be free to hold on to their money and spend it as they see fit in their family's own best interests.

Every person in Colorado will agree that our economy is struggling. There are thousands of people who are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage, pay their energy bills or put food on the table.

It's never right to force somebody to give up part of their paycheck to a private organization against his or her will. But in these tough economic times, it's an even greater injustice.

As union workers, we support Amendment 47 because it will return power to the individual, and we hope you join us. It's imperative we pass Amendment 47 in November to advance personal freedom and individual liberty for every worker in Colorado.

- Jay Hesterman has been a technician at Qwest for 28 years. Linda Daniels has been a registered dietitian for Kaiser Permanente since 1996.


Out-of-state union cash overwhelms Colo. voters

More worker-choice stories: here

Unions go all-out to defeat worker-choice measure

Major donors have poured another $4.4 million into the state's ballot measures in what is the most expensive issues election in the state's history. The new influx brings the total money contributed to almost $50 million, approaching four times the previous record of $14 million raised in 2004 for statewide ballot measures.

Energy companies in early October resumed donations to fight a severance tax measure, and unions continued to put millions into fighting three other proposals, with businesses beginning to fulfill their promise to labor to assist them in the battle.

"Our partnership is in full force and we're confident that with it we will defeat Amendments 47, 49 and 54," said Jess Knox with the union-backed Protect Colorado's Future committee.

Filings by major donors with the secretary of state's office showed that the campaigns for and against the three anti-union measures generated the most money.

Last week, Colorado labor and business leaders agreed to jointly fight the three measures in return for the unions agreeing to withdraw four anti-business ballot issues.

Business also agreed to raise $3 million to defeat the measures on "right-to-work," union-dues deductions and restrictions on political contributions from unions.

Filings show that a new business political committee, Colorado Businesses for Sensible Solutions, raised at least $1.1 million in early October toward that pledge.

The Colorado Bankers Association gave $215,000, while Western Plains Capital donated $200,000.

In addition, the National Education Association made a $1 million donation to one union committee fighting the ballot issues, while another union group raised $785,000.

That brings the total donations against the three amendments to almost $17 million since the campaigns began.

The reports also showed large donations to groups backing the measures, though not of the same magnitude.

A Better Colorado, the group behind the right-to-work Amendment 47, got $200,000 from the National Right to Work committee and $10,000 from American Furniture owner Jake Jabs.

"We're happy to have the support we do have," said Kelley Harp, of A Better Colorado. "We always expected to be outspent, but our message is strong.

Clean Government Colorado, the proponent for Amendment 49 restricting payroll deductions for union dues, got $405,000. All of the money came from Colorado at its Best, a Golden nonprofit group.

Another committee supporting Amendment 49, Ethical Standards Now, took in $91,000.

Amendment 58, the Gov. Bill Ritter-backed measure to eliminate the tax credit on the state's severance tax paid by energy companies, also attracted large donations for and against.

After a four-week hiatus, energy companies resumed their donations to Coloradans for a Stable Economy, the committee fighting the measure, giving another $425,000 and bringing total contributions to about $10.4 million. Conoco Phillips was the largest donor in early October at $200,000.

Dan Hopkins, spokesman for the Stable Economy group, said the recent spate of newspaper endorsements against the measure spurred more donations from energy companies.

But George Merritt, spokesman for A Smarter Colorado, the committee behind Amendment 58, said the energy companies must not need the tax credit if they can afford to donate so much money.

"It strikes me that oil and gas companies have spent $10 million on this campaign, but apparently that wasn't enough," he said.

A Smarter Colorado got $171,500 from major donors in early October, bringing its total contributions to almost $3 million. Colorado Conservation Voters was the largest donor, $95,000. The recent reports only include donations of $1,000 or more. Complete committee reports are due later this week.


Union organizers expose EFCA fraud

More EFCA stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Kaus: EFCA = Anti-Obama boomerang

More EFCA stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Obama backer opposes card-check fascism

Knock, knock. Who's there? Another McGovernite: A reader writes about "card check" unionization -
I'm an Obama supporter - voted for him [in] the primary, and plan to again in November - but I share your concern on this particular issue.

There's a unionization campaign going on in my company, and the organizers from the local seem to be running the campaign as if card check already existing - knocking on doors, getting cards signed, and trying to use them as leverage to get management to agree to the union without an election. They don't have the votes yet for an election, and they may be biding their time until card check is passed.

Co-workers who've had union reps show up unannounced at their doors (with cards in hand) were freaked out by it. When people get a first-hand taste of this, they don't like it. I can't believe that if the basic facts of this issue were made known that a majority of people would support it.
P.S.--Fear of 59? An earlier Assignment desk asked if any Democratic senators might turn against card-check to sustain a filibuster even if the Dems get a 60-seat majority. An informed emailer answers by noting that every Democrat voted for cloture on "card check" when the issue came up in 2007 (except Tim Johnson, who was unable to vote). Of course, their judgment might change when their cloture vote would mean the bill would actually pass. Likely-senator Mark Warner of Virginia and possible-senator Ronnie Musgrove of Mississippi are mentioned as a potential anti-card-check apostates in the next Congress, along with incumbents Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.). ... Might any GOP senators defect the other way? Yes. Arlen Specter voted for cloture in 2007 and would presumably do it again (which means that the magic number for organized labor could be 59, not 60, Democrats). And beatable Republicans up for reelection in 2010 (e.g., Voinovich, Grassley, Vitter) might worry about angering the unions. ...

- Mickey Kaus


CNN: ACORN becoming an issue

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Congressman rips ACORN fraud

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Local TV: ACORN Missouri fraud

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Obama backtracks on ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN: America's Obama nightmare

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Palin rips Obama over ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN's Community Organizing Tactics

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Registration fraud comes before voter fraud

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed ACORN supplies phantom voters for Obama

With only a few weeks left in the presidential race, there's just enough time to stir up doubt about the integrity of the country’s voting system. Amid the various stories of fraud and purges, voters are left wondering whether, come Election Day, their ranks will be wrongfully inflated, illegally shrunken, or just right.

ACORN, a left-leaning community organizing network, admits it has collected registration forms with erroneous information (like celebrity names), but insists the flaws are isolated problems and not an orchestrated attempt to manipulate the election. The group says the forms, which make up less than 1 percent of the 1.3 million new registrations, were mostly identified by the group itself, in compliance with federal election law.

ACORN's defenders say the GOP is just trying to suppress a groundswell of fresh votes from the working class and communities of color, which could lead to a Democratic landslide.

Besides, the Washington Independent contends, since the issue here is botched registration forms collected by the group's workers, not actual illegal voting, the main victim of fraud at this point seems to be ACORN itself, as an employer.

ACORN has been a perennial target for conservative attacks, but the group’s ties to Barack Obama have given the right extra fodder. According to news reports, Obama once helped litigate a polling access lawsuit on the side of both ACORN and the federal government; he put in a few hours to help with a leadership training program; and the Obama campaign donated money to an ACORN affiliate for voter mobilization activities.

In the same tone used to drum up concerns about Obama's ties to William Ayers, the McCain camp is suggesting that an Obama-ACORN conspiracy is at work:

“Given ACORN's recent efforts to engage in voter fraud and to disrupt our political system, Obama's affiliation with this group raises serious questions about his judgment and ability to lead this nation.”

But while the fraud charges have riled up right-wing commentators and spurred investigations in Nevada and Ohio, media probes have yielded scant evidence of a plot to undermine the election.

Liberals hope the ACORN controversy doesn't distract the public from a more troubling pattern of possible electoral misconduct. A recent New York Times investigation noted systematic scrubbing of voter rolls in key states, including Ohio and Nevada. Though bureaucratic incompetence appears to be the main culprit, the report has stirred worries that wrongful disenfranchisement could lead to another 2000 Florida-style fiasco.

ACORN has confronted fraud complaints from Republicans previously, and in some cases, the attacks have backfired. In the U.S. attorney firing scandal, the public learned that New Mexico U.S. attorney David Iglesias was removed after resisting pressure to do the GOP's bidding by cracking down on the group.

Finally, there is the question of what impact voter registration “fraud” actually has on an election's outcome. After all, with new voter identification laws in place, it's probably a lot easier to fill out a registration form for "the starting line-up of the Dallas Cowboys" than it is to cast votes on their behalf at a local polling station.

Loyola law professor and election law expert Richard Hasen is critical of ACORN's quality control efforts, but argues that the election's outcome won't be impacted. Rather, he warns, official backlash could do far more damage:

“So even if Mickey Mouse is registering, he is not showing up on election day to cast ballots, and so far as I am aware, there have been no cases of phony voter registrations leading to the casting of votes in any election that have been on any large scale -- much less affected the outcome of elections. So we should all agree that those who submit fraudulent voter registration forms should be punished criminally, but that such activity is not going to affect the outcome of the presidential election: Obama is running way ahead in the polls, and if he wins in a landslide it is not because Donald Duck has voted thousands of times in key swing states.

“But cries of voter fraud allow for harsh purging of voters from the rolls. Because of decentralization of election authority and a lack of administrative competence or will, the rolls are inaccurate in many states. Careless purging—driven by unsubstantiated fears about voter fraud—can lead to many eligible voters being incorrectly removed from the polls.”

In other words, a crisis of confidence on Election Day could lead to a solution worse than the problem.


The United States of ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Welcome to Barack Obama's America

IBD: As a major voting fraud scandal explodes, the mainstream media seem intent on ignoring it. Given the seriousness of the charges, maybe a formal federal investigation is in order.

The charges involve ACORN — the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now — for which Barack Obama once served as a lawyer and as a trainer. In recent months, a picture has emerged of ACORN as a group run amok — with ACORN accused of registering thousands of bogus voters using such names as Mickey Mouse, Veronica Mars and Pat Tillman, plus names from the Dallas Cowboys.

Why care? As documented by Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, Obama has ties to ACORN that are numerous, irrefutable and go back years. Initial denials by the Obama campaign of links to ACORN have been shown to be false.

Obama at various times during his 1990s career as a "community organizer" served ACORN in several roles, including as a major conduit of funds. And the ties continue. This year, Obama's campaign has delivered $800,000 to an ACORN affiliate. Obama has also vowed to give ACORN a big role in his administration.

ACORN's links to the Democratic Party are deep, extending back to its 1970 founding. By its own reckoning, ACORN this year has registered 1.32 million voters in 18 states — many in swing states that could have an outsized impact on the outcome of the election.

Nothing wrong with registering voters, except that ACORN has been accused of voter fraud activities across the country. At least 12 states have started investigations against ACORN.

ACORN also has been implicated in the subprime mortgage meltdown. But it still gets millions in taxpayers' dollars. Something is seriously wrong here.

Yet the media seem curiously incurious about it — just as they refuse to look deeply into Obama's longstanding ties to terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, or ACORN's own radical ties.

ACORN, as it turns out, was co-founded by Wade Rathke, a former member of the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The SDS spawned the terrorist Weathermen — of which Ayers and Dohrn were members.

The media show no interest. They're in the bag for Obama, big time. A study of the Big Three networks' election coverage released Tuesday by George Mason University's Center for Media & Public Affairs found that, from Aug. 23 to Sept. 30, 61% of their stories about the Democratic Party were positive; just 39% of the stories about Republicans were positive.

With widening evidence of massive voter fraud nationwide, we can't leave it to a biased media to investigate. ACORN's alleged voter fraud crosses all jurisdictions, and is now federal in scope.

So why hasn't the Justice Department launched a full-scale investigation? Or the Federal Election Commission?

And why isn't Congress up in arms over this attempt to steal our republic?


ACORN probed by GOP, abandoned by Dems

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Ailing nation sickened by union-backed voter fraud group

While the Obama campaign contends that Republican challenges to voter-registration drives by ACORN and other groups are illegitimate, it consistently has distanced itself from ACORN.

In a conference call with reporters just completed, Obama campaign general counsel Bob Bauer did it again, calling the GOP case against ACORN “ludicrous” and then denying any connection between the campaign and the organization.

“We have our own registration effort,” he said. He disputed news reports that the Obama campaign has given $800,000 to ACORN.

“We have never paid ACORN a penny for registration purposes,” he insisted. “It’s simply not true.”

This morning, I asked ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan how he felt about Obama’s disavowal of his organization since the voter-fraud controversy erupted.

He dodged that question, simply saying that ACORN is nonpartisan and functions independently of any campaign.

But I’d imagine that ACORN people must be frustrated to find themselves attacked from the right and abandoned by the left.


ACORN preps Florida voter fraud

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Fake names downplayed by union-backed group

Mickey Mouse tried to register to vote in Florida this summer. Orange County elections officials rejected his application, which was stamped with the logo of the nonprofit group ACORN.

Tow truck driver Newton Bell did register to vote in Orange County this summer. In the hands of ACORN, his paperwork went through without a hitch. Two cases, two outcomes, each with a connection to ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Nationwide, ACORN is a favorite GOP target for allegations of voter registration fraud this year.

That's not new. Similar complaints followed the 2004 elections. A criminal investigation in Florida found no evidence of fraud. ACORN even has a cameo role in the scandal over the 2006 firings of several U.S. attorneys by the Bush Justice Department.

Under attack again, ACORN leaders defend their work. Often, they say, things are as not simple as they're portrayed.

Take Mickey Mouse.

Yes, that's their logo. But they say their workers routinely scanned all suspicious applications.

"We don't think this card came through our system," said Brian Kettenring, ACORN's head organizer in Florida.

With more than 450,000 member families nationwide — 14,000 in Florida — ACORN is a grass roots advocacy group focused on health care, wages, affordable housing and foreclosure.

Bell, the truck driver, certainly, is more representative of ACORN's work in Florida than the cartoon mouse is.

This year, ACORN signed up 1.3-million voters nationwide and about 152,000 in Florida, mostly in Orange, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. ACORN estimates it flagged 2 percent of its Florida registrations as problematic because they were incomplete, duplicates or just plain bogus.

That's enough to give headaches to election officials and to provide ammunition to Republican activists.

Brevard County elections officials have turned over 23 suspect registrations from ACORN to prosecutors. The state Division of Elections has received two ACORN-related complaints, in Orange and Broward counties.

ACORN wasn't active in the Tampa Bay area. Last week, however, Pinellas County elections officials gave local prosecutors 35 questionable registrations from another group, Work for Progress.

The GOP accuses ACORN of registration fraud all over the country. In Las Vegas, authorities said the group's petitions included the names of the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys.

"This is part of a widespread and systemic effort … to undermine the election process," says Republican National Committee chief counsel Sean Cairncross, who describes ACORN as a "quasicriminal organization."

No, Kettenring said, it's more like Wal-Mart.

"Some percentage of Wal-Mart workers try to get paid without doing their work or steal from their employer," he said.

Some ACORN workers, he said, have simply made up names.

Maybe, elections officials say, but it's still annoying.

"We did experience a significant amount of problems, enough that we did contact the group to express some of our frustration with their work," said Linda Tanko, Orange County's senior deputy supervisor for voter services.

ACORN's problems included applications with unreadable handwriting, missing information, signatures that didn't match those on file, altered dates of birth or Social Security numbers, applications for people already registered to vote and names that appeared repeatedly, often with different addresses.

ACORN said it terminates canvassers who forge applications. In Broward County, it fired one worker after he turned in applications with similar handwriting and brought the matter to the attention of the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Pay to gather registrations started at $8 an hour, and the goal was 20 signups per day. The organization did not pay by the signature or pay bonuses for volume. The organization also tried to follow up on each registration, calling the person listed to confirm that the form is accurate.

In most states, ACORN must turn in every form that is filled out. "We must turn in every voter registration card by Florida law, even Mickey Mouse," Kettenring said.

Well, not yet, said Jennifer Krell Davis, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State.

Florida does have a law saying third-party voter registration groups must turn in every form without regard to things like party affiliation, race, ethnicity or gender. So far, however, the state has not written the rules to implement it.

In Florida, ACORN is best known for its 2004 effort to lead a petition drive to raise the minimum wage. The FDLE looked into voter fraud allegations then and found no laws were broken.

ACORN also played a role in the firing of one of nine U.S. attorneys dismissed in 2006.

In New Mexico, U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was fired "because of complaints by elected officials who had a political interest in the outcome" of, among other things, a Republican voter fraud complaint against ACORN, according to an internal Justice Department report last month.

This year, 39 members of the House of Representatives have asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate ACORN.

One of those, Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo, also has written to supervisor of elections offices in Central Florida seeking "all ACORN-related registration of voters within the last two years."

Republicans also accuse Sen. Barack Obama of trying to distance himself from ACORN, which he represented in a federal lawsuit in 1995.

ACORN's political action committee has endorsed Obama, but the group says its voter registration efforts are nonpartisan.

And the McCain campaign's complaints now are puzzling, ACORN says, because two years ago McCain was the keynote speaker at an immigration reform rally ACORN co-sponsored in Miami. "In 2006," Kettenring said, "we were working together."


Bogus ACORN voter booted in Ohio

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

4,000 registrations questioned by authorities

Investigators probing ACORN have learned that an Ohio man registered to vote several times and cast a bogus ballot with a fake address, officials said yesterday, as they revealed that nearly 4,000 registration applications supplied by the left-leaning activist group were suspect.

The vote of Darnell Nash, one of four people subpoenaed in a Cuyahoga County probe of ACORN's voter-registration activities, was canceled and his case was turned over to local prosecutors and law enforcement, Board of Elections officials said yesterday.

Nash had registered to vote repeatedly from an address that belonged to a legitimately registered voter, officials said during a hearing at which the subpoenaed voters were to testify.

Board officials had contacted Nash this summer, questioned his address and told him to stop repeat registering.

But still, he breezed into Ohio election offices - the state allows early voting for president - reregistered with a fake address and cast a paper ballot, officials said.

"He came in on 9/30 and Mr. Nash again registered to vote at [someone else's] address, and he cast a ballot," said board official Jane Platten.

Nash did not turn up for the hearing.

The Post reported last week on the Cleveland-area probe and the subpoenas, which were sent out to four people - including two voters who said they were hounded by ACORN workers to register over and over, even when they warned they'd already done so.

It's the latest issue in the probe of ACORN's registering voters in Ohio, one of at least nine states where officials are investigating similar reports of phony sign-ups by the group.

At the same time, officials said, some 5 percent, or 3,650, of the 73,000 total registration cards turned in by ACORN in the Cleveland area from its Project Vote initiative to sign up low-income voters were "questionable," Platten said.

There were "egregious acts of registering multiple times," said Platten. "The extent of it is beyond the resources of this board."

Nash's case and three others were turned over to authorities yesterday, said Ryan Miday, a spokesman for prosecutor Bill Masson.

"We will consider presenting it to a grand jury," Miday said.

A member of the board said if necessary, the FBI or federal prosecutors could be brought in for assistance.

Still, members of the bipartisan board downplayed any voter fraud.

And Platten insisted officials with ACORN have offered "any and all" help in probing the questionable activities. Katy Gall, the Ohio state director for ACORN, said her group is cooperating fully with the investigation.

She added that her group has fired anyone who was found soliciting duplicate registrations.

ACORN, whose political arm has endorsed Democratic nominee Barack Obama, has signed up more than 1.3 million voters for this cycle.

ACORN adviser Scott Levenson said, "If one of the 13,000 [people] we hired is potentially a bad apple in the bunch, we encourage the authorities to prosecute, as appropriate, anyone that did the wrong thing. We discipline [and] we fire workers who [abuse their position] . . . We encourage prosecutors to follow suit."

He also denied suggestions that the group pays canvassers by the number of names they sign up, and that they have quotas.

Also yesterday:

* Two of the four subpoenaed voters, Freddie Johnson and Christopher Barkley, met privately with sheriff's deputies and described what they'd told The Post about being hounded by ACORN workers. Barkley testified at the hearing that some of the registration cards listing his name weren't filled out by him.

* In an e-mail to supporters, John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, slammed "the left-wing activist group ACORN" and suggested, "We can't allow leftist groups like ACORN to steal this election."


Obama aloof: ACORN scandal widens

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

WSJ Editors: Union-backed community organizers, phony voters, and your tax dollars.

At the recent Emmy Awards, historian Laura Linney averred that America's Founders had been "community organizers" -- like Barack Obama. Too bad they aren't like that any more. Mr. Obama's kind of organizers work at ACORN, the militant advocacy group that is turning up in reports about voter fraud across the country.

ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- has been around since 1970 and boasts 350,000 members. We've written about them for years, but ACORN is now getting more attention as John McCain's campaign makes an issue of the fraud reports and ACORN's ties to Mr. Obama. It's about time someone exposed this shady outfit that uses government dollars to lobby for larger government.

ACORN uses various affiliated groups to agitate for "a living wage," for "affordable housing," for "tax justice" and union and environmental goals, as well as against school choice and welfare reform. It was a major contributor to the subprime meltdown by pushing lenders to make home loans on easy terms, conducting "strikes" against banks so they'd lower credit standards.

But the organization's real genius is getting American taxpayers to foot the bill. According to a 2006 report from the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), ACORN has been on the federal take since 1977. For instance, ACORN's American Institute for Social Justice claimed $240,000 in tax money between fiscal years 2002 and 2003. Its American Environmental Justice Project received 100% of its revenue from government grants in the same years. EPI estimates the ACORN Housing Corporation alone received some $16 million in federal dollars from 1997-2007. Only recently, Democrats tried and failed to stuff an "affordable housing" provision into the $700 billion bank rescue package that would have let politicians give even more to ACORN.

All this money gives ACORN the ability to pursue its other great hobby: electing liberals. ACORN is spending $16 million this year to register new Democrats and is already boasting it has put 1.3 million new voters on the rolls. The big question is how many of these registrations are real.

The Michigan Secretary of State told the press in September that ACORN had submitted "a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications." Earlier this month, Nevada's Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller requested a raid on ACORN's offices, following complaints of false names and fictional addresses (including the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys). Nevada's Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said he saw rampant fraud in 2,000 to 3,000 applications ACORN submitted weekly.

Officials in Ohio are investigating voter fraud connected with ACORN, and Florida's Seminole County is withholding ACORN registrations that appear fraudulent. New Mexico, North Carolina and Missouri are looking into hundreds of dubious ACORN registrations. Wisconsin is investigating ACORN employees for, according to an election official, "making people up or registering people that were still in prison."

Then there's Lake County, Indiana, which has already found more than 2,100 bogus applications among the 5,000 ACORN dumped right before the deadline. "All the signatures looked exactly the same," said Ruthann Hoagland, of the county election board. Bridgeport, Connecticut estimates about 20% of ACORN's registrations were faulty. As of July, the city of Houston had rejected or put on hold about 40% of the 27,000 registration cards submitted by ACORN.

That's just this year. In 2004, four ACORN employees were indicted in Ohio for submitting false voter registrations. In 2005, two Colorado ACORN workers were found to have submitted false registrations. Four ACORN Missouri employees were indicted in 2006; five were found guilty in Washington state in 2007 for filling out registration forms with names from a phone book.

Which brings us to Mr. Obama, who got his start as a Chicago "community organizer" at ACORN's side. In 1992 he led voter registration efforts as the director of Project Vote, which included ACORN. This past November, he lauded ACORN's leaders for being "smack dab in the middle" of that effort. Mr. Obama also served as a lawyer for ACORN in 1995, in a case against Illinois to increase access to the polls.

During his tenure on the board of Chicago's Woods Fund, that body funneled more than $200,000 to ACORN. More recently, the Obama campaign paid $832,000 to an ACORN affiliate. The campaign initially told the Federal Election Commission this money was for "staging, sound, lighting." It later admitted the cash was to get out the vote.

The Obama campaign is now distancing itself from ACORN, claiming Mr. Obama never organized with it and has nothing to do with illegal voter registration. Yet it's disingenuous to channel cash into an operation with a history of fraud and then claim you're shocked to discover reports of fraud. As with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, Mr. Obama was happy to associate with ACORN when it suited his purposes. But now that he's on the brink of the Presidency, he wants to disavow his ties.

The Justice Department needs to treat these fraud reports as something larger than a few local violators. The question is whether ACORN is systematically subverting U.S. election law -- on the taxpayer's dime.

- The Editors

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