Joe the Plumber exposes Obama collectivism

Related series: "What did Barack Obama Teach ACORN?"
More collectivism stories: here

Union-backed candidate offers 'middle class' America a lesson in Marxist economics

The press has now investigated Joe the Plumber roughly as much as Barack Obama — or at least as much as Obama's tax policies — and one of the dreadful conclusions is that he doesn't have a license that's not required anyway. Can you believe it?

What he did have in a brief conversation with Obama was a pretty good question, namely why Obama wants to gouge him with high taxes if he fulfills a dream to own a business making really good money, and what Obama said in reply was pretty revealing. He wants to spread the wealth around.

Related video: "Smearing Joe the Plumber"

More than a virtual army of supposedly sophisticated press analysts, many of them doing more to betray the truth than expose it, Joe Wurzelbacher has helped the public to a realization that Obama is a socialist-inclined collectivist, someone intent on massive redistribution of wealth, even if that means going to war with individual aspiration. The facts on this are clear, although disputation has been rife.

Through increases in inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes, payroll taxes, business taxes, carbon taxes and income taxes, Obama aims to secure multi-billions a year from people at the highest levels of income, even though some of these taxes will hit the middle class while giving away billions to the 40 percent of workers who now pay no income taxes and increasing the number who don't pay by some 10 million.

Owing in part to President Bush's frequently misportrayed tax cuts, it's already the case that the top 5 percent of income earners pay 60 percent of income taxes and that the top 50 percent pay 97 percent. He increased the amount given to non-payers, partly on the ground that they do pay the payroll tax, and effected large reductions for the middle class, despite demagogic contentions to the contrary.

Not many of us object to some degree of progressivism in taxation — even most flat-tax proposals exempt the first $35,000 of earnings. Nor do many of us have a problem with giving special help to those most in need. But what Obama is talking about is redistribution on a major scale, and that's just the beginning.

While leftists hither and yon are cheerleading on the sidelines for an end to the free market as we have known it, their candidate of choice is bashing business, questioning free trade, proposing a way of cheating workers out of secret ballots on union-formation votes, advocating regulation that would cost billions and proposing hugely expensive programs that would leave scarcely a blade of grass untouched.

He wants federal funding for pre-school education that would begin in infancy — that's right, infancy — and to enlarge programs and start new ones that would compete with volunteer work done by private charities. He's got a health entitlement plan up his sleeve that could ultimately lead to an single-payer insurance, even though we already have $40 trillion in unfunded liabilities owed to Social Security and Medicare.

Is there something you want out there? He's got a tax credit that will do the job.

The fact of the matter is that despite some rhetorical bows here and there to self-responsibility, Obama is an extreme, consistent left-winger whose vision of America is far different from the free, robust, energetic, individualist country we have known, a place where most people still get ahead not by whining and asking for more, but by working hard and taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in vast quantity.

Somehow, this real Obama is not the one many people have learned about, although now, thanks to Joe the Plumber, more Americans seem to be catching on, and doing so despite silly press commentaries and investigations that miss the point.

- Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.


Card-check promises Era of Labor Fascism

More EFCA stories: hereMore collectivism stories: here

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair John Ensign (R-Nev.) told reporters on a conference call this afternoon that Republican presidential nominee John McCain may have contributed to Republicans taking the blame for the economic crisis.

"John McCain - during the debates and even since that time -has allowed the idea that deregulation caused the financial crisis that we are in instead of showing the fact that it was overregulation during the Clinton administration," said Ensign, who argued it was legislation like the Clinton-era Community Reinvestment Act and "new market rules" that caused recent economic turmoil.

"John McCain in not answering that well," continued Ensign. "He allowed Barack Obama to have the upper hand and allowed Democrats to get the upper hand, basically blaming Bush and the republicans for the financial crisis and saying that it's a failure of our free market system, when this is actually a failure of government."

Ensign said, as a result, the potential of a 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate was being discussed.

"It's all because of the financial crisis that has hit the United States and because the Republicans are in the White House and about half the country thinks Republicans control the House and the Senate and we're getting blamed for this," said Ensign.

What about Kentucky?

The Nevada Republican said "6 or 7 races would determine the make-up of the Senate," but expressed a degree of comfort with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Louisville) chances in Kentucky against businessman Bruce Lunsford (D-Louisville).

Some of that comfort evidently comes via consideration of McConnell's sizeable war-chest. The four-term incumbent had $5.7 million in cash-on-hand remaining at the end of Sept. compared to Lunsford's $1.2 million.

"The Democrats are obviously spending heavily there," said Ensign, referring to two new television spots his counterparts in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have put on air. "The good thing is Sen. McConnell has raised a tremendous amount of money to be able to defend himself there and allowed us to focus on other races."

"We're monitoring that situation closely. If we have to go in to try and help him...we will," added Ensign.

While a poll released yesterday found Lunsford statistically tied with McConnell at 48 percent each, Ensign said his estimations of the race had McConnell holding a wide lead, and noted the NRSC was satisfied with their position in the race.

"Right now that race is close to double digits. Some days it's actually in double digits," said Ensign. "We feel pretty comfortable about not going into that race at this point."

The last internal poll from McConnell's camp showed the Republican with a nine point lead, and the incumbent's side said yesterday its internals "consistently" showed Lunsford below 40 percent.

Other recent public polling put McConnell's lead at just four percent.

EFCA could mean Democrat majority for "40 to 50 years"

While the NRSC sounds like it is hands-off with regard to Kentucky, outside groups and other interested parties, including the DSCC, are pouring money into the race. One of those is Kentuckians for Employee Freedom, an organization that used a television spot to target Lunsford for supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.

That controversial legislation would allow a union to be formed in a workplace when a majority of employees have signed union cards, while removing an employer's option to call a secret ballot election on the question of unionization.

Unions say the secret ballot allows for employer intimidation while business organizations - such as Kentuckians for Employee Freedom - say the card system allows for intimidation by union organizers.

Ensign, meanwhile, says the legislation could determine the character of the senate for decades. The Chair said preventing the bill's passage was a "critical issue" for Republicans.

"It would make Republicans the minority party for the next 40 to 50 years," said Ensign of the EFCA.

Ensign argued the legislation would bolster union ranks and union dues, which could then be funneled to Democratic campaigns.

"Democrats would have a huge fundraising advantage for elections from now on," said Ensign.


Unchecked unions to set agenda

More worker-choice stories: hereMore EFCA stories: here

U.S. labor markets to be sacrificed on the altar of politics

Dear Readers: It's been a while since our last missive to you. However, it has been a busy last two weeks as we've been out there trying to awaken America's employers to the devastating consequences of the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act. [As we've said for quite some time, EFCA's passage will not negatively affect our business, but it will kill many jobs and that is its real danger.]

While it's still not over until November 4th (or maybe November 5th), with a mere three weeks to go until November 4th, unless the political winds shift dramatically, you should expect the Employee Free Choice Act, along with the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Act, and a whole slew of other job killing legislation to get signed into law.

While most people are focused on the Obama vs. McCain campaign, too many people are all but ignoring the Senate races that hold the key to stopping the havoc that will be wrought upon the American workplace if the Democrats win more that 58 seats in that Chamber. [Realizing that many of you remember your high school civics and are tempted to correct us by saying Democrats need 60 seats to overcome a filibuster, remember Arlen Specter (R-PA) doesn't count, and you should expect at least one other "turncoat" on the GOP side to cave in to Big Labor's pressure come 2009.]

That being said, the predictions being made are as follows:

In early 2009…

* EFCA will pass, as drafted, to include Card-Check Recognition, Binding Arbitration, and exhorbitant fines.

* The R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Act will pass making those now considered "supervisors" under NLRA Sec. 2(11) eligible to be unionized.

* The use of Permanent Strike Replacements during economic strikes will be banned.

* President Obama will introduce socialized medicine (to read our synopsis on how Obama's Plan Will Lead to Socialized Medicine, go here)

* The Public Safety Employee-Employer Cooperation Act (which unionizes "public safety" employees) will pass

* A "bail out" on underfunded union pension plans

Later in 2009, you will likely see:

* Elimination of Right-to-Work States to become mandatory union-dues states

* More company closures, outsourcing, job losses and an elongation or deepening of this recession. Our estimate: We might see double-digit unemployment by this time next year.

Now, as was stated above, it's not over until November 4th (or 5th), but the above appears to be what is on our national horizon.

As we've noted before, America is (and has been) the victim of the largest and most expensive union campaign ever--to the tune of $1 billion dollars this year, on top of the $400 million spent in 2006. Optimistically speaking from first-hand experience, union campaigns do often turn at the last moment. However, sadly, we do not see the McCain campaign (or the GOP, for that matter) as having the intellectual or strategic capacity to combat this type of campaign.

While much of the above may seem dismal to most (as it indeed should), the bright side to this whole outlook will be that the devastation wrought over the next two years may hopefully result in a swing back to some semblence of balance.

Best wishes.



Small business targeted via EFCA

More EFCA stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Dems, Obama set to ramrod fascistic forced-labor unionism agenda onto U.S. small business employers

You may be wondering where the National Federation of Independent Business has been hiding this election cycle. Normally, the small business lobby is a player in a couple dozen House races and eight or ten Senate races, spending $1-2 million on direct mail and radio advertising. This year, you're likely to miss all that -- unless you live in a handful of states. The NFIB has opted to weigh in on just the Senate races in Minnesota and Maine, as well as four House contests.

"We sort of figured we would really hone in on a handful of races that were really important and crucial to NFIB -- people that had been there, supporting our members, or districts where we wanted to make sure we were visible," says Lisa Goeas, the NFIB's vice president, political. And despite the narrow focus, the group is laying down some serious money -- $1.6 million (which also includes some radio and print ads) -- and those voters will surely turn off their TVs impressed at the organization's gift at political persuasion.

The House ads, which began airing last week and will run through Friday, are aimed at shoring up three incumbent Republicans in danger of losing their seats -- of Robin Hayes of North Carolina, of Jon Porter of Nevada, and of David Reichert of Washington -- and beating back a strong Democratic challenge to an open Republican seat in Ohio. The first three ads are nearly identical in their praise for the Congressmen on keeping taxes low -- in fact, they are nearly identical, period. Only the candidate's name has been changed, and the visuals of colonial-style houses with black shutters and a red-brick, white-trimmed New England general store might seem out of place in the desert suburbs of Las Vegas or the Cascade Mountains. (Newfields General Store in fact resides on Main Street in Newfields, New Hampshire.) Because these are so-called "issue advocacy" ads, meaning that technically speaking, they argue on behalf of an issue rather than a candidate*, they end with a plea: "Call [insert Congressman's name here] and thank him for protecting small businesses and families against higher taxes."

The fourth 30-secon spot is a blistering attack on Mary Jo Kilroy, a Democrat who stands a good chance of taking Ohio's 15th District from the GOP. This time the issue is so-called card-check legislation, which would allow a union to organize upon obtaining signatures from half the shop. "Kilroy would take away a worker's right to private voting in the workplace," intones the narrator, as storm clouds threaten the Capitol. "Call Mary Jo Kilroy, and tell her to oppose card check."

More pungent -- but more cleverly executed -- are the three Senate ads, which ran through early this week. The NFIB is supporting Republicans Norm Coleman and Susan Collins -- or rather, it's opposing their Democratic rivals, Al Franken and Rep. Tom Allen -- with identical ads. The card-check spot is called "CIA," but it takes its cues from the TV show "24": pulsing music, split screens against a black background, and a digital time code as spooks track a working man as he enters a building and steps into an elevator. Says the narrator: "after receiving a fortune in contributions from organized labor, Tom Allen voted for a law that strips Maine workers of their right to vote in private when deciding whether to unionize." When our everyman arrives at his destination, a union fat cat is there to great him. "Jack!" -- ha! -- "We've been waiting for you," the union official says. "We're here to monitor your vote!" Then the narrator sums it up: "Tom Allen: Give him enough money, and American freedoms go right out the window!" It's a non-sequitur, but brilliantly done.

Another good one is a spot that seems tailor-made for Franken. Called "Reality Bites", it begins with elevator doors opening on a guy dressed in a shiny sport coat over a dark T-shirt, spinning around on an office chair. Like Franken, he's a funnyman, but his message is a downer. "Hey, I'm glad you're here!" he snaps. "Just how expensive would life be with Al Franken in the Senate? C'mon, let me show you." The funnyman appears in a hospital room to tell new parents to say "goodbye to half of the per-child tax credit!" ("Say cheese!" he says as he takes their picture.) Rolling down a bustling shopping street sidewalk on a Segway, the funnyman calls out: "Small business owners! Franken wants your taxes to go way up. You better start thinking now about which employees you're laying off." From off camera, we hear a crash. "I'm all right," he says. Then the funnyman crashes a wedding -- "Franken wants to raise the marriage penalty tax!" Franken, when we see him, is grinning his Joker's grin, looking perfectly maniacal.

Unfortunately for the NFIB, Minnesotans didn't get to see the ad for very long. Shortly after it began airing, Coleman announced that he was suspending his negative ads, the NFIB pulled this one down in support. (The card-check spot and a third ad, sarcastically called "Happy Days," continued in rotation.) The organization shifted "Reality Bites" to Maine, but it doesn't seem like it would be nearly as effective against a popular congressman as against a comedian.

And it also raises an interesting question: why is the NFIB spending $430,000 -- roughly a quarter of its total election advertising budget -- in Maine, of all places. The Coleman-Franken race is a toss-up, but the latest polls show Collins ahead by anywhere from 11 to 21 points. Wouldn't that money be better spent defending, say, Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican who may be all that stands between the Democrats and filibuster-proof Senate majority?

The answer is that federal election law makes it difficult for the NFIB, at least, to be very nimble. Unlike the House ads, the Senate ads were "independent expenditures," specifically taking a stand on a candidate in an election, and governed by all sorts of limitations and reporting requirements. "There were a lot of legal things we had to do, in terms of a lot of people signing paperwork here and creating the proper firewalls," says Goeas. "And it had to be done early, so that it was clear that I was not in any way coordinating with the Collins campaign." The organization had to make a decision in January, "and at the time, even though we were hopeful, she didn't look as good as she does now. Unfortunately now some of our other friends look like they could use the money more."

On the other hand, Goeas has no regrets "What we hope for every cycle is to have one candidate that's so great for our issues that we're just going to go out there and make sure that they understand we're supporting them," she says. Collins "loves NFIB -- she's one of those members that's always concerned about her rating. She has a lifetime 98 percent key vote voting record with NFIB, and she says it everywhere she is, whether or not she's speaking to a small business crowd."

Of course, these spots are not the NFIB's sole campaign activity. By November 4th, the organization will have endorsed 236 candidates, in 207 House, 22 Senate, and seven governor contests. Most of its choices, naturally, are Republicans. The NFIB will try and actively guide its membership in about 50 of those races. "We're going to communicate with our members," says Goeas. "We're going to make sure they know who NFIB endorsed."


Worker Choice - It's the Colorado Way

More worker-choice stories: here

SEIU organizers abandon bargaining unit

More SEIU stories: hereMore decert stories: here

Jumbo union shifts focus away from workers, to election politics and legislated, pro-union subsidies

Service Employees International Union has walked away from representing 142 employees at Canton United Helpers Nursing Home because of a lack of support. "It's really painful because the workers are the lowest paid with the worst benefits in the north country, said Kathy M. Tucker, union local vice president. "This is not a decision we made lightly."

Mrs. Tucker said a strong group of anti-union workers filed a petition for decertification with the National Labor Relations Board at every contract renewal. "We organized this place by a very slim majority in 2001," Mrs. Tucker said. "It's not historically been a very strong shop."

The union negotiated three-year contract agreements with management. With the latest contract set to end in December, another decertification petition was filed with the NLRB.

"They tried this three years ago and we won by a slim margin," Mrs. Tucker said.

This time, the union decided not to wait for the election and told the NLRB it would no longer represent the workers.

Cynthia Cota, Canton, who helped organize the decertification petition, couldn't be reached for comment. In 2002, she wrote a letter to the Times stating union workers got the same increase as other non-unionized United Helpers employees and that policies already in effect were put in a contract.

Mrs. Tucker said the union at the nursing home was an open shop so no one had to be a member.

"These folks weren't paying dues," she said. "They were just fundamentally anti-union."

Nursing home Administrator Todd R. Amo had little comment.

"This is between the employees and the union," he said.


U.S. corrupted by shoddy voter registration

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Democracy fails due to 3rd-party registration by corrupt special interest groups

More than 43,000 Minnesotans have registered to vote this year through ACORN, the group that has come under Republican attack over voter registration irregularities around the nation.

But despite calls by state and national GOP groups to investigate ACORN, election officials in Hennepin and Ramsey counties say there is scant evidence of fraud, other than a few hundred late registration filings.

There are other kinds of problems. ACORN workers acknowledge that as many as a third or more of the registration applications they turn over to election officials are rejected for technical reasons, such as incomplete names, addresses and phone numbers. But they say that is not fraud.

Still, with 11 days to go before the election, ACORN's historic ties to Barack Obama and other Democrats have prompted GOP officials in Minnesota and elsewhere to raise questions about the group's voter registration work, questions that Democrats see as an orchestrated campaign to sling mud and suppress voter turnout.

The controversy was highlighted by Republican hopeful John McCain, who said in a recent presidential debate that ACORN's voter registration activities "may be destroying the fabric of democracy."

The issue of voter fraud has a long partisan history, including the Bush administration's firings of nine U.S. attorneys, among them David Iglesias of New Mexico, who clashed with GOP loyalists over his handling of voter fraud cases involving workers for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, ACORN's official name.

The issue was brought home to Minnesota in the past week as state Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey demanded that Hennepin and Ramsey county election officials disclose any information they have about problems involving ACORN, saying "this group has brought its record of fraudulent, reckless and misleading activities to our state."


NYT: ACORN overstated registrations

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group for Obama caught lying

On Oct. 6, the community organizing group Acorn and an affiliated charity called Project Vote announced with jubilation that they had registered 1.3 million new voters. But it turns out the claim was a wild exaggeration, and the real number of newly registered voters nationwide is closer to 450,000, Project Vote’s executive director, Michael Slater, said in an interview.

The remainder are registered voters who were changing their address and roughly 400,000 that were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors, Mr. Slater acknowledged.

In registration drives, it is common for a percentage of newly registered voters to be disqualified for various reasons, although experts say the percentage is higher when groups pay workers to gather registrations. But the disclosure on Thursday that 30 percent of Acorn’s registrations were faulty was described by Republicans as further proof of what they said was Acorn’s effort to tilt the election unfairly.

“We were wondering how many were Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse,” said Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “The group is really tainted, and any work they do is suspect.”

Republicans had been prepared for months to make an issue of Acorn’s registration drive. A year ago, the party’s national committee anticipated the surge of new registrations by putting a map of the country on its Web site, labeled “You Can’t Make This Up! Vote Fraud.”

Democrats and officials with Acorn accuse Republicans of trying to manufacture a controversy to deflect attention from alleged voter suppression activities in several states. Election officials and experts say there is little chance that significant numbers of supporters of either party would actually try to vote through a fraudulent registration.

Over the last few weeks, the Acorn registration drive has become a flash point in the campaign when the flood of new voter registrations prompted complaints from election officials about the high number of improper submissions. State and local officials have begun investigations into possible fraudulent activity in at least 10 states.

If interviews with two dozen voters in the swing states of Florida and Ohio are any indication, Republicans’ efforts appear to have resonated with some members of their own party as well as with some independents and Democrats.

“I’d have to see how bad it is and what happens,” said Dorrie Cohen, an 82-year-old Democrat in Boynton Beach, Fla. “If it’s very organized fraud, I think that I would question the election. If it’s just a few people trying something, I don’t think I would. However, there’s so much on the newspapers and the TV about it, I imagine it will be organized.”

Mr. Slater and Acorn officials have defended their voter registration work. They said that it remained technically difficult to weed out duplications without better access to election records, and that their internal auditing identified many of the fraudulent registrations, which they flagged for election officials to review.

“Everybody knows that when 1.3 million applications are submitted, not every single one of them gets on the rolls,” said Brian Kettenring, a spokesman for Acorn. “That’s common sense.”

The Republican drive to publicize Acorn’s problems has had another less visible impact on the race, shifting the focus of election lawyers in the homestretch to the Nov. 4 election. Much of the Democratic team of lawyers and operatives who had intended to work on monitoring voter rights at the polls has instead played defense the last two weeks, responding to accusations of fraud.

The Obama campaign has also sought to deflect Republican efforts to tie Acorn’s registration campaign to the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. The Republicans highlighted a federal election filing by the Obama campaign that showed an $832,598 payment last February to an Acorn affiliate, Citizens Services Inc., for “staging, sound, lighting.” The Republicans suggested that the payment was actually for voter registration. But the Obama campaign said it had mislabeled the payment, and it filed an amended report that reflects the money was for get-out-the-vote efforts.

In a letter on Thursday to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, the general counsel for the Obama campaign, Robert F. Bauer, said he worried that Republican Party officials or candidates would pressure the Justice Department to improperly involve itself in the election.

Accusations of impropriety by a Republican voter registration campaign surfaced this week in California, where the authorities arrested the owner of a firm hired by the California Republican Party to register voters. Officials said that the owner, Mark Jacoby, fraudulently registered himself at a childhood address to qualify for gathering signatures on petitions and registering voters.

Mr. Jacoby’s firm, Young Political Majors, is also facing accusations of tricking residents into registering as Republicans by having them sign petitions seeking tougher penalties for child molesters.

Mr. Jacoby’s lawyer, Dan Goldfine, said that the charges against his client were “baseless,” and added that although the authorities have been looking into accusations that Mr. Jacoby’s firm improperly registered voters, they did not charge him with those violations.

In June, federal election records show, the California Republican Party paid $175,000 for voter registration work to the firm of a Republican operative, Nathan Sproul, who has been investigated for voter registration fraud in several states. Mr. Sproul could not be reached for comment.

In interviews this week, Acorn officials said they had an extensive program to detect fraudulent applications, which included calling the registrants to verify information provided on the forms. They also said they had combed through electronic records from the group’s field offices across the country, and that their internal audit did not show evidence of pervasive voter registration fraud.

Most of the registrations that were rejected were duplicate forms, followed by incomplete forms. The Acorn officials said their investigation found about 9,000 voter registration cards that were determined to be fraudulent. A lawyer for the group estimated that perhaps 5,000 to 6,000 more cards employees turned in were fraudulent. Acorn officials said that 20 percent to 25 percent of the applications it submitted were likely duplicates, 5 percent were incomplete, and 1 percent to 1.5 percent were fraudulent. Mr. Slater said the estimates were based on past registration drives and a sampling of this one.

Acorn officials said they were unable to provide a state-by-state breakdown identifying where the fraudulent voter registrations were submitted, but a spokesman said that at least some bogus cards cropped up in all 18 states where the group had major registration drives. Acorn conducted smaller drives in three other states.

Mr. Kettenring, the Acorn spokesman, said the number of fraudulent cards did not vary widely from state to state, but he identified Acorn’s office in Gary, Ind., as a particular trouble spot. After Acorn officials identified the percentage of problematic cards to be “unsatisfactorily high,” they shut down the office for three weeks beginning in late August, and brought in new management and canvassers before reopening it.

The group also said it was forced to fire 829 of the 10,000 canvassers it hired during the election for job-related problems, including falsifying registration forms. Acorn officials say they pay canvassers an hourly wage and not by the number of forms they obtain.

Mr. Kettenring said Acorn intended to change the language on its Web site to reflect that 400,000 of the 1.3 million registration submissions would likely be rejected by election officials, but said the group did not intend to be misleading.

In Las Vegas, where state officials raided Acorn offices this month to seize records, the county registrar of voters, Harvard L. Lomax, said his workers had found hundreds of potentially fraudulent registrations beyond those identified by Acorn.

“What this has done is undermined confidence in the system, because voters don’t understand that we have checks and bounds,” Mr. Lomax said. “I’m confident in the integrity of elections here.”

Echoing other election officials, Mr. Lomax said registration fraud could be sharply reduced if registration workers were all volunteers. “I have a solution: Make it illegal to pay people to register to vote,” Mr. Lomax said. “Money is the root of evil.”

But Acorn officials say that paying workers helps their voter registration drives succeed in signing up large numbers of minority and low income voters.

Joseph Hickson, an automobile designer from Naples, Fla., who is registered as a Democrat, said the voter registration issue would be made moot by a large margin of victory for Mr. Obama.

“It really depends on how much of a landslide he has — if he has one,” Mr. Hickson said. “If it’s close there may be some questions.”


Teachers go on strike in Pennsylvania

More strike stories: here • Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Union teaches kids a lesson in collective bargaining

More than 280 teachers in a western Pennsylvania school district are on strike after a late-night bargaining session failed to produce a new contract. Teachers in the South Butler County School District, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, have been working under a contract that expired June 20.

The district says salaries and health insurance are the major issues. Teachers have asked for almost a 6 percent raise, while the district is offering a little more than three percent. The average teacher's salary was $51,144 last school year. The district has about 2,900 students and includes Knoch (nawk) High School near Saxonburg.


School board rejects union-only thuggery

More PLA stories: here

Unions furious with local politicians' reversal, vow retribution

In a vote that drew criticism from some Hazleton Area school directors, the school board rescinded the project labor agreement resolution it adopted in late September. The agreement would have required the district to hire a certain amount of construction work force from specific labor union halls.

School directors rescinded the agreement Thursday following a 5-4 majority-splitting vote. But officials made clear that the debate is far from over.

The issue surfaced immediately after school board President Elaine Curry called Thursday’s regular meeting to order. Director Brian Earley strayed from the meeting agenda and asked directors to repeal a PLA resolution adopted on Sept. 25.

Director Steve Hahn’s attempt to table Earley’s motion failed and the motion to repeal the PLA passed with Earley and directors Paulette Platukis, Sean Shamany, Jack Shema and Tony Bonomo voting “yes.”

Hahn, Curry and directors Carmella Yenkevich and Robert Childs voted “no.”

In Hazleton Area’s case, the agreement pertains to the Northeast Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council and its affiliated unions. It applies to all prevailing wage projects over $25,000.

The school board approved the agreement by a 7-1 vote last month, with Earley casting the lone “no” vote. Shemany was absent from last month’s meeting.

Although it was widely supported by local unions, the agreement sparked protest from George F. Hayden, of Hazleton’s Hayden Electric-Communications firm, and two Pennsylvania chapters of the Associated Buildings and Contractors, a national trade association of commercial contractors.

Hayden sparred with local union members at a recent school board committee meeting after voicing concerns for PLAs inflating project costs and restricting local, open shop employers from bidding on projects.

He made many of the same arguments at Thursday’s regular meeting.

School directors repealed the PLA agreement following a debate among school directors over language of the agreement and arguments made by Hayden and Mike Gibson, president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Associated Buildings and Contractors.

At times, arguments got personal, with Hayden telling Hahn and Curry that the board disrespectfully voted on the PLA after hearing only supportive arguments from local union members.

Hahn, however, accused Hayden of making threatening comments to him at the conclusion of a recent school board meeting.

The issue created a rift between Curry and Earley as well, with Curry saying Earley’s surprise motion didn’t follow board protocol for discussing items at the committee level before voting on them at a regular meeting.

“I have no (PLA) proposal with me and I don’t like surprises,” she said. “This is not following proper protocol. Obviously, Mr. Hayden’s ads and comments on TV made some board members feel differently.”

While voicing her displeasure for the motion, Curry referred to anti-PLA advertisements that the Associated Builders and Contractors Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter published in the Standard-Speaker.

The ad showed a child looking up to a construction worker and listed “PLA facts” and a large-print statement that reads “My Daddy Can’t Work on Hazleton School District Buildings.”

The ad urges readers to contact the school district and request officials to remove the “discriminatory policy” from its books.

Earley argued that the PLA resolution applies to all prevailing wage projects valued at $25,000 or more.

Curry said she interpreted the resolution to pertain exclusively to capital projects, but Earley said the PLA language would pertain to “all” projects that meet the above criteria — including snow plowing.

Since Earley’s motion wasn’t listed on the meeting agenda, the board opened the meeting for public comment.

Hayden and Gibson sided with Earley.

Gibson said the resolution would adversely impact a dozen Hazleton firms, adding that the PLA is not the way to fulfill an apparent attempt by the board to ensure high quality craftsmanship on construction projects.

He also told directors that officials from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association do not support PLAs, with reasons backed up in studies such as those conducted by Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University.

He argued that the PLA would prohibit taxpayers who contribute to the district from working on its projects.

Hayden hammered the board for allegedly not giving him an opportunity to talk about the PLA leading up to the September vote.

“Talk of disrespect — disrespect is the opportunity we had to talk of the PLA and how it affects us directly,” he said.

Curry cut him off, telling Hayden that the board gave him an opportunity to talk about the PLA at a committee meeting held earlier this month.

Hayden said he chose not to speak because the committee didn’t have a quorum.

Curry, however, told him he didn’t speak because union members were present at the time.

“Why, of 501 Pennsylvania school district, is there only six to eight school districts with signed PLAs?” Hayden asked. “Eighty-five percent of local employees in the region are non-union. Many are active in the community and donated to the school district.”

Hayden argued that the board has other avenues, such as requiring firms to submit a performance bond, available for ensuring quality building projects.

Childs, however, said the performance bond only guarantees a project through the construction phases — which differs from a warranty.

Hayden has often argued that a PLA limits open-shop firms from bidding on projects, prompting Hahn to ask him to consider union employees who would be “kept on the bench” should a non-union firm secure a contract.

Curry cut the debate short by asking the board to either consider moving the discussion to a committee meeting or to vote Thursday night.

Earley called for the vote, with his motion eventually passing.

“I think we’re lowering our standards,” she said after the vote. “I’m not changing my mind (on the issue).”

Childs said after the meeting that the debate wasn’t about the type of firm that lands a contract, but centers on ensuring the district gets top-quality work on its construction projects.

“The thing that I think everybody is anxious to do, no matter which side they’re on, is to make sure we get quality work when things get built — and quality work done the first time,” he said.

Childs asked to meet next month with the district’s construction attorney and parties on both sides of the PLA. The meeting should generate a solution that will end the ongoing labor debate, Curry added.


Workers protest: No Teamsters Union

More Teamsters stories: here

Smearing Joe the Plumber

More collectivism stories: here

Obama urged to return dirty campaign cash

More EFCA stories: here • More card-check stories: here

Organized labor's down-payment on forced unionism legislation is corrupt

Not going to say it. Wouldn't be prudent. After I took the campaigns to task for their liberal use of the L word – "lied" – I'm not going to use it now in connection with Barack Obama. So I'll have to settle for the F word. Fudged.

Back in November 2007, Barack Obama wrote the Midwest Democracy Network of a plan that "requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election . . . If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

Obama even mentioned – almost presciently – that John McCain had agreed to the same pledge.

You say now that Sen. Obama – the first major-party candidate to turn down federal funding – raised a politically earth-shaking $150 million in campaign funds in September? Nearly two-and-a-half times his then-record haul in August? My, oh my.

What about Sen. McCain? Mr. Campaign Reform went with principle – and federal limits. He gets $84 million to spend between the convention and November 4 – period.

It's bad enough to deliberately go into battle with one hand tied behind one's back. But McCain was deked into going way beyond that. He's pulled off the political equivalent of being bound, chained, handcuffed, strait-jacketed, gagged, blindfolded and strung upside down in a tank of water – in a deluge of Obama advertising.

News reports indicate that the Democratic nominee is outspending his opponent to the tune of four to one on ads in some swing states. Here in suddenly purple-tinted Virginia, it's wall-to-wall Barry O – all relentlessly negative and distortive of McCain's background, record and proposals.

How is the candidate of the party that supposedly represents the "good guys" on campaign finance pulling off the political trifecta of breaking his promise to take federal funds, using mountains of cash to dump on McCain and having the media climb all over the Republican ticket for negative campaigning?

Search me.

But I do know one thing: Democrats, for all their high-falutin' talk about principle, have demonstrated over the last couple decades that they will do whatever it takes to come out on top when the stakes are big enough.

(See, Clinton, Bill: Lincoln Bedroom, Chinese monks, Capitol Hill rally and Wag the Dog bombings on the eve of impeachment trial. See also Carville, James: "declaring war" on Special Prosecutor; and Gore, Al: Florida recount.)

And the stakes have never been bigger.

In the wake of last month's mega-bailout, the potential for government intrusion is unprecedented. The Secretary of the Treasury just called in America's eight biggest banks – some of whom didn't want or need his help – and made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

Leave the shares. Take the cannoli.

In whose hands do you want to put all that added influence and momentum toward control of the economy´s "commanding heights?" A committed deregulator – or "Senator Government" and that glamorous power couple, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

Meanwhile, Obama is bringing new meaning to an old Roosevelt-era hobbyhorse – "tax and spend, elect and elect." Offer 95 percent of households a cut break – even the one-third who don´t pay federal income taxes – while promising a trillion dollars in new spending.

Talk about an offer you can't refuse – all the benefits of government, and none of the cost. Not to mention a permanent, non-taxpaying Democratic near-majority.

Did I mention that the unions are eagerly waiting for their own payback for years of toil in the Democratic vineyard – "card check" legislation that would take away workers' rights to a secret ballot and hand the keys to every major American company to Big Labor? That will do wonders for American competitiveness vis-à-vis the Chinese.

Let's not forget the push toward centralized command and control on global warming. The Wall Street Journal just highlighted Obama's plans to have his Environmental Protection Agency regulate carbon emissions by fiat. Say goodbye to your lawnmower. (If the EPA lets you keep your lawn.)

Then there's the big one – the Supreme Court. If Obama is elected, it's also goodbye to any chance to overturn Roe v. Wade, and hello to gay marriage nationwide. I'd say you could bank on the latter – if "bank" hadn´t become such a four-letter word.

With the prospects of a 65-seat-or-more majority in the House and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate – and the prospects of such enormous power if they can nab the White House – can you imagine that the Democrats would let little things like principles or promises get in their way?

Not on your life. That's why, once he recognized the full potential of his fund-raising ATM, Obama re-dubbed his promise to adhere to federal ceilings as an "option."

Oh fudge.

But there's an "option" for the McCain campaign, too. I'd say that the $130-million difference in war chests qualifies as "excess money." So encourage Mr. Obama to keep his initial pledge.

"Give it back, O. All of it."

That should keep him busy between now and November 4.

- Bob Maistros


Obama on Forced Unionism

More EFCA stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Barack Obama fails background test

More ACORN stories: hereMore collectivism stories: here

Unchecked Dems herald end of capitalism as we know it

If Barack Obama were to apply for a position with a federal, state or local governmental agency, or any law enforcement agency, all of which require a background check, he would almost certainly be denied based on his associations with terrorist William Ayers, convicted felon Tony Rezko, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and ACORN. Yet apparently the majority of voters are willing to trust him with the future of the United States. Amazing.

An Obama presidency, with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid controlling the House and Senate, would be a “veto-proof” (Reid's words) one-party socialist government, and socialism unchecked can become communism.

Does that bother you? It should. Is this an exaggeration? I don't think so. Please consider this when you enter the voting booth.

- Edward Currall, Yucca Valley


NYT rips union-backed fraud group

Related: "ACORN caught in social justice double-standard"
More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Little effort made at social-justice fraud ACORN to follow the rules

Here's something sure to provide grist for a thousand new Republican attacks.

ACORN -- the community organizing group that the McCain campaign and the RNC have been working to turn into a short-hand for (unfounded) fears of voter fraud -- may have broken federal laws covering how it can spend money and resources among its many affiliates, according to a story in the New York Times.

The Grey Lady reveals that an internal report written by an ACORN lawyer spells out "concerns about potentially improper use of charitable dollars for political purposes; money transfers among the affiliates; and potential conflicts created by employees working for multiple affiliates, among other things."

The finding in the report with perhaps the most immediate significance to ACORN's prominent role in the campaign concerns the relationship between the group and Project Vote, an affiliated charity that does voter-registration work with ACORN. ACORN, a non-profit corporation, can legally do partisan political work, but Project Vote, a tax-exempt charity, can't.

The report found:
[T]he tight relationship between Project Vote and Acorn made it impossible to document that Project Vote's money had been used in a strictly nonpartisan manner. Until the embezzlement scandal broke last summer, Project Vote's board was made up entirely of Acorn staff members and Acorn members.
The report also noted that until July, the same person served as ACORN's political director and Project Vote's executive director.

Here's the argument Republicans will likely use to tie this news to their ongoing attacks on ACORN's voter-registration activities: if the non-partisan group that ACORN partners with on voter registration work is in practice controlled by ACORN proper, which can legally conduct partisan political activities, it's more plausible that the fraudulent registration forms submitted by Project Vote are part of a politically motivated scheme to sway the election -- as the GOP has been claiming, without evidence, all along -- rather than honest mistakes.

The other thing to note is that when Republicans talk about Obama's ties to ACORN, they're often talking about a short period in 1992 when he worked for Project Vote, though the relationship between the two groups appears to have been less close at the time.

So today's news will add fuel to both of those fires. But the crucial point on ACORN as it relates to this election -- that there's still essentially no evidence whatsoever of voter registration fraud actually leading to voter fraud -- is as true today as it was yesterday.


ACORN sweatshop worker to testify

Related: "ACORN caught in social justice double-standard"
More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

So-called social-justice group was paid by Obama

A lawyer for the state Republican Party said Thursday that she will present a former ACORN employee to testify that the community group paid cash to workers and set quotas for collecting voter-registration forms.

Attorney Heather Heidelbaugh contends such payments are illegal. She told a state judge the witness, Anita Moncrief, worked in the Washington, D.C., office of ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- and came forward voluntarily.

The Republican Party said it is suing ACORN and the Department of State to prevent voter-registration fraud. The party is seeking voter registration lists compiled by ACORN, citing criminal investigations into alleged voter registration fraud in several Pennsylvania counties, including Allegheny.

The lawsuit asks Commonwealth Court Judge Barry Feudale to require the Department of State to make its database of voter registrations more readily available and force ACORN to discourage fraudulently registered voters from casting ballots. It also would require ACORN to do public-service announcements.

Feudale said he would rule by today on the GOP requests for information and deposing witnesses. A hearing is scheduled Wednesday on the injunction request.

ACORN officials say they have strict quality-control measures in place and have forwarded questionable registration forms to authorities.

"The fact we have all these investigations going forward is proof the system is working," said ACORN attorney Kathryn Simpson, noting the difference between voter fraud and voter-registration fraud.

"There is no voter fraud. There has been no election," she said.

Al Masland, chief counsel for the Department of State, told the judge that the system is working.

Masland said the agency already is complying with what the Republicans are seeking and that the GOP effort seems partisan.

"As a registered Republican, I bemoan the tone of this petition," Masland said.

Heidelbaugh denied Masland's suggestion that it is an effort to smear Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes, a member of Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell's administration.

Moncrief, the witness to testify, worked from 2005-08 for Project Vote, which has been described as an affiliate of ACORN.

Brian Kettering, an ACORN spokesman, said Moncrief was fired by Project Vote. He said she is not a credible witness.

Republicans say Democrat Barack Obama's ties to ACORN run deep -- a contention that his campaign vehemently disputes.

Obama has said he represented ACORN in the 1990s, along with lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department, to require Illinois to implement the Motor Voter Law.

The Obama campaign also paid ACORN subsidiary Citizen Services Inc. $832,598 during the primary for polling, advance work and staging major events, according to Federal Election Commission documents that the Tribune-Review cited in August. The Obama campaign said that entry in FEC records was a mistake and amended the report to say ACORN worked on "get out the vote" projects.


Catholics re-evaluate ACORN alliance

Related: "Catholics cancel $1.3 million ACORN grant"
More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN's friends duck and cover

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) recently cut off its over $1.1 million in funding for the left-wing community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), citing a million-dollar embezzlement case. Of course, news of the malfeasance first came out four months ago, whereas most have regarded ACORN as radically liberal for years. What explanation could the Catholic outreach program possibly offer for funding until now a group that is defrauding the electorate to help Barack Obama, the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever?

None -- except for that maybe they thought they'd get away with it, before ACORN became a fixture in the evening news. The CCHD, which is run by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has funded far-left organizations with missions diametrically opposed to that of the Catholic Church for years, including, in the '90s, the pro-abortion group National Organization for Women and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The CCHD filed its grants for dozens of ACORN outfits under such left-wing euphemisms as "Economic Justice" and "Civil Rights." While some of the funding most likely went toward some kind of economic justice through immigration reform (for which John McCain also collaborated with ACORN) and helping impoverished families claim their Earned Income Tax Credit refunds, there is no doubt a substantial portion of those grants also went to voter turnout initiatives -- not to mention voter registration fraud. It would have been impossible to oversee the actions of these numerous ACORN affiliates.

Ralph McCloud, the director of CCHD, told Catholic News Service that he was aware that some of the money must have been used for voter registration drives in the past. "But by the same token, we didn't find any voter registration irregularities, the allegations we are finding now," he claimed.

Perhaps they didn't, although that's hard to believe considering the memorable stories of registration fraud from past elections, like the one in 2004 when ACORN offered a man crack cocaine to sign a registration form.

But even so, the bishops should have been aware that the vast majority of ACORN's initiatives are at odds with the Catholic Church's mission. Patrick Reilly, the president of the Cardinal Newman Society who has researched the CCHD's activities in the past, noted that ACORN's Saul Alinsky-inspired community organizing methods should have been a red flag for a Catholic outreach program.

"ACORN as a program is oriented towards empowering... it's a struggle for power. And that ultimately is not what the Catholic Church ought to be focused on. We have a different concept of where power comes from, and it doesn't come from governmental structures." Reilly added, "It's one thing to be engaged in charity, but it's another thing to be struggling for political and government power."

IF ACORN'S TACTICS didn't tip off the bishops, their thinly veiled efforts to elect Barack Obama should have. Although ACORN is a nonpartisan entity under law, its targeting of low-income areas only in key swing states shows that it is very much interested in the outcome of the presidential election. In Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other swing states, it has registered hundreds of thousands of low-income voters, many of them fraudulently. Is there any doubt who it hopes these folks will turn out for on November 4? In all of dependably Democratic Massachusetts, ACORN has registered only about 700 people. Why isn't ACORN helping underrepresented Bay Staters make their voices heard?

The November issue of Labor Watch, published by the Capital Research Center, will delve into just how explicitly ACORN is aligned with Obama. For instance, in a 2004 issue of Social Policy magazine, ACORN National Association Board member Toni Foulkes wrote that the group "invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office." Foulkes recorded that ACORN members worked on his campaign, and that "by the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends. "

Labor Watch also references an ACORN-sponsored forum on December 1, 2007, when Obama "agreed to meet with ACORN in his first 100 days [as president] and said 'before I even get inaugurated, during the transition, we’re going to be calling all of you in to help us shape the agenda. We’re going to be having meetings all across the country with community organizations so that you have input into the agenda for the next presidency of the United States of America.'"

Barack Obama, then, has not only associated with ACORN since 1992, but the group also boasts of its work in getting him elected senator, and will expect favors in return if he's elected president.

In June, ACORN acknowledged that Dale Rathke, brother of founder Wade Rathke, had embezzled almost $1 million eight years ago. This month, the CCHD deemed that misdemeanor cause enough for cutting off its funding.

Clearly, the CCHD won't stand for misappropriation of Church funds. When it comes to supporting a left-wing group promoting the most extreme pro-abortion candidate in history, however, the bishops are not quite as severe.

- Joseph Lawler


Fraudster did time for ACORN

More ACORN stories: here

U.S. attorney probes ACORN in Philadelphia

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group promotes Obama, Dems

Nearly 8,000 applications turned in by a group tied to the Barack Obama campaign are problematic according to Philadelphia election officials. Approximately 1,500 have already been referred to the U.S. Attorney's office for investigation of possible voter registration fraud.

Philadelphia Deputy Election Commissioner Fred Voight told CNN, Oct. 14, that The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now's (ACORN) applications are problematic. The way the new applications are collected were possible causes of problems.

"We know that there are people who have not been able to meet their quota and are fired," Mr. Voight said. "The people who are doing this are homeless, recovering drug addicts, recovering alcoholics and are desperate for money."

According to Tim Dowling, election finance documents specialist of the Philadelphia Voter Registration Administration, ACORN turned in 78,376 voter applications from April 28, 2008 through Oct. 6, 2008. Of this number, 6,962 have been rejected to date.
This figure does not count duplicate applications, Mr. Dowling said. It has been estimated that 80,000 voter applications were duplicates, but this total was from all sources not just ACORN.

ACORN's voter registration activities have run afoul of the law in other parts of Pennsylvania. Last July 24, Dauphin County detectives offered a $2,000 reward for information about the whereabouts of Luis R. Torres-Serrano, an ACORN worker, who was accused of submitting more than 100 fraudulent voter registrations.

Delaware County authorities arrested a former ACORN employee Oct. 21 on felony theft and forgery charges for allegedly submitting dozens of phony voter-registration applications.

Jemar Barksdale, 34, of Chester, submitted 18 fraudulent forms using the names of existing voters, and 22 other applications in which the information was "completely fictitious," according to District Attorney G. Michael Green.

"Each of the purported applicants, upon interview, stated that the signature appearing on the application in his or her name was not, in fact, the signature of that person," Mr. Green said.

Krista Holub ACORN's political director for Pennsylvania downplayed this incident as being the actions of a rogue employee.

But this indictment is consistent with the pattern by ACORN workers in the rest of Pennsylvania and other states. The group has seen its workers convicted of voter registration fraud across the U.S.

Currently, lawyers for the state Republican Party are challenging what it sees as voter fraud by ACORN in front of Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court. A hearing is slated for next week.

The state Republican Party seeks a list of 140,000 Pennsylvanians who ACORN has registered this year.

ACORN attorney Kathryn Simpson said there are adequate safeguards to prevent voter fraud. She said plaintiffs are trying to play the role of prosecutor before any crime is committed.

"There's no voter fraud," she said, in response to Republican claims her organization was engaging in fraudulent activities.  "There has been no election."

Five ACORN employees were convicted and imprisoned in Washington state, in 2007, for what was described by Washington's Secretary of State Sam Reed, as, "the worst case of election fraud in our state's history. It was an outrage."

Four part-time ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City, Mo., for voter registration fraud in November 2006. Two Colorado ACORN workers were sentenced to community service, in January 2005, for submitting false voter registrations.


ACORN created subprime mess

More ACORN stories: here

Crime Pays for ACORN, Obama

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN connects U.S. socialists: Obama, Organized Labor, Hollywood Left

In elections, appearances count. Think of the suspicion still surrounding the troves of ballots that kept surfacing in King County as votes were being recounted after the 2004 governor’s race.

That’s why ACORN’s blustering defenses of its sloppy voter-registration practices have gotten so aggravating. Its leaders continue to talk as if they’re doing the country a great service with a mismanaged registration drive that lets employees sign up the likes of “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck.”

County officials in 11 states have reportedly found bogus voter applications submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Criminal investigations have been launched in at least two states.

It would be one thing if this were ACORN’s first offense. But it got caught doing precisely the same thing in 2006 in King and Pierce counties, where its canvassers registered, among others, “Veronica Mars” and “Pat Tillman” – who had been killed in Afghanistan two years earlier. Some of the ACORN employees involved have since been convicted.

ACORN says the canvassers in question aren’t trying to perpetrate election fraud; they’re trying to get paid for gathering legitimate applications when they aren’t actually out doing the necessary work.

That is no doubt true. It’s also true that “Mickey Mouse” isn’t going to wind up voting in November. Election workers aren’t that stupid.

But there’s a reason fraudulent registration is a crime. It undermines the integrity of the system and creates public perceptions of tainted elections.

Because ACORN is an openly political, left-leaning organization, Republicans can reasonably suspect an illegal scheme to elect Democrats.

This cuts both ways. In California on Saturday, police arrested a man running a registration drive on behalf of the state Republican Party. According to investigators, his company, Young Political Majors, had been duping citizens into registering as Republicans.

As in ACORN’s case, it looks as if YPM were trying to collect for work not done. Regardless, neither Democrats nor Republicans can be expected to sit still for such fraud.

ACORN has little excuse, given its experience in Pierce and King counties. If its practices create incentives for fraudulent applications, those incentives should have been changed long before its current registration drive got under way.

At this late date, ACORN can’t wash its hands of fraud committed under its auspices in perhaps 11 states. The claim that its employees are beyond its control – perhaps operating in some other universe – has gotten old.


ACORN: Above the law

Related: "Unions, Dems obsessed with rigging elections"
More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group prospers in 2008

Recently we have been inundated with accounts of fraudulent activities taking place in registering people to vote in the Nov. 4 general election.

Fraudulent activities apparently have been committed by people, or groups, committed to the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns. In other words, Democrats and Republicans alike have been up to no good in attempting to manipulate voter rolls prior to the general election. That's a shame because it tells us there exist people, or groups, who have no respect for the electoral process.

We specifically have read and heard about a man in California who was caught trying to fraudulently register more Republicans to vote. Not only should those registrants be banned from voting in the general election, the man in question should be prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows.

We also have read and heard about the shenanigans committed by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

ACORN is a so-called non-profit, grassroots organization comprised of low- and moderate-income people across the country. It was organized in 1970.

ACORN supposedly establishes community organizations, which supposedly are committed to social and economic justice. ACORN registers people to vote, too. It receives federal funding as well to help pay for its operations.

In short, ACORN is expected to operate as a non-profit, bipartisan organization void of any overt political activities. At least that's what non-profits are supposed to do.

However, that's not what ACORN has been up to lately.

Instead, the organization has been caught red-handed submitting fraudulent voter registration forms. Worse, as late as June of this year, one of the organization's leaders publicly called on ACORN advocates to do what they had to do to help elect Barack Hussein Obama president.

While we have no reason to question the intent that was envisioned when ACORN was founded some 38 years ago, it is obvious the organization has evolved into a political arm, animal, of the Democratic Party.

Congress should cut off any and all federal funding for ACORN, and the organization should be investigated for committing voter fraud.

Anyone who is discovered to have committed voter fraud should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

After all, no one, or group, is above the law, including ACORN.

- Sam Hanna, Jr.

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