ACORN Linked to Illegal Aid for Obama Campaign

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."

Bertrand de Jouvenel

Watching the increasingly rapacious conduct of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations) over the past few years and the considerable power and funds being gifted to it by this administration -- while the press and Congress largely remain silent -- I fear we are most surely heading into a government run by wolves.

ACORN's role in the past two presidential elections has hardly received the kind of coverage a press concerned about protecting the right to free elections would have accorded it. Aside from some articles often lightheartedly making fun of the registrations of obviously non-existent voters, the press has largely averted its eyes from the widespread, multi-state efforts by ACORN to overwhelm the electoral officials through massive registration drives conducted by dubious characters paid piece work rates, operating with  no supervision and making no real effort at doing an honest job of it.

In Pennsylvania, one retired justice questioned whether a fair election would be possible last November, showing stacks of phony registrations and photos of vacant lots used as "voters" addresses. The local district attorney said:

Between March 23rd and October 1st, various groups, including ACORN, submitted over 252,595 registrations to the Philadelphia County Election Board with 57,435 rejected for faulty information. Most of these registrations were submitted by ACORN, and rejected due to fake social security numbers, incorrect dates of birth, clearly fraudulent signatures, addresses that do not exist, and duplicate registrations. In one case, a man was registered to vote more than 15 times since the primary election.

In St Louis in 2006, over 1,000 addresses listed on ACORN registrations were non-existent and eight of its local workers were indicted. The Wall Street Journal reported: "In Seattle, local officials invalidated 1,762 Acorn registrations. Felony charges were filed against seven of its workers, some of whom have criminal records. Prosecutors say Acorn's oversight of its workers was virtually nonexistent. To avoid prosecution, Acorn agreed to pay $25,000 in restitution."

ACORN violated state law in Minneapolis by registering convicted felons -- some of them still incarcerated at the time.

So widespread has this effort been -- despite the organization's suggestions that these violations of law are just the work of rogue employees -- that I've been surprised at the federal government's failure to institute a RICO prosecution of the organization.

I noted in the past that the Buckeye Institute of Ohio, relying on a similar state statute, instituted a suit against ACORN last year:

Among its factual assertions are these developed in Congressional hearings:

  • From 2004-2006 ACORN has received $4.6 million in federal funds for its Housing Corporation.
  • ACORN has 150 subsidiary organizations with a total operating budget of over $110 million this year.
  • All the 150 subsidiaries operate from the top as a single enterprise, including the nonprofit Project Vote and the political operation known as Citizens Services.
  • Citizens Services has endorsed Barack Obama and has received over $832,000 from Obama's campaign during the primary period for services.
  • ACORN and Citizen's Services share the same board of directors. They also share office space in New Orleans.

The suit documents numerous instances of in-state predicate acts, including the following:

  • Forgery, uttering forged documents, tampering with writings and records.
  • Harassing people to encourage them to register multiple times; bribing people to register multiple times; registering non-existent and clearly ineligible voters (like minors); registering the same person in multiple counties; providing fraudulent and forged documents.

The lawsuit details numerous illegal activities committed by ACORN in Nevada, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, Virginia, Washington, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Carolina.

Maurice Thompson, the director of the Buckeye Institute's 1851 Center, reports that ACORN removed the case to federal court and then moved to dismiss it. The institute has moved to remand the matter back to the state court (Warren County, Ohio) and has responded to the motion to dismiss. The case is pending, awaiting further action by Judge Weber of the Southern District of Ohio. Mr. Thompson remains confident that the Buckeye Institute will ultimately prevail.

In the meantime, new information about ACORN's potential wrongdoing during the election has come to light.