ACORN Prosecutions Coast to Coast

If an organization that is funded largely by George Soros, Herb and Marion Sandler, and a variety of other foundations (often established by conservative businessmen and which now are totally controlled by left-oriented administrators like Ford and Annenberg) tells you it does serious journalistic investigation in the public interest and calls itself the Center for Public Integrity, I suggest you take their offerings with a boulder of salt.

Last year at this time, it was evident to every open-minded person that ACORN was engaged in widespread voter registration fraud under the cover of helping 1.7 million unregistered (and  given the ease of registration, apparently disinterested) citizens to vote.

Pajamas Media carried a detailed piece describing what was then publicly reported about the scheme to undermine fair elections. Four days later the Center for Public Integrity (CFPI) published an apologia for ACORN.

Unfortunately for the CFPI, the report highlighted the charges against the group’s registration efforts in Nevada, suggesting that it had no choice but to turn in registrations that it suspected were in error:

In Nevada, state investigators raided ACORN’s office last week. Bob Walsh, a public information officer for the Nevada secretary of state, pointed out that the group has not been charged with anything. So far all the secretary of state’s office has done is execute a search warrant. Officials there are currently looking through ACORN’s records.

Walsh also said that ACORN should definitely have turned in the forms, even if they were false and ACORN knew they were false. In a state like Nevada, the law for third-party registration groups is particularly complicated. These groups must sign up with the secretary of state, who keeps track of the unique identifier of each registration form distributed to them. The voter registration organization is required to return every form it takes, whether completed or blank. That’s why ACORN submits registrations that anyone could tell are probably a big fat joke.

But Nevada’s law also forbids “knowingly falsifying an application to register to vote.” Ostensibly that’s why the secretary of state is looking into ACORN’s records to begin with: The group turned in obviously false registration forms. But that’s a separate part of the law and does not change ACORN’s obligation to turn in all the forms. In short, it’s not clear that in Nevada ACORN was wrong to turn in the forms; indeed, it appears the group was trying to follow the law.

This week, almost a year later, it turns out that the investigative effort of the organization overlooked what ACORN’s critics and Nevada law enforcement authorities did not: the entire ACORN voter operation in that state was designed to defraud Nevada's voters of their right to an honest election.

The former Las Vegas director of ACORN, Charles Edwards, pleaded guilty to violations of state law in compensating ACORN workers under a quota system laughably mislabeled “performance standards.”

For ACORN, this trial may cost the group its tax exempt status in Nevada, and that can only add to the well-deserved troubles of this criminal operation.

Until now, prosecutions for voter registration fraud have focused on ACORN workers, and authorities have secured guilty pleas from several who admitted to falsifying voter registration forms.

But when investigators from Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller's office raided the ACORN Las Vegas office, Ross says they found a paper trail that implicated the ACORN organization itself.

"We came across policy manuals that outline their policy of creating a quota system, which is against the law," Miller told FOX News in an interview. "This, in fact, was something that was widespread and something the organization itself knew about, and it's important to hold the organization criminally accountable as opposed to the individual field directors." ...

But prosecutors say ACORN paid a $5 bonus per day to workers who would sign up 21 or more voters per shift, hence the name "21" or "Blackjack," an alleged quota system that Ross says is the first step toward corrupting the democratic system.

"These charges strike at the heart of having integrity of the electoral process. That's something that is important in Nevada and the entire country.

Now, the Nevada prosecutor has held over ACORN and its former manager for trial on felony charges:

The political advocacy organization ACORN and a former manager will stand trial in District Court on charges that they paid canvassers to collect voter registration applications in the 2008 election cycle. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace William Jansen said on Wednesday there was enough evidence to allow a jury to decide whether the group and its former regional director, Amy Busefink, knew about an illegal bonus system run by its Las Vegas office field director, Christopher Edwards.

Busefink and ACORN are scheduled for arraignment in Clark County District Court at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 14. Each face 13 felony counts related to the bonus program known as “21+” or “Blackjack.”

Nevada is not the only place where ACORN’s voter registration tactics are finally receiving prosecutorial attention. As many as 50 forged absentee ballots were filed in this September’s primary elections in Troy, New York, by a group called the Democratic and Working Families parties.

Working Family Party is simply another name for ACORN, as Roger Stone notes writing for BigGovernment.com :

The Working Families Party is not about working people or families and it isn’t really a party.  The WFP is a wholly owned subsidiary of ACORN. Bertha Lewis, co-chair of the Working Families Party, is the Executive Director of New York ACORN. New York ACORN leader Steven Kest was the moving force in forming the party and WFP headquarters are located at the same address as ACORN’s national and New York office at 88 Third Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.

WFP is essentially a money funnel which pays for an aggressive door to door canvas. [snip] The Working Families Party has no county organizations or county committee men or women and no local structure beyond its top leadership and an army of paid canvassers. Since the major parties no longer have the man power to organize an effective voter canvas, Democrats have turned to the WFP for their door to door campaign activities.

But more importantly, the Working Families Party is a criminal enterprise utilizing a for-profit political consulting firm, Data and Field Services (DFS), to skirt New York City election laws regarding public finance and campaign spending limits.

Illustrative of the crudeness of the operation are the details reported by the Times Union:

Attorneys consulted by the Times Union who are familiar with voter-fraud issues said the allegations surfacing in Troy may be unprecedented here and could result in criminal prosecutions.

Two of the absentee ballots reviewed by the newspaper carry addresses in Griswold Heights, a public housing complex, and are attributed to residents who have not lived there for years, records show. One of the ballots is listed under the name of Milagros Serrano, 44, who left Griswold Heights in October 2007 and now lives in Hollywood, Fla., records show.

The signature attributed to Serrano on the ballot looks nothing like her signature from a voter registration card filed several years ago at the Board of Elections. The hand-written excuse allegedly provided by Serrano for not voting in person in the primary states: ''Dartmouth Hos. doctor appt.''

Many other ballot applications also include fictitious reasons why the person needed an absentee ballot, including casino bus trips, Cape Cod vacations, work conferences and medical ailments. Several voters interviewed by the newspaper said someone wrote the information without their knowledge.

Little wonder that with evidence like this a special prosecutor appears likely to be appointed to conduct a probe.

I can’t wait for those well-funded, crack investigative reporters at the Center for Public Integrity to weigh in on these stories. Or are they waiting for that cute Hannah Giles to break the story for them?