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Author Topic: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc.  (Read 67151 times)
DougMacG
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« on: September 30, 2008, 12:19:15 PM »

ACORN was mentioned by Crafty in the voter fraud discussion, but not normally named by Obama as the group where he built his career community-organizing.  This group deserves its own DB topic IMO beyond its connection to the 'Obama phenomenon'.

My awareness of ACORN started with reading the fliers they give to tenants in inner city neighborhoods espousing a philosophy let's say that is different than mine, or of freedom, property rights, or individual responsibility.

On election 2004 in south Minneapolis, I had a personal run-in with them.  They tried all but physically to drag me off a roof to register and vote (in a precinct where I don't live).  They just couldn't take no for an answer.  I was refusing to tell them whether or not I had already voted asserting that it was a private matter and they kept trying to clarify that the question was whether or not I had voted, not who I would vote for.  I kept replying that I understood the question perfectly and still considered it very much a private matter.  At the point where I should have demanded they leave, I realized I was keeping them for the rest of their blockwork for as long as they cared to obsess on me.  It became quite a scene.  Quite clearly you could tell that their organization assignment was to not take no for an answer.  They wanted 100% turnout - or better...

ACORN is also tied to the mortgage meltdown as forced 'community reinvestment' anti-capitalism is part of their mission.
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Relevant NY Post story yesterday: "BARACK'S 'ORGANIZER' BUDS PUSHED FOR BAD MORTGAGES"

http://www.nypost.com/seven/09292008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/os_dangerous_pals_131216.htm?page=0

By STANLEY KURTZ

September 29, 2008

WHAT exactly does a "community organizer" do? Barack Obama's rise has left many Americans asking themselves that question. Here's a big part of the answer: Community organizers intimidate banks into making high-risk loans to customers with poor credit.

In the name of fairness to minorities, community organizers occupy private offices, chant inside bank lobbies, and confront executives at their homes - and thereby force financial institutions to direct hundreds of millions of dollars in mortgages to low-credit customers.

In other words, community organizers help to undermine the US economy by pushing the banking system into a sinkhole of bad loans. And Obama has spent years training and funding the organizers who do it.

THE seeds of today's financial meltdown lie in the Community Reinvestment Act - a law passed in 1977 and made riskier by unwise amendments and regulatory rulings in later decades.

CRA was meant to encourage banks to make loans to high-risk borrowers, often minorities living in unstable neighborhoods. That has provided an opening to radical groups like ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) to abuse the law by forcing banks to make hundreds of millions of dollars in "subprime" loans to often uncreditworthy poor and minority customers.

Any bank that wants to expand or merge with another has to show it has complied with CRA - and approval can be held up by complaints filed by groups like ACORN.

In fact, intimidation tactics, public charges of racism and threats to use CRA to block business expansion have enabled ACORN to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and contributions from America's financial institutions.

Banks already overexposed by these shaky loans were pushed still further in the wrong direction when government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began buying up their bad loans and offering them for sale on world markets.

Fannie and Freddie acted in response to Clinton administration pressure to boost homeownership rates among minorities and the poor. However compassionate the motive, the result of this systematic disregard for normal credit standards has been financial disaster.

ONE key pioneer of ACORN's subprime-loan shakedown racket was Madeline Talbott - an activist with extensive ties to Barack Obama. She was also in on the ground floor of the disastrous turn in Fannie Mae's mortgage policies.

Long the director of Chicago ACORN, Talbott is a specialist in "direct action" - organizers' term for their militant tactics of intimidation and disruption. Perhaps her most famous stunt was leading a group of ACORN protesters breaking into a meeting of the Chicago City Council to push for a "living wage" law, shouting in defiance as she was arrested for mob action and disorderly conduct. But her real legacy may be her drive to push banks into making risky mortgage loans.

In February 1990, Illinois regulators held what was believed to be the first-ever state hearing to consider blocking a thrift merger for lack of compliance with CRA. The challenge was filed by ACORN, led by Talbott. Officials of Bell Federal Savings and Loan Association, her target, complained that ACORN pressure was undermining its ability to meet strict financial requirements it was obligated to uphold and protested being boxed into an "affirmative-action lending policy." The following years saw Talbott featured in dozens of news stories about pressuring banks into higher-risk minority loans.

IN April 1992, Talbott filed an other precedent-setting com plaint using the "community support requirements" of the 1989 savings-and-loan bailout, this time against Avondale Federal Bank for Savings. Within a month, Chicago ACORN had organized its first "bank fair" at Malcolm X College and found 16 Chicago-area financial institutions willing to participate.

Two months later, aided by ACORN organizer Sandra Maxwell, Talbott announced plans to conduct demonstrations in the lobbies of area banks that refused to attend an ACORN-sponsored national bank "summit" in New York. She insisted that banks show a commitment to minority lending by lowering their standards on downpayments and underwriting - for example, by overlooking bad credit histories.

By September 1992, The Chicago Tribune was describing Talbott's program as "affirmative-action lending" and ACORN was issuing fact sheets bragging about relaxations of credit standards that it had won on behalf of minorities.

And Talbott continued her effort to, as she put it, drag banks "kicking and screaming" into high-risk loans. A September 1993 story in The Chicago Sun-Times presents her as the leader of an initiative in which five area financial institutions (including two of her former targets, now plainly cowed - Bell Federal Savings and Avondale Federal Savings) were "participating in a $55 million national pilot program with affordable-housing group ACORN to make mortgages for low- and moderate-income people with troubled credit histories."

What made this program different from others, the paper added, was the participation of Fannie Mae - which had agreed to buy up the loans. "If this pilot program works," crowed Talbott, "it will send a message to the lending community that it's OK to make these kind of loans."

Well, the pilot program "worked," and Fannie Mae's message that risky loans to minorities were "OK" was sent. The rest is financial-meltdown history.

IT would be tough to find an "on the ground" community organizer more closely tied to the subprime-mortgage fiasco than Madeline Talbott. And no one has been more supportive of Madeline Talbott than Barack Obama.

When Obama was just a budding community organizer in Chicago, Talbott was so impressed that she asked him to train her personal staff.

He returned to Chicago in the early '90s, just as Talbott was starting her pressure campaign on local banks. Chicago ACORN sought out Obama's legal services for a "motor voter" case and partnered with him on his 1992 "Project VOTE" registration drive.

In those years, he also conducted leadership-training seminars for ACORN's up-and-coming organizers. That is, Obama was training the army of ACORN organizers who participated in Madeline Talbott's drive against Chicago's banks.

More than that, Obama was funding them. As he rose to a leadership role at Chicago's Woods Fund, he became the most powerful voice on the foundation's board for supporting ACORN and other community organizers. In 1995, the Woods Fund substantially expanded its funding of community organizers - and Obama chaired the committee that urged and managed the shift.

That committee's report on strategies for funding groups like ACORN features all the key names in Obama's organizer network. The report quotes Talbott more than any other figure; Sandra Maxwell, Talbott's ACORN ally in the bank battle, was also among the organizers consulted.

MORE, the Obama-supervised Woods Fund report ac knowledges the problem of getting donors and foundations to contribute to radical groups like ACORN - whose confrontational tactics often scare off even liberal donors and foundations.

Indeed, the report brags about pulling the wool over the public's eye. The Woods Fund's claim to be "nonideological," it says, has "enabled the Trustees to make grants to organizations that use confrontational tactics against the business and government 'establishments' without undue risk of being criticized for partisanship."

Hmm. Radicalism disguised by a claim to be postideological. Sound familiar?

The Woods Fund report makes it clear Obama was fully aware of the intimidation tactics used by ACORN's Madeline Talbott in her pioneering efforts to force banks to suspend their usual credit standards. Yet he supported Talbott in every conceivable way. He trained her personal staff and other aspiring ACORN leaders, he consulted with her extensively, and he arranged a major boost in foundation funding for her efforts.

And, as the leader of another charity, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Obama channeled more funding Talbott's way - ostensibly for education projects but surely supportive of ACORN's overall efforts.

In return, Talbott proudly announced her support of Obama's first campaign for state Senate, saying, "We accept and respect him as a kindred spirit, a fellow organizer."

IN short, to understand the roots of the subprime-mort gage crisis, look to ACORN's Madeline Talbott. And to see how Talbott was able to work her mischief, look to Barack Obama.

Then you'll truly know what community organizers do.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 05:34:59 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2008, 02:00:13 PM »

**SanFranNan provides cover for the guilty**

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=13967

Democrat Leaders Played to Lose
By The Prowler
Published 9/30/2008 12:50:21 AM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered her Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, to essentially not do his job in the runup to the vote on Monday for the negotiated Wall Street bailout plan, according to House Democrat leadership aides.

"Clyburn was not whipping the votes you would have expected him to, in part because he was uncomfortable doing it, in part because we didn't want the push for votes to be successful," says one leadership aide. "All we needed was enough to potentially get us over the finish line, but we wanted the Republicans to be the ones to do it. This was not going to be a Democrat-passed bill if the Speaker had anything to say about it."

During the floor vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democrat Conference chair Rahm Emanuel could be seen monitoring the vote on the floor, and gauging whether or not more Democrat votes were needed. Clyburn had expressed concerns, says the leadership aide, of being asked to press members of the Black and Hispanic caucuses on a bill he was certain those constituencies would not want passed.

"It worked out, because we didn't have a dog in this fight. We negotiated. We gave the White House a bill. It was up to the Republicans to get the 100 plus votes they needed and they couldn't do it," said another Democrat leadership aide.

Emanuel, who served as a board member for Freddie Mac, one of the agencies that precipitated the economic crisis the nation now finds itself in, had no misgivings about taking a leadership role in tanking the bill. "He was cheerleading us along, mothering the votes," says the aide. "We wanted enough to put the pressure on the Republicans and Congressman Emanuel was charged with making it close enough. He did a great job."

Pelosi and her aides have made it clear they were not going to "whip" or twist the arms of members who did not want to vote, but they also made no effort to rally any support for a bill they attempted to hijack over the weekend.

Further, according to House Oversight Committee staff, Emanuel has received assurances from Pelosi that she will not allow what he termed a "witch hunt" to take place during the next Congressional session over the role Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played in the economic crisis.

Emanuel apparently is concerned the roles former Clinton Administration members may have played in the mortgage industry collapse could be politically -- or worse, if the Department of Justice had its way, legally -- treacherous for many.
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G M
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2008, 06:01:24 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/30/video-stanley-kurtz-on-obama-acorn-and-the-cra/

Obama and ACORN.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2008, 12:16:33 AM »

Thanks for starting this thread Doug.

IIRC ACORN has some sordid history in Philadelphia too.
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G M
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2008, 10:26:24 AM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/02/voter-fraud-alert-more-thug-thizzlin-in-ohio/

Ohio, ground zero of ACORN voter fraud.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2008, 12:14:12 AM »

My original point in starting this thread was just to expose what an extreme leftwing group they are, how amazingly powerful they are, how anti-capitalism, freedom and market economy they are, along with the corruption and voter fraud issue.  The timing hit the forefront with the Obama candidacy as his career and political views are intertwined with ACORN.  The issue of ACORN is separate from Obama just in the sense that ACORN precedes him and will live on and regardless of how this one disciple fairs in this year's election.

The heart of my beef is just that they represent a political view opposite to my own.  God Bless their right to organize and espouse Marxist views.

Then I see a Michelle Malkin column alleging that 40% of their funding comes from taxpayers.  Now I'm mad.  Looking at Michelle's achive, I see that she has been all over this group and Obama's shady involvement with them.
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http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/25/the-acorn-obama-knows/
The ACORN Obama knows
By Michelle Malkin

My syndicated column today spotlights the whistleblower report on ACORN, which I’ve been blogging about (here) and which deserves more attention in the media and in Washington–especially in light of the radical activist group’s embrace of Barack Obama. The Consumer Rights League e-mailed to let me know that three GOP congressmen (Hensarling, Feeney, and Royce) have called on Barney Frank (D-Housing Boondoggle) to investigate ACORN’s taxpayer abuses. Snowball’s chance, I know, but conservatives ought to be turning up the heat and using every ounce of energy they have to, well, act like conservatives and push to de-fund the Left.

For excellent background on Obama and ACORN, see Stanley Kurtz’s NR piece here, plus City Journal pieces here and here. Also here and here.

If you don’t know what ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is all about, you better bone up. This left-wing group takes in 40 percent of its revenues from American taxpayers — you and me — and has leveraged nearly four decades of government subsidies to fund affiliates that promote the welfare state and undermine capitalism and self-reliance, some of which have been implicated in perpetuating illegal immigration and encouraging voter fraud. A new whistleblower report from the Consumer Rights League documents how Chicago-based ACORN has commingled public tax dollars with political projects.

Who in Washington will fight to ensure that your money isn’t being spent on these radical activities?

Don’t bother asking Barack Obama. He cut his ideological teeth working with ACORN as a “community organizer” and legal representative. Naturally, ACORN’s political action committee has warmly endorsed his presidential candidacy. According to ACORN, Obama trained its Chicago members in leadership seminars; in turn, ACORN volunteers worked on his campaigns. Obama also sat on the boards of the Woods Fund and Joyce Foundation, both of which poured money into ACORN’s coffers. ACORN head Maude Hurd gushes that Obama is the candidate who “best understands and can affect change on the issues ACORN cares about” — like ensuring their massive pipeline to your hard-earned money.

Let’s take a closer look at the ACORN Obama knows.

Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State. Seven ACORN workers had submitted nearly 2,000 bogus voter registration forms. According to case records, they flipped through phone books for names to use on the forms, including “Leon Spinks,” “Frekkie Magoal” and “Fruto Boy Crispila.” Three ACORN election hoaxers pleaded guilty in October. A King County prosecutor called ACORN’s criminal sabotage “an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls.”

The group’s vandalism on electoral integrity is systemic. ACORN has been implicated in similar voter fraud schemes in Missouri, Ohio and at least 12 other states. The Wall Street Journal noted: “In Ohio in 2004, a worker for one affiliate was given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey. During a congressional hearing in Ohio in the aftermath of the 2004 election, officials from several counties in the state explained ACORN’s practice of dumping thousands of registration forms in their lap on the submission deadline, even though the forms had been collected months earlier.”

In March, Philadelphia elections officials accused the nonprofit advocacy group of filing fraudulent voter registrations in advance of the April 22nd Pennsylvania primary. The charges have been forwarded to the city district attorney’s office.

Under the guise of “consumer advocacy,” ACORN has lined its pockets. The Department of Housing and Urban Development funds hundreds, if not thousands, of left-wing “anti-poverty” groups across the country led by ACORN. Last October, HUD announced more than $44 million in new housing counseling grants to over 400 state and local efforts. The White House has increased funding for housing counseling by 150 percent since taking office in 2001, despite the role most of these recipients play as activist satellites of the Democratic Party. The AARP scored nearly $400,000 for training; the National Council of La Raza (”The Race”) scooped up more than $1.3 million; the National Urban League raked in nearly $1 million; and the ACORN Housing Corporation received more than $1.6 million.

As the Consumer Rights League points out in its new expose, the ACORN Housing Corporation has worked to obtain mortgages for illegal aliens in partnership with Citibank. It relies on undocumented income, “under the table” money, which may not be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Moreover, the group’s “financial justice” operations attack lenders for “exotic” loans, while recommending 10-year interest-only loans (which deny equity to the buyer) and risky reverse mortgages. Whistleblower documents reveal internal discussions among the group that blur the lines between its tax-exempt housing work and its aggressive electioneering activities. The group appears to shake down corporate interests with relentless PR attacks, and then enters “no lobby” agreements with targeted corporations after receiving payment.

Republicans have largely looked the other way as ACORN has expanded its government-funded empire. But finally, a few conservative voices in Congress have called for investigation of the group’s apparent extortion schemes. This week, GOP Reps. Tom Feeney, Jeb Hensarling and Ed Royce called on Democrat Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to convene a hearing to probe potential illegalities and abuse of taxpayer funds by ACORN’s management and minions alike.

Where does the candidate of Hope and Change — the candidate of Reform and New Politics — stand on the issue? Barack Obama, ACORN’s senator, is for more of the same old, same old subsidizing of far-left politics in the name of fighting for the poor while enriching ideological cronies. It’s the Chicago way.
   
   


    * Location: By Michelle Malkin
« Last Edit: October 06, 2008, 12:20:05 AM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 08:38:39 AM »

Finally ACORN is getting investigated. AND a dem controlled election board caught it. I just saw on FOX News the investigation has expanded to 9 states. While not old news about ACORN, the news is they are finally being investigated.
=================================================

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10...investigation/

Nevada state authorities seized records and computers Tuesday from the Las Vegas office of an organization that tries to get low-income people registered to vote, after fielding complaints of voter fraud.
Bob Walsh, spokesman for the Nevada secretary of state's office, told FOXNews.com the raid was prompted by ongoing complaints about "erroneous" registration information being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN.
The group was submitting the information through a voter sign-up drive known as Project Vote.
"Some of them used nonexistent names, some of them used false addresses and some of them were duplicates of previously filed applications," Walsh said, describing the complaints, which largely came from the registrar in Clark County, Nev.
Secretary of State Ross Miller said the fraudulent registrations included forms for the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team.
"Tony Romo is not registered to vote in the state of Nevada, and anybody trying to pose as Terrell Owens won't be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 4," Miller said.
Walsh said agents from both the secretary of state's office and Nevada attorney general's office conducted the raid at 9:30 a.m. local time, and "took a bunch of stuff." Miller's office reported seizing eight computer hard drives and about 20 boxes of documents.
Bertha Lewis, interim chief organizer for ACORN, released a statement saying the group has for months been turning over any suspicious registration information to elections officials. She said those officials routinely ignored their tips, and called the raid a "stunt."
"When we have identified suspicious applications, we have separated them out and flagged them for election officials. We have zero tolerance for fraudulent registrations. We immediately dismiss employees we suspect of submitting fraudulent registrations," she said. "Today's raid by the secretary of state's office is a stunt that serves no useful purpose other than discredit our work registering Nevadans and distracting us from the important work ahead of getting every eligible voter to the polls."
Neither the group, which hires canvassers to register voters, nor any employees have been charged or arrested for fraud or other crimes, said Miller, a Democrat.
But it's not the first time ACORN's been under investigation for registration irregularities. The raid is the latest of at least nine investigations into possible fraudulent voter registration forms submitted by ACORN -- the probes have involved ACORN workers in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Indiana and other states.
In response to the Las Vegas raid, Republican Nevada Sen. John Ensign and seven other senators penned a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency calling for the suspension of taxpayer dollars to "controversial groups like ACORN." The letter referred to contributions that potentially could come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.
In 2006, ACORN also committed what Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed called the "worse case of election fraud" in the state's history.
In the case, ACORN submitted just over 1,800 new voter registration forms, and all but six of the 1,800 names were fake.
More recently, 27,000 registrations handled by the group from January to July 2008 "went into limbo because they were incomplete, inaccurate, or fraudulent," said James Terry, chief public advocate at the Consumers Rights League.
__________________
October 8, 2008

In today's Political Diary

The 'Voter Registration' Racket
McCain Is an Unguided Missile
The Housing Skit Is Back - Minus the Incitement to Homicide
Looking on the Bright Side of President Obama


A Smelly Acorn

Members of the left-wing activist group ACORN had a quick and predictable response to yesterday's raid of their Nevada offices by authorities investigating a possible massive voter registration fraud scheme.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that ACORN volunteer Frank Beaty immediately claimed the raid, which removed computers and files from the group's offices, was a conspiracy designed to prevent the registration of new voters. ACORN's national chief Bertha Lewis called the raid "a stunt that serves no useful purpose other than [to] discredit our work registering Nevadans and distracting us from the important work ahead of getting every eligible vote to the polls."

Reverting to the rhetoric of the 1960s voting rights struggle in the South may be politically useful, but it bears precious little resemblance to the reality of ACORN today. The group has constantly faced charges it mistreats its employees and even broke up their internal efforts to unionize their workplace.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax told the Sun that ACORN has been registering voters in Las Vegas since January and "we started having problems with them almost immediately." His staff met with ACORN and was offered promises that fraudulent registrations would no longer be turned in. "But those controls weren't sufficient," Mr. Lomax said.

Indeed, the more his office and that of Nevada's Secretary of State looked into ACORN's effort, the more worried they became. Jason Anderson rose to the rank of supervisor in ACORN even though he was a convicted felon. Other employees had served time for identity theft. Another former inmate who worked for ACORN told authorities his co-workers were "lazy crack heads."

ACORN's activities are under investigation or suspicion in a dozen states, with one of its workers indicted just last week in Wisconsin. Perhaps the Nevada raid will spur authorities elsewhere to dig down and conclude their investigations by Election Day -- before ACORN can do even more damage to the integrity of the vote.

-- John Fund
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 11:45:07 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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WSJ
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2008, 10:03:33 PM »

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.

 
APAcorn -- 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.

Please add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2008, 10:36:56 AM »

copied from the 2008 thread:

Vote drives defended, despite fake names
By Richard Danielson, Times Staff Writer
In print: Tuesday, October 14, 2008


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mickey Mouse tried to register to vote in Florida this summer, but Orange County elections officials rejected his application, which had an ACORN stamp on it. 
 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."

Richard Danielson can be reached at danielson@sptimes.com or (813)269-5311.

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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2008, 12:08:30 PM »

Quote
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."

WTF? Is this true?

Oh my...

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/13/sigh-mccain-and-his-friends-atacorn/

Gang, it's time to stop the finger pointing, blame the other guy, you hang out with the wrong crowd game. Politicians are all in the bag for themselves. They'll pander to whoever it takes to get the win.

What's it going to take for us to wake up and realize it?
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2008, 02:26:29 PM »

I disagree strongly with McC on shamnesty and wanna puke when I think about how either candidate will handle this once elected.

That said, BO is deliberately cheating by messing with the integrity of the electoral process itself and McC is not.
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2008, 03:46:31 PM »

Acorn Feels Its Oats

The liberal anti-poverty group Acorn is fighting back against allegations by the McCain campaign that its habit of filing false voter registrations carries a danger of injecting voter fraud into the election.

Acorn announced today it will ask Senator McCain to call on Republican election officials in battleground states to guarantee that voters who have lost their homes to foreclosure will not lose their right to vote. Acorn also will mischievously release a video of a 2006 Acorn-sponsored event supporting immigration reform that Mr. McCain spoke at. "While in recent weeks your campaign has stooped to engaging in tactics that do not reflect the John McCain who proudly appeared at the 2006 Acorn event, we hold out hope that the 2008 John McCain will do the right thing," says a statement by the group.

Acorn will also ask for a meeting with what it calls Mr. McCain's "front men" who are chairing the campaign's voter integrity committee. It accuses former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman, a co-chair of the committee, of having "a well documented opposition to civil rights issues." The only example it cites is Mr. Rudman's 1983 opposition to a national federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King.

But Acorn's counterattack may be blunted today by news out of Ohio showing that fraudulently registered voters are already influencing the election outcome. The New York Post reports that Darnell Nash, one of four people subpoenaed in a Cuyahoga County probe of Acorn's voter-registration activities, "breezed into Ohio election offices" on September 30 and cast an invalid ballot. Mr. Nash did not show up for a hearing scheduled in his case yesterday.

-- John Fund

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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2008, 04:14:22 PM »

Quote
...how either candidate will handle this once elected.

I predict that ACORN, Ayers, pitbulls with lipstick, racism, sexism, ageism and all the rest of the election season talking points will "disappear" regardless of the election outcome. Politicians memories only last as long as it serves them. And the public's anger only lasts as long as their attention span between commercials.

I'm disturbed by ACORN and their tactics, but I wonder how you get tens of thousands of non-existent voters/false registrants to the polls?


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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2008, 06:18:02 PM »

You don't get them to the polls, you fill out absentee ballots. Just like how all the dead people in Chicago always vote.  Absentee and democrat.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2008, 10:05:34 PM »

Where are the ballots sent and who fills them out?

Wouldn't it take a hell of a lot of people a hell of a long time to fill out that many ballots?  huh

Along those lines, it seems like it would take several hundred thousand fake voters to sway a national election or make a statistically measurable dent in the results (unless it was tight race, a la 2000).

Not trying to be a smart ass or say it doesn't happen, I'm just trying to understand the mechanics behind the operation.
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2008, 10:19:03 PM »

There are multiple battleground states where the electoral votes for the state could come down to a handful of ballots. They could churn out absentee ballots in the same sort of way they have churned out bogus registrations.
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2008, 10:26:07 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/15/cnn-thousands-of-fraudulent-acorn-registrations-in-philly/

I've gotta give props to CNN for digging into this story. Milagro!  shocked
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2008, 12:40:48 PM »



The Chaos Strategy

A federal appeals court ruled last night that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must provide county election boards with state voter registration information so they can check the validity of some 666,000 new voter registrations submitted to Ohio officials in recent months.

The order, which Ms. Brunner vigorously resisted, will mean county boards will be able to stop counting absentee ballots if the registration linked to them doesn't match the name of a real person listed in government databases.

Ms. Brunner's office had argued that the federal Help America Vote Act did not require any such matching, and that delays in processing absentee votes could mean some valid votes wouldn't be counted.

Meanwhile, thousands of additional suspect registrations turned in by activist groups like Acorn have surfaced in Ohio. Local election officials tell me the volume of possibly fraudulent registrations will make it difficult for them to process those that are valid. "It's almost as if groups like Acorn want deliberate chaos in the election system, which they can then exploit on Election Day to demand that suspect votes be given the benefit of the doubt and counted," one county official told me.


-- John Fund
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« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2008, 07:08:23 PM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/15/voter-fraud-alert-houseful-of-out-of-state-obama-activists-registered-as-ohio-voters-received-absentee-ballots/

Michelle Malkin is all over the Obama vote fraud machine.
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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2008, 02:23:17 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/16/ap-fbi-launches-investigation-of-acorn-for-voter-fraud/

FBI.
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« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2008, 10:17:51 AM »

Inside ACORN
The Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) is an organization that is tailor-made for Barack Obama. It is community based, it is ultra-liberal, and it will do and say just about anything to achieve its political ends. ACORN has drawn questions regarding its operating practices since its inception in 1970, but now the 350,000-member (their number) organization has been caught up in a nationwide scandal for its illegal voter registration practices.

In recent weeks there have been myriad charges filed against the organization from all around the country. In Las Vegas, ACORN offices were raided after complaints over thousands of fraudulent registration applications were submitted by ACORN workers and volunteers. The Michigan Secretary of State is on record noting that ACORN submitted “a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications.” Other states that are taking action against ACORN include New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana—not coincidentally, these are all battleground states. Furthermore, the FBI has opened an investigation into the group.

The scope of the fraud clearly shows that it is a systematic campaign. And it is no GOP witch-hunt as the knee-jerk leftist reaction fired off by the media suggested in recent days. A look at just who is filing the complaints and pressing the charges readily demonstrates that the outrage is nonpartisan. These crimes are endemic to the organization as a whole and undermine our republic. The ACORN organization must be held accountable from top to bottom.

ACORN often hires urban poor and recently released felons to register voters. In some cases, they don’t even pay minimum wage—yet another example of the grand hypocrisy of the “mother” organization, but that’s another can of worms. Only so many Democrats can be registered in any given area, and when that limit is reached, ACORN’s minions sign up dead people, the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line and Mickey Mouse. Homeless people are next, and since they stay in various places, they can vote once for each non-home. Given the level of recidivism among felons, we can only assume that ACORN’s felonious fellows do not experience a guilty conscience for committing such a “chump” crime.

Millions of us “simple-minded” citizens wonder how an organization that flouts our sacred right to vote and shamelessly works to undermine our institutions can continue executing costly programs and “getting out the vote.” Who pays for it all? Answer: We do. Liberal politicians like Barack Obama and his Demo colleagues benefit directly from ACORN’s antics, so, of course, they’re going to ensure their public funding. And now Obama—who has trained ACORN staffers, served as the organization’s lawyer, and recently contributed an eye-popping $832,000 to its coffers—wants to disavow their ties. As Bob Dole once asked, “Where’s the outrage?”
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« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2008, 11:27:48 AM »

Supreme Court rejects:

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D93SBC3O0&show_article=1   

 huh
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« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2008, 11:38:07 AM »

Inside ACORN

As Bob Dole once asked, “Where’s the outrage?”


There is none.

I don't the general public cares and obviously the Supreme Court doesn't care.


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« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2008, 12:24:13 PM »

Nuts About ACORN
Believing in vote fraud may be dangerous to a democracy's health.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008, at 7:16 PM ET

Last night's presidential debate didn't rise to full-frontal bodice-ripper status until John McCain insisted, "[W]e need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." Obama probably shouldn't have guffawed. But it was hard not to. He was probably thinking, "Destroying the fabric of democracy???" Even for McCain that was a little bit of breathless chest-heaving.

As far as "gotcha" stunts go, the right-wing feeding frenzy over the vile vote-fraud treachery of ACORN has yet to yield much fruit. Investigations are indeed under way. But then, they are always under way this time of the year—and as the indefatigable Brad Friedman points out, so what? Evidence of voter-registration wrongdoing is no more a sign of widespread, Obama-sanctioned vote fraud than evidence of minorities being misled and intimidated on Election Day is a sign of official, McCain-sanctioned vote suppression. What's the real point of turning voter-registration shenanigans into "one of the greatest frauds in voter history"? The object here is not criminal indictments. It's to undermine voter confidence in the elections system as a whole. John McCain wants to build a better bogeyman, and he needs your help to do it.

ACORN stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. It's a 30-year-old nonprofit that organizes on behalf of poor urban minorities, and it has registered 1.3 million new voters this year. There's no denying that the organization's system of paying workers $8 an hour to gather voter registrations creates screwy incentives. Encyclopedia Brown could have cracked that mystery. That's why ACORN is either obligated by law or opts voluntarily to turn over all its voter-registration cards suggesting that Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the entire starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys just registered to vote in Nevada. That GOP elections officials started screaming "gotcha" when those registrations were turned in is the real fraud here. Jump back, Encyclopedia Brown! There is wrongdoing afoot in low-paying voter-registrationland.

Last week, media attention focused on a "raid" on ACORN offices in Las Vegas in which voter registration documents that had mostly been voluntarily turned over were dramatically seized by force. Right-wing screeching over nefarious doings in Ohio (where Freddie Johnson of Cleveland testified that ACORN encouraged him to sign 73 voter-registration forms—all in his own name) overlooks the fact that all 73 registrations would still have allowed Freddie to vote just once. The connection between wrongful voter registration and actual polling-place vote fraud is the stuff of GOP mythology. As Rick Hasen has demonstrated, here at Slate and elsewhere, even if Mr. Mouse is registered to vote, he still needs to show up at his polling place, provide a fake ID, and risk a felony conviction to do so.

Large-scale, coordinated vote stealing doesn't happen. The incentives—unlike the incentives for registration fraud—just aren't there. In an interview this week with Salon, Lorraine Minnite of Barnard College, who has studied vote fraud systematically, noted that "between 2002 to 2005 only one person was found guilty of registration fraud. Twenty others were found guilty of voting while ineligible and five were guilty of voting more than once. That's 26 criminal voters." Twenty-six criminal voters despite the fact that U.S. attorneys, like David Iglesias in New Mexico, were fired for searching high and low for vote-fraud cases to prosecute and coming up empty. Twenty-six criminal voters despite the fact that five days before the 2006 election, then-interim U.S. Attorney Bradley Schlozman exuberantly (and futilely) indicted four ACORN workers, even when Justice Department policy barred such prosecutions in the days before elections. RNC General Counsel Sean Cairncross has said he is unaware of a single improper vote cast because of bad cards submitted in the course of a voter-registration effort. Republican campaign consultant Royal Masset says, "n-person voter fraud is nonexistent. It doesn't happen, and ... makes no sense because who's going to take the risk of going to jail on something so blatant that maybe changes one vote?"

There is no such thing as vote fraud. The think tank created to peddle the epidemic has evaporated. A handful of cases have been prosecuted. Then why is Sarah Palin shooting off e-mails contending that "we can't allow leftist groups like ACORN to steal this election?" Why is former Sen. John Danforth announcing, all statesmanlike, that the whole 2008 election "has been tainted?" Why is Ted Olson, the Republican National Lawyers Association lawyer of the year, claiming that "[ACORN] acknowledged having to get rid of a thousand people or more who were participating in voter fraud efforts." These people know the difference between registration fraud and vote fraud. Why continue to suggest they are the same thing?

Consider the fact that, as the Brennan Center reported recently, "[E]lection officials across the country are routinely striking millions of voters from the rolls through a process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation." Consider the recent New York Times review of state records and Social Security records, which concluded that "[t]ens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law." Consider the case, now on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, in which 200,000 new Ohio voters stand to be bounced off the rolls because, through no fault of their own, their names don't match error-riddled state databases. Consider the indictment this week of former Republican official James Tobin for his 2002 role in jamming Democratic get-out-the-vote calls. Consider the much-ballyhooed Republican challenge to the eligibility of 6,000 Native American and student voters in Montana that backfired first in court, then with the abrupt resignation this week of the official who spearheaded the effort.

Nobody is suggesting the Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts are perfect. But the suggestion that Barack Obama, through ACORN, is systematically working to get Huey, Dewey, and Louie to steal elections, and that therefore minorities and people of color should be disenfranchised, is cynical beyond belief. Consider the fliers and robo-calls designed to spread false information and threats to Hispanic and African-American voters. (According to the Philadelphia Daily News, fliers in minority neighborhoods warned residents that undercover cops would be lurking around the polls on Election Day, arresting anyone with "outstanding arrest warrants or who have unpaid traffic tickets.") There is wholly implausible vote stealing, and then there is the vote stealing that actually happens. You want to get all crazy-paranoid? I'd worry more about the people who want to rough up their fellow citizen at the polls than people who want to risk jail time for voting twice.

In the end, all roads lead back to John Paul Stevens. He wrote the plurality opinion in last term's Crawford v. Marion County, which upheld Indiana's restrictive voter-ID law. Stevens understood that there is no such thing as polling-place vote fraud, conceding that "[t]he record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history." But, continued Stevens, in the manner of someone rationally discussing the likelihood of UFO sightings, "flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this nation's history." Like, um, an 1868 mayoral election in New York City, he notes, and a single 2004 incident from Washington. Stevens was more worried about shaky "voter confidence" in elections than actual voting. The message that went out from on high was clear: undermine voter confidence. Even if it's irrational and hysterical and tinged with the worst kinds of racism, keep telling the voters the system is busted.

Each time they spread the word that Democrats (especially poor and minority Democrats) are poised to steal an election, John McCain and his overheated friends deliberately undermine voter confidence. That is the point. It encourages citizens to accede to ever-harsher voter-verification laws—even if they are not needed. It musters support for voter purges that are increasingly draconian. Insist often enough that the other side is cheating, and you may even encourage partisans to take matters into their own hands, leading to the worst forms of polling-place vigilantism—from a cross burning in Louisiana on the eve of a 2006 mayoral election to the hiring of intimidating partisan "poll watchers" to volunteer at inner-city polling places. When McCain goes after ACORN, he's really just asking you to join him in believing that the system is broken. And if you choose to overheat along with McCain, the Supreme Court promises to sign off on any measure that might calm you down later. John McCain might want to be a little more careful about accusing Obama, ACORN, or anyone else, of "destroying the fabric of democracy." In so doing, he's either deliberately or unconsciously encouraging his own supporters to grab a handful of the stuff and start ripping.

Dahlia Lithwick is a Slate senior editor
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« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2008, 01:00:48 PM »

I'll need to read the Supreme's decision-- it may rest more on precedural issues, or federalism issues-- certainly the AP report cited here doesn't even attempt to address more than win/lose.

ACORN has been on my radar screen a LONG time for massive, systemic registration/fraud.

Here's this from PD WSJ

Acorn Crackup

As news that the FBI is launching an investigation of its voter registration activities hit yesterday, the left-wing housing lobby Acorn received another blow. The group's dirty laundry will be aired at a board meeting today in New Orleans as its national board debates the merits of a lawsuit filed against Acorn by two of its own board members.

Karen Inman and Marcel Reid are the Acorn directors demanding that audits and other financial records of Acorn be turned over to them so they can complete an internal management review. They claim the records will show the organization is rife with financial irregularities created during the 38-year leadership of Wade Rathke, its founder.

Mr. Rathke left Acorn earlier this year after it was revealed his brother Dale had embezzled some $1 million from the group and that Mr. Rathke had concealed that scandal from his own board for eight years.

But Ms. Inman says the lawsuit is about far more than gaining access to financial records. She held a news conference yesterday and expressed concern that Wade Rathke continues to run Acorn from behind the scenes even though Acorn's board voted over the summer to sever all ties with him.

The internal divisions inside Acorn have led several organizers to form a dissident group called Speaking Truth To Power. The dissidents called on Barack Obama this week to support their efforts at reforming the organization. Mr. Obama has gone to great lengths to distance himself from the roles he played as a top trainer and attorney for Acorn during the 1990s.

-- John Fund

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« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2008, 02:58:07 PM »

When I ran for State level office in the 2002 Florida Libertarian party's "Operation Full Slate" there were a number of us paying attention to voter fraud issues. Being a third party you have a lot to overcome from within the system, fraud is part of that. The entire "hanging chad" issue was explained to me around 1982 by a college professor who told us how punch ballot votes could be manipulated. We saw a large municipal election overturned here in Florida due to ballot fraud.

Now when you consider how close the Florida election was, the areas where prior fraud existed and where the "chad" issue seemed to be focused, you can see how a national election can be impacted. If confidence is lost, there could be larger problems that can't be fixed.

In a secret ballot, who counts the votes is the key.


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« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2008, 03:11:13 PM »

Arl:

That is very interesting. IIRC it was Miami that had had its mayoralty election overturned.  Coincidentally enough, Gore's team was headed, coincidentally enough, by Mayor Daley of Chicago ('nuff said) who IIRC came into Miami to see what he could do to help-- or something like that.

I would love to hear about how punch ballots can be manipulated.

Here's this-- I wonder if it was an inside job wink tongue
===========

BOSTON (WBZ) ― Police are investigating a burglary at the Boston offices of the community activist group ACORN.

Boston police told WBZ Friday that three Dell laptop computers were stolen from the group's Dorchester office around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday.  According to police, the alarm had also been ripped from the wall and wires had been damaged.  The police report says two downstairs offices also were ransacked, two vending machines were damaged and change stolen from them.

A representative from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now said he did not know if the break-in was politically motivated, but called the timing "suspicious."

The FBI is investigating whether ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud in several states before the presidential election.

ACORN denies any fraud.

(© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2008, 07:51:23 AM »

Something New Here
Radical? Check. Tied to ACORN? Check. Redistributionist? Check.

By Stanley Kurtz

During his first campaign for the Illinois state senate in 1995-96, Barack Obama was a member of, and was endorsed by, the far-left New Party. Obama’s New Party ties give the lie to his claim to be a post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist. Particularly in Chicago, the New Party functioned as the electoral arm of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). So despite repeated attempts to distance himself from ACORN, Obama’s New Party ties raise disturbing questions about his links to those proudly militant leftists. The media’s near-total silence on this critical element of Obama’s past is deeply irresponsible

Socialist?
While a small group of bloggers have productively explored Obama’s New Party ties, discussion has often turned on the New Party’s alleged socialism. Was the New Party actually established by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)? Was the New Party’s platform effectively socialist in content? Although these debates are both interesting and important, we needn’t resolve them to conclude that the New Party was far to the left of the American mainstream. Whether formally socialist or not, the New Party and its ACORN backers favored policies of economic redistribution. As Obama would say, they wanted to spread the wealth around. Bracketing the socialism question and simply taking the New Party on its own terms is sufficient to raise serious questions about Obama’s political commitments — questions that cry out for attention from a responsible press.

In 2002, Micah L. Sifry, a former writer and editor with The Nation magazine, published Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America, a book that contains what is probably our best account of the rise and fall of the New Party. Although Sifry leaves us hanging on the socialism question, his chapter on the New Party is more than enough to raise disturbing questions about Obama’s radicalism, and about his ties to ACORN.

Sifry reports a quip by New Party co-founder, Daniel Cantor: “The shorthand strategy for accomplishing all this is to get the Bruce Springsteen, Lauryn Hill, and Pete Seeger vote united in one party.” The Peter Seeger vote does sound like shorthand for the old-time socialist Left — but also for far-left-leaning baby boomers in general. Bruce Springsteen and Lauryn Hill point to young blacks and whites on the left, perhaps including, but not restricted to, openly socialist sympathizers. In short, the New Party was a mid-1990s effort to build a “progressive” coalition to the left of the Democratic party, uniting left-leaning baby boomers with minorities, relatively militant unionists, and “idealistic” young people.

Party Within a Party
In contrast to Ralph Nader’s recent third-party campaigns, the New Party’s strategy was to work through “fusion.” Fusion parties were popular in the 19th century. Although these small parties had a separate line on the ballot, they often endorsed one of the major party candidates. That meant these third parties didn’t have to act as “spoilers” in close elections. Yet by constituting themselves as separate entities and offering their endorsement as bait, fusion parties tended to push the major parties further to the right or the left. We see remnants of the old fusion-party pattern in New York state, where separate Liberal and Conservative parties sometimes shift elections by endorsing one or another major party candidate.

As the New Party’s founders put it, they were looking for a cross between the “party within the party” strategy favored by leftist Democrats and the “plague on both your houses” stance later adopted by the Naderites. That means Obama’s New Party ties place him on the far left end of the Democratic party, arguably with one foot outside and to the left of the party itself.

Does this make Obama “socialist?” Maybe so, but according to Sifry, the vague “New Party” name was chosen precisely to avoid such ideological pigeonholing. Maybe that vagueness was designed to avoid exposing the party as the socialist sympathizer it was. Or maybe the name was a way of avoiding complex internal struggles between competing ideological factions, some socialist and some not. (The answer is “both of the above,” I tend to think.) In any case, the New Party was clearly far to the left of mainstream Democrats, and according to Sifry, the party explicitly thought of itself as made up of committed “progressives,” rather than conventional “liberals.” That is entirely consistent with a famous 1995 profile of Obama by Hank De Zutter, which portrays him as closely tied to ACORN, and holding a world-view well “beyond” his mother’s conventional liberalism.

To get a sense of where the New Party stood politically, consider some of its early supporters: Barbara Dudley of Greenpeace, Steve Cobble political director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coaltion, and prominent academics like Frances Fox Piven coauthor of the “Cloward-Piven strategy” and a leader of the drive for the “motor-voter” legislation Obama later defended in court on behalf of ACORN, economist Juliet Schor, black historian, Manning Marable, historian Howard Zinn, linguist Noam Chomsky, Todd Gitlin, and writers like Gloria Steinem, and Barbara Ehrenreich. Socialist? Readers can draw their own conclusions. At one point, Sifry does describe the party’s goals as “social democratic.” In any case, the New Party clearly stands substantially to the left of the mainstream Democratic party.

ACORN Connection
Unquestionably, ACORN was one of the most important forces behind the creation of the New Party. According to Sifry: “Wade Rathke, ACORN’s lead national organizer, was in on the founding discussions that led to the New Party, and the group’s political director, Zach Polett, also came to play a big role in guiding New Party field organizing for the party [in Chicago and Little Rock].” In fact, Sifry portrays ACORN’s leading role in the New Party as the result of a conscious decision by the organization to move into electoral politics in a more substantial way than they had been able to solely through their political action committee. In addition to Rathke and Polett, a key early supporter of the New Party was Obama’s closest ACORN contact, Madeline Talbott.



While ACORN played an important founding role for the New Party nationally, ACORN was clearly the main force behind the New Party chapter in Chicago. In general, New Party chapters build around an ACORN nucleus were the most disciplined and successful party outposts. Nationally, the New Party’s biggest wins were in Chicago, very much including Obama’s victory in his 1996 run for the Illinois state senate. Chicago’s New Party was actually formed around two core elements, ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 880. Yet, as Sifry notes, SEIU 880 was itself an ACORN offshoot.

Together ACORN and SEIU 880 were the dominant forces in Chicago’s New Party. True, there was also participation by open socialists, but these were not a majority of New Party organizers. You can certainly argue, as libertarian blogger Trevor Louden has, that whether openly or not, the New Party in Chicago and beyond was effectively socialist. It’s a powerful argument and worthy of consideration. After all, according to Rutgers University political scientist Heidi J. Swarts, ACORN’s leaders see themselves as “a solitary vanguard of principled leftists.” So a party outpost built around ACORN would be a party built around “principled vanguard leftists.” Sounds pretty socialist to me. Yet, as I’ve emphasized, we needn’t resolve the “socialism” question to conclude that the New Party, and particularly its Chicago branch, was far to the left of the Democratic party, and largely under the control of ACORN.

Consider “The People Shall Rule,” a look at some of Chicago ACORN’s electoral efforts co-authored by Madeline Talbott, Obama’s closest ACORN contact and a key New Party supporter. In describing former Chicago ACORN leader Ted Thomas’s successful run for alderman, Talbott stresses that, even after election, Thomas retained his ACORN ties. Thomas was invited to retain his seat on ACORN’s Chicago board, ACORN members continued to treat him as a leader, and Thomas continued to brainstorm and strategize with ACORN’s other organizers. Talbott is so busy detailing Thomas’s continued links to ACORN that she doesn’t even bother to mention that Thomas actually ran on behalf of the New Party. (See “NP Chair elected to Chicago City Council.”)

As so often with ACORN, technically separate organizations are often relatively meaningless designations for different branches of ACORN itself. And in Chicago, the New Party was very much an ACORN-dominated operation. Ted Thomas was a city alderman, de facto ACORN leader, and New Party chair all at once. So Obama’s ties to the New Party represent yet another important, and still unacknowledged, link between Obama and ACORN.

We already know that Obama’s ties to ACORN’s Madeline Talbott ran deep. Less known is that Obama’s links to Chicago ACORN/New Party leader Ted Thomas were also strong. Thomas was one of a handful of aldermen who stood with Obama in his unsuccessful 2000 race for Congress against Bobby Rush. Obama is also had long-standing ties to SEIU Local 880, an ACORN union spin-off and a bulwark of Chicago’s New Party. In his 2004 race for the Democratic Senate nomination, SEIU Local 880 strongly endorsed Obama, citing his long history of support for the group.

Revealing Tie
So the fact that Obama received the New Party’s endorsement in his first run for office in 1995-96 cannot be dismissed as insignificant. On the contrary, Obama’s ties to the New Party, and the New Party’s backers at ACORN (often the very same people), are long-standing, substantial, and reveal a great deal about his personal political allegiances. Because it was a fusion party, the New Party did not require that all the candidates it endorsed be members. Yet the New Party’s endorsements were carefully targeted. There was no attempt to endorse candidates in every race, or even to set up nationwide chapters. Carefully selected races in carefully targeted cities were seized upon — and only when the candidate fit the profile of a decidedly left-leaning progressive Democrat. In this way, the New Party set out to form a hard-left “party within a party” among the Democrats.

More than this, we now have substantial evidence that Obama himself was in fact a New Party member. We even have a photograph of Obama appearing with other successful New Party candidates. Clearly, then, it is more than fair to identify Obama with the hard-left stance of the New Party and its ACORN backers. In her recent study of ACORN and the Gamaliel Foundation, the two groups of community organizers to which Obama was closest, Heidi Swarts describes their core ideology as “redistributionist.” Joe the Plumber take note. Whether formally socialist or not, Obama ties with ACORN and its New Party political arm show that spreading your wealth around has long been his ultimate goal.

All this means that Barack Obama is far from the post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist he pretends to be. On the contrary, Obama’s ideological home is substantially to the left of the Democratic-party mainstream, so far to the left that he has one foot planted outside the party itself. And since the New Party Chicago was essentially an electoral arm of ACORN, Obama’s New Party tie, is yet another example of his deep links to the far-left militant organizers of that group. Obama’s account of his limited ties to ACORN in the third debate was clearly not truthful. Likewise, his earlier denials of ties to ACORN have fallen apart.

At what point will the press force Obama to own up to the full extent of his ties to ACORN? At what point will the press demand a full accounting of Obama’s ties to the New Party? At what point will the depth of Obama’s redistributionist economic stance be acknowledged? Barack Obama is hiding the truth about his political past, and the press is playing along.

— Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OTc3NzZkZDYxODZiZjE2OTg5YWRmNDkzM2U0YTIwZGQ=
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« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2008, 06:01:45 PM »

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/10/19/GOP_registration_collector_arrested/UPI-41871224471617/


GOP registration collector arrested
Published: Oct. 19, 2008 at 11:00 PM

SACRAMENTO, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The owner of a firm hired to register thousands of Republican voters in California has been arrested for alleged registration fraud, officials said.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Mark Jacoby was arrested in Ontario, Calif., by state and local investigators late Saturday. California and local investigators charge that Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California home, but doesn't live there any longer. They allege he registered fraudulently so he could meet the requirement that signature gatherers be registered in California, the Times said.

The California Republican Party had hired Jacoby's firm, Young Political Majors, to register new GOP voters in the state.

However, dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by the firm, saying they were told they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters. The Times said the firm was paid up to $12 for every state resident registered as a Republican.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office and several other agencies have begun investigations, the newspaper said. The Times said it was unable to reach Jacoby for comment.
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« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2008, 07:50:21 PM »

Well good for the cops!

And, good thing Senator McCain didn't train him and his people, and funnel many hundreds of thousands of dollars to him pretending it was for "lighting". rolleyes
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« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2008, 10:15:24 PM »

Quote
funnel many hundreds of thousands of dollars to him pretending it was for "lighting".

 grin grin grin grin grin
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« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2008, 01:36:40 AM »

Debra Bowen used to be my CA Assembly person and now she is Secy of State of CA.  Even though she is a Democrat, overall she has been a decent hardworking one.  So I was disappointed to here that this Republican's arrest may be connected to certain donations she received , , ,  FCUK!!!  Are NONE of them honest?!?  angry
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« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2008, 10:43:27 AM »

Quote
Are NONE of them honest?!?

I'm going to go with a big NO on that one.

I've long held the belief that once you get past the small town (population 25,000 or so) level, it is impossible to advance in politics without some type of concession, pandering, or backroom dealings .
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« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2008, 11:05:07 AM »

Kurtz on Obama and the New Party
Part 1
Radical? Check. Tied to ACORN? Check. Redistributionist? Check



Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q...TIwZGQ=&w= MA==

Stanley Kurtz’s latest attempt to bring Barack Obama’s past to light: Something New Here.

During his first campaign for the Illinois state senate in 1995-96, Barack Obama was a member of, and was endorsed by, the far-left New Party. Obama’s New Party ties give the lie to his claim to be a post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist. Particularly in Chicago, the New Party functioned as the electoral arm of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). So despite repeated attempts to distance himself from ACORN, Obama’s New Party ties raise disturbing questions about his links to those proudly militant leftists. The media’s near-total silence on this critical element of Obama’s past is deeply irresponsible.

SOCIALIST?
While a small group of bloggers have productively explored Obama’s New Party ties, discussion has often turned on the New Party’s alleged socialism. Was the New Party actually established by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)? Was the New Party’s platform effectively socialist in content? Although these debates are both interesting and important, we needn’t resolve them to conclude that the New Party was far to the left of the American mainstream. Whether formally socialist or not, the New Party and its ACORN backers favored policies of economic redistribution. As Obama would say, they wanted to spread the wealth around. Bracketing the socialism question and simply taking the New Party on its own terms is sufficient to raise serious questions about Obama’s political commitments — questions that cry out for attention from a responsible press.

In 2002, Micah L. Sifry, a former writer and editor with The Nation magazine, published Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America, a book that contains what is probably our best account of the rise and fall of the New Party. Although Sifry leaves us hanging on the socialism question, his chapter on the New Party is more than enough to raise disturbing questions about Obama’s radicalism, and about his ties to ACORN.

Sifry reports a quip by New Party co-founder, Daniel Cantor: “The shorthand strategy for accomplishing all this is to get the Bruce Springsteen, Lauryn Hill, and Pete Seeger vote united in one party.” The Peter Seeger vote does sound like shorthand for the old-time socialist Left — but also for far-left-leaning baby boomers in general. Bruce Springsteen and Lauryn Hill point to young blacks and whites on the left, perhaps including, but not restricted to, openly socialist sympathizers. In short, the New Party was a mid-1990s effort to build a “progressive” coalition to the left of the Democratic party, uniting left-leaning baby boomers with minorities, relatively militant unionists, and “idealistic” young people.

PARTY WITHIN A PARTY
In contrast to Ralph Nader’s recent third-party campaigns, the New Party’s strategy was to work through “fusion.” Fusion parties were popular in the 19th century. Although these small parties had a separate line on the ballot, they often endorsed one of the major-party candidates. That meant these third parties didn’t have to act as “spoilers” in close elections. Yet by constituting themselves as separate entities and offering their endorsement as bait, fusion parties tended to push the major parties further to the right or the left. We see remnants of the old fusion-party pattern in New York State, where separate Liberal and Conservative parties sometimes shift elections by endorsing one or another major party candidate.

As the New Party’s founders put it, they were looking for a cross between the “party within the party” strategy favored by leftist Democrats and the “plague on both your houses” stance later adopted by the Naderites. That means Obama’s New Party ties place him on the far left end of the Democratic party, arguably with one foot outside and to the left of the party itself.

Does this make Obama “socialist?” Maybe so, but according to Sifry, the vague “New Party” name was chosen precisely to avoid such ideological pigeonholing. Maybe that vagueness was designed to avoid exposing the party as the socialist sympathizer it was. Or maybe the name was a way of avoiding complex internal struggles between competing ideological factions, some socialist and some not. (The answer is “both of the above,” I tend to think.) In any case, the New Party was clearly far to the left of mainstream Democrats, and according to Sifry, the party explicitly thought of itself as made up of committed “progressives,” rather than conventional “liberals.” That is entirely consistent with a famous 1995 profile of Obama by Hank De Zutter, which portrays him as closely tied to ACORN, and holding a world-view well “beyond” his mother’s conventional liberalism.

To get a sense of where the New Party stood politically, consider some of its early supporters: Barbara Dudley of Greenpeace; Steve Cobble, political director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coaltion; prominent academics like Frances Fox Piven, coauthor of the “Cloward-Piven strategy” and a leader of the drive for the “motor-voter” legislation Obama later defended in court on behalf of ACORN; economist Juliet Schor; black historian Manning Marable; historian Howard Zinn; linguist Noam Chomsky; Todd Gitlin; and writers like Gloria Steinem and Barbara Ehrenreich. Socialist? Readers can draw their own conclusions. At one point, Sifry does describe the party’s goals as “social democratic.” In any case, the New Party clearly stands substantially to the left of the mainstream Democratic party.

ACORN CONNECTION
Unquestionably, ACORN was one of the most important forces behind the creation of the New Party. According to Sifry: “Wade Rathke, ACORN’s lead national organizer, was in on the founding discussions that led to the New Party, and the group’s political director, Zach Polett, also came to play a big role in guiding New Party field organizing for the party [in Chicago and Little Rock].” In fact, Sifry portrays ACORN’s leading role in the New Party as the result of a conscious decision by the organization to move into electoral politics in a more substantial way than they had been able to solely through their political action committee. In addition to Rathke and Polett, a key early supporter of the New Party was Obama’s closest ACORN contact, Madeline Talbott.
 


While ACORN played an important founding role for the New Party nationally, ACORN was clearly the main force behind the New Party chapter in Chicago. In general, New Party chapters built around an ACORN nucleus were the most disciplined and successful party outposts. Nationally, the New Party’s biggest wins were in Chicago, very much including Obama’s victory in his 1996 run for the Illinois state senate. Chicago’s New Party was actually formed around two core elements, ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 880. Yet, as Sifry notes, SEIU 880 was itself an ACORN offshoot.

Together ACORN and SEIU 880 were the dominant forces in Chicago’s New Party. True, there was also participation by open socialists, but these were not a majority of New Party organizers. You can certainly argue, as libertarian blogger Trevor Louden has, that whether openly or not, the New Party in Chicago and beyond was effectively socialist. It’s a powerful argument and worthy of consideration. After all, according to Rutgers University political scientist Heidi J. Swarts, ACORN’s leaders see themselves as “a solitary vanguard of principled leftists.” So a party outpost built around ACORN would be a party built around “principled vanguard leftists.” Sounds pretty socialist to me. Yet, as I’ve emphasized, we needn’t resolve the “socialism” question to conclude that the New Party, and particularly its Chicago branch, was far to the left of the Democratic party, and largely under the control of ACORN.

Consider “The People Shall Rule,” a look at some of Chicago ACORN’s electoral efforts co-authored by Madeline Talbott, Obama’s closest ACORN contact and a key New Party supporter. In describing former Chicago ACORN leader Ted Thomas’s successful run for alderman, Talbott stresses that, even after election, Thomas retained his ACORN ties. Thomas was invited to retain his seat on ACORN’s Chicago board, ACORN members continued to treat him as a leader, and Thomas continued to brainstorm and strategize with ACORN’s other organizers. Talbott is so busy detailing Thomas’s continued links to ACORN that she doesn’t even bother to mention that Thomas actually ran on behalf of the New Party. (See “NP Chair elected to Chicago City Council.”)

As so often with ACORN, technically separate organizations are often relatively meaningless designations for different branches of ACORN itself. And in Chicago, the New Party was very much an ACORN-dominated operation. Ted Thomas was a city alderman, de facto ACORN leader, and New Party chair all at once. So Obama’s ties to the New Party represent yet another important, and still unacknowledged, link between Obama and ACORN.

We already know that Obama’s ties to ACORN’s Madeline Talbott ran deep. Less known is that Obama’s links to Chicago ACORN/New Party leader Ted Thomas were also strong. Thomas was one of a handful of aldermen who stood with Obama in his unsuccessful 2000 race for Congress against Bobby Rush. Obama is also had long-standing ties to SEIU Local 880, an ACORN union spin-off and a bulwark of Chicago’s New Party. In his 2004 race for the Democratic Senate nomination, SEIU Local 880 strongly endorsed Obama, citing his long history of support for the group.

REVEALING TIE
So the fact that Obama received the New Party’s endorsement in his first run for office in 1995-96 cannot be dismissed as insignificant. On the contrary, Obama’s ties to the New Party, and the New Party’s backers at ACORN (often the very same people), are long-standing, substantial, and reveal a great deal about his personal political allegiances. Because it was a fusion party, the New Party did not require that all the candidates it endorsed be members. Yet the New Party’s endorsements were carefully targeted. There was no attempt to endorse candidates in every race, or even to set up nationwide chapters. Carefully selected races in carefully targeted cities were seized upon — and only when the candidate fit the profile of a decidedly left-leaning progressive Democrat. In this way, the New Party set out to form a hard-left “party within a party” among the Democrats.

More than this, we now have substantial evidence that Obama himself was in fact a New Party member. We even have a photograph of Obama appearing with other successful New Party candidates. Clearly, then, it is more than fair to identify Obama with the hard-left stance of the New Party and its ACORN backers. In her recent study of ACORN and the Gamaliel Foundation, the two groups of community organizers to which Obama was closest, Heidi Swarts describes their core ideology as “redistributionist.” Joe the Plumber take note. Whether formally socialist or not, Obama ties with ACORN and its New Party political arm show that spreading your wealth around has long been his ultimate goal.

All this means that Barack Obama is far from the post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist he pretends to be. On the contrary, Obama’s ideological home is substantially to the left of the Democratic-party mainstream, so far to the left that he has one foot planted outside the party itself. And since the New Party Chicago was essentially an electoral arm of ACORN, Obama’s New Party tie, is yet another example of his deep links to the far-left militant organizers of that group. Obama’s account of his limited ties to ACORN in the third debate was clearly not truthful. Likewise, his earlier denials of ties to ACORN have fallen apart.

At what point will the press force Obama to own up to the full extent of his ties to ACORN? At what point will the press demand a full accounting of Obama’s ties to the New Party? At what point will the depth of Obama’s redistributionist economic stance be acknowledged? Barack Obama is hiding the truth about his political past, and the press is playing along.

— Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
 
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« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2008, 03:03:30 PM »

WOW! Even CNN is on ACORN's case!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkUKOSnv2zY
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« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2008, 11:35:41 PM »

pasted from the Obama Phen. thread:
===========================

DANIEL J. FLYNN
Obama: The Oak Grown from Acorn
The radical group is front and center when it comes to voter fraud.
16 October 2008
Stealing Elections, Revised and Updated: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, by John Fund (Encounter, 175 pp., $19.95)

Last week, well before news broke today of an FBI voter-fraud investigation of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (Acorn), Nevada authorities raided the group’s Las Vegas headquarters. The offices of Nevada’s secretary of state and attorney general, both Democrats, seized computers, voter-registration cards, and employee information after Acorn submitted numerous fraudulent names and addresses as part of its voter-registration drive. “Some of these [forms] were facially fraudulent; we basically had the starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys,” Ross Miller, Nevada’s secretary of state, explained. “Tony Romo is not registered to vote in Nevada.” Acorn’s Project Vote alleges that the raid is part of a nationally orchestrated effort to suppress voter turnout. “Project Vote has been attacked all over the country because we registered at least 1.2 million voters,” theorizes Nevada Acorn’s Bonnie Smith-Greathouse. “That could sway an election.”

And that’s just the point, argues John Fund in the updated and timely reissue of his Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. Fund contends that recent changes in election laws have made it easier to “sway an election,” as Smith-Greathouse puts it—through cheating. “The United States has a haphazard, fraud-prone election system befitting a developing nation rather than the globe’s leading democracy,” Fund asserts. At times, Fund’s subject seems more fitting for a magazine exposé than for a book—until one confronts the sheer volume of examples he has compiled. Like a portrait of corruption from a century prior, Lincoln Steffens’s Shame of the Cities, Fund’s Stealing Elections adopts a muckraking style and spotlights a national problem by illuminating it on a city-by-city basis.

In the name of making every vote count, efforts to expand the electorate have resulted in tallying votes that shouldn’t be considered and negating valid votes. Over a century’s worth of reforms designed to protect the concept of “one man, one vote” have been undermined in just a few decades. Fund points out that most states now allow voters to obtain absentee ballots without establishing a need (such as status as a student, soldier, or diplomat, or showing that one would be out of state on Election Day). One state, Oregon, has eliminated polling places entirely. The raison d’être of the secret ballot—to protect the public from having votes bought or coerced—is thus discarded.

Same-day registration, which backers argue further democratizes elections, is, according to Stealing Elections, “not a reform at all but an added opportunity for mischief”—such as vote buying. The comical scheme of an Al Gore–supporting New York socialite offering free cigarettes to homeless Milwaukeeans in exchange for votes could only occur in a state with same-day registration. Voters registering multiple times under the Motor Voter law, some liberals’ hostility toward poll workers checking government-issued identifications, and lawyers invading locales with election disputes—all increase the chances that legitimate votes will wind up cast aside or canceled out by illegitimate ones.

Stealing Elections overflows with examples of electoral shenanigans. The controversial 2004 Democratic primary, for instance, in which Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar unseated Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, ran rife with peculiarities that affected the outcome. While Rodriguez boasted a slim 126-vote lead on election night, the recount in Zapata County turned up a missing ballot box with 304 votes, four-fifths of them for Cuellar. “Webb County reported that their recount came up with 115 more votes than they had first reported,” Fund writes. “Cuellar won every one of the newly discovered votes.” In San Antonio, an area the challenger carried decisively, election officials discovered voter-registration applications for 42 dead people.

On election night that same year, Washington State voters elected Republican Dino Rossi over Democrat Christine Gregoire. On Christmas Eve, state lawyers overturned the election after a third recount. “Nearly 2,000 more votes were counted in King County than the number of individual voters who appeared on the list of those who had cast a ballot,” Fund reports. In one Seattle precinct—where most of the voters had curiously registered just that past year—70 percent of voters listed a government administration building as their residential address. Election officials found hundreds of “lost” ballots, accepted the votes of hundreds of ineligible felons, and, in a few instances, counted the votes of those residing in graveyards. One ballot punched for Gregoire but listing Rossi in the “write-in” line was strangely added in the recount to the totals for Gregoire. Given the strange methodology employed by ballot counters, it’s not surprising that Gregoire is now Washington’s governor.

In St. Louis, dogs join the dead on the election rolls. In 2000, voters nationwide let out a collective gasp in the waning hours of Election Day. Lawyers for Jesse Jackson and Al Gore convinced judges in St. Louis to keep polls open in selected African-American neighborhoods, altering election law by extending voting hours for those most likely to support Gore. Along with the discovery of a voting machine in an abandoned lot the day after the election, and the revelation that 56,000 St. Louis voters had registered multiple times, Missouri voters also learned that “Robert Odom”—on whose behalf Gore-Lieberman lawyers had successfully sued to keep the polls open—had voted in the early afternoon, before the court order extending poll-closure times was issued. The lawsuit was clearly premeditated, as the evidence of computerized phone banks, all-too-ready with a get-out-the-vote message, made clear. The exclamation point to the Show Me State’s 2000 horror show was provided by Ritzy, the 13-year-old spaniel who had been on the voter rolls for eight years.

A common thread in many of the cases that Fund spotlights is the shadowy presence of Acorn. Two and a half years after the debacle in Seattle, Washington’s attorney general indicted seven Acorn workers for their role in what he called “the worst case of voter registration fraud” in the state’s history. In St. Louis, eight Acorn workers pled guilty to election fraud this past April. On the other side of Missouri, in 2006, four Kansas City Acorn workers were indicted after officials deemed nearly 15,000 of their 35,000 registrations phony.

In the mid-nineties, Barack Obama ran Acorn’s Project Vote campaign in Illinois. He sued the state of Illinois on the group’s behalf in 1995 to implement the Motor Voter law. “After he joined the board of the Woods Fund,” Stealing Elections notes, “Obama saw to it that substantial grants were given to Acorn.” Senator Obama has championed Acorn’s legislative priorities in Congress. His presidential campaign even donated more than $800,000 to Acorn. Obama is the oak grown from Acorn, a group so proud of its association that it boasts “Obama Organizing Fellows” and runs a “Camp Obama” training event. While Acorn boasts of its Obama association, the candidate, of course, is more reticent. That’s because he well knows that many non-dead, non-animal voters would not find a close association with such a group a desirable quality in a potential president.

“Once a community organizer, then a foundation grant-maker, and now a lobbyist for direct government funding, Barack Obama has been with Acorn throughout his career,” Fund writes. “In return, Acorn is pledging to spend $35 million this year registering voters—both real and fictive. Should Obama become president, look for Acorn to have a vastly more ambitious legislative agenda, and for Obama to be responsive.” Acorn, in other words, has a lot riding on Tony Romo voting early, often, and everywhere.

Daniel J. Flynn is the author of A Conservative History of the American Left. (Crown Forum, 2008).

http://www.city-journal.org/2008/bc1016df.html
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« Reply #36 on: October 24, 2008, 01:05:36 PM »

Whatever It Takes, Part Two

ACORN, the troubled left-wing activist group, has new headaches. Yesterday Michael Slater, head of its Project Vote, admitted that some 400,000 of its claimed 1.3 million newly registered voters were rejected by election officials as either duplicates or fraudulent -- i.e. it doesn't sound as if ACORN's vaunted "quality control" efforts were all that effective.

Some reasons why may be exposed next week in a lawsuit filed by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in state court. The Web site PolitickerPA reports that Anita Moncrief, an ACORN worker in Washington D.C. from 2005 to 2008, will testify that the group engaged in "minimal to non-existent" checking of its voter registration work during her time with Project Vote.

The Republican suit, filed by Pittsburgh attorney Heather Heidelbaugh, demands that the Pennsylvania Secretary of State follow federal law requiring that first-time voters using an absentee ballot show some form of identification. It also seeks to have ACORN turn over its voter registration lists, identify registrants who signed up fraudulently and instruct them not to vote.

-- John Fund
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« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2008, 03:12:56 PM »

Registering Doubt
If we can nationalize banks, why not our election process?
By Richard L. Hasen
Posted Monday, Oct. 27, 2008, at 4:03 PM ET

Like our financial system, our voter registration system needs a federal government bailout. Before the election, while the public and press are still paying attention, we should get both presidential candidates to commit to a more sensible, secure, and universal voter registration process.

When it comes to charges of "voter fraud" and "vote suppression," each election is worse than the last. This year, John McCain has claimed that some fraudulent voter registration cards turned in by ACORN employees threatened the "fabric of democracy." The Obama campaign has sent letters to Attorney General Michael Mukasey accusing Republicans of deliberately trying to suppress the vote. And the Ohio Republican Party is battling the Ohio secretary of state—in litigation that's already made it to the Supreme Court—over mismatches between voter registration and motor-vehicle-department databases. Now House Minority Leader John Boehner wants the Department of Justice to get involved to stop voter fraud. That went so well last time, so why not?

These charges and countercharges are the real danger to the fabric of our democracy. If people are not convinced their votes will be accurately counted, they are more likely to view election results as illegitimate and, therefore, the government less worthy of our respect and willingness to abide by the rule of law.

What can be done about it? Though there are many things that can be done to improve our election system—from nonpartisan election administration, to a uniform ballot design for federal elections, to improvements in our voting machinery—the most urgent fix is needed for our system of voter registration.

Right now, voter registration takes place primarily on the county level, and it requires a lot of effort on the part of outside groups such as ACORN, the political parties, and others. These groups sometimes work with volunteers, but more often than not they pay people to collect voter registration forms.

This is where a lot of the registration fraud comes from. Even for workers not paid by the card, a low-wage worker doing voter registration may be tempted to falsify information to keep his or her job, going so far as to register names in the phone book or cartoon characters. (This is why registration fraud does not lead to actual election fraud: These false names are not part of any effort to get thousands of people to the polls claiming to be someone else to vote for a candidate whose supporters cannot verify how anyone at the polling place has voted.)

The New York Times recently reported that ACORN turned in about 400,000 registration cards that were duplicates, incomplete, or fraudulent. And in California, a Republican-leaning group has been accused of changing Democratic registrants to a Republican affiliation without their permission. Why not, when they were paid $7 to $12 for each Republican registration?

The solution is to take the job of voter registration for federal elections out of the hands of third parties (and out of the hands of the counties and states) and give it to the federal government. The Constitution grants Congress wide authority over congressional elections. The next president should propose legislation to have the Census Bureau, when it conducts the 2010 census, also register all eligible voters who wish to be registered for future federal elections. High-school seniors could be signed up as well so that they would be registered to vote on their 18th birthday. When people submit change-of-address cards to the post office, election officials would also change their registration information.

This change would eliminate most voter registration fraud. Government employees would not have an incentive to pad registration lists with additional people in order to keep their jobs. The system would also eliminate the need for matches between state databases, a problem that has proved so troublesome because of the bad quality of the data. The federal government could assign each person a unique voter-identification number, which would remain the same regardless of where the voter moves. The unique ID would prevent people from voting in two jurisdictions, such as snowbirds who might be tempted to vote in Florida and New York. States would not have to use the system for their state and local elections, but most would choose to do so because of the cost savings.

There's something in this for both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats talk about wanting to expand the franchise, and there's no better way to do it than the way most mature democracies do it: by having the government register voters. For Republicans serious about ballot integrity, this should be a winner as well. No more ACORN registration drives, and no more concerns about Democratic secretaries of state not aggressively matching voters enough to motor vehicle databases.

Finally, universal voter registration is good for the country, not only because it will make it easier for those who wish to vote to do so, but because it should end controversy over ballot integrity that threatens to undermine the legitimacy of our election process. If President McCain or Obama makes this a priority, we can have the system ready in time for the president's re-election.
Richard L. Hasen, the William H. Hannon distinguished professor at Loyola Law School, writes the Election Law Blog.
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« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2008, 07:19:15 AM »

An interesting idea SB.

Here's more on ACORN and BO:

WSJ

Acorn, the liberal "community organizing" group that claims it will deploy 15,000 get-out-the-vote workers on Election Day, can't stay out of the news.

The FBI is investigating its voter registration efforts in several states, amid allegations that almost a third of the 1.3 million cards it turned in are invalid. And yesterday, a former employee of Acorn testified in a Pennsylvania state court that the group's quality-control efforts were "minimal or nonexistent" and largely window dressing. Anita MonCrief also says that Acorn was given lists of potential donors by several Democratic presidential campaigns, including that of Barack Obama, to troll for contributions.

The Obama campaign denies it "has any ties" to Acorn, but Mr. Obama's ties are extensive. In 1992 he headed a registration effort for Project Vote, an Acorn partner at the time. He did so well that he was made a top trainer for Acorn's Chicago conferences. In 1995, he represented Acorn in a key case upholding the constitutionality of the new Motor Voter Act -- the first law passed by the Clinton administration -- which created the mandated, nationwide postcard voter registration system that Acorn workers are using to flood election offices with bogus registrations.

Ms. MonCrief testified that in November 2007 Project Vote development director Karyn Gillette told her she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and had obtained their donor lists. Ms. MonCrief also testified she was given a spreadsheet to use in cultivating Obama donors who had maxed out on donations to the candidate, but who could contribute to voter registration efforts. Project Vote calls the allegation "absolutely false."

She says that when she had trouble with what appeared to be duplicate names on the list, Ms. Gillette told her she would talk with the Obama campaign and get a better version. Ms. MonCrief has given me copies of the donor lists she says were obtained from other Democratic campaigns, as well as the 2004 DNC donor lists.

In her testimony, Ms. MonCrief says she was upset by Acorn's "Muscle for Money" program, which she said intimidated businesses Acorn opposed into paying "protection" money in the form of grants. Acorn's Brian Kettering says the group only wants to change corporate behavior: "Acorn is proud of its corporate campaigns to stop abuses of working families."

Ms. MonCrief, 29, never expected to testify in a case brought by the state's Republican Party seeking the local Acorn affiliate's voter registration lists. An idealistic graduate of the University of Alabama, she joined Project Vote in 2005 because she thought it was empowering poor people. A strategic consultant for Acorn and a development associate with its Project Vote voter registration affiliate, Ms. MonCrief sat in on policy-making meetings with the national staff. She was fired early this year over personal expenses she had put on the group's credit card.

She says she became disillusioned because she saw that Acorn was run as the personal fiefdom of Wade Rathke, who founded the group in 1970 and ran it until he stepped down to take over its international operations this summer. Mr. Rathke's departure as head of Acorn came after revelations he'd employed his brother Dale for a decade while keeping from almost all of Acorn's board members the fact that Dale had embezzled over $1 million from the group a decade ago. (The embezzlement was confirmed to me by an Acorn official.)

"Anyone who questioned what was going on was viewed as the enemy," Ms. MonCrief told me. "Just like the mob, no one leaves Acorn happily." She believes the organization does some good but hopes its current leadership is replaced. She may not be alone.

Last August two of Acorn's eight dissident board members, Marcel Reed and Karen Inman, filed suit demanding access to financial records of Citizens Consulting Inc., the umbrella group through which most of Acorn's money flows. Ms. Inman told a news conference this month Mr. Rathke still exercises power over CCI and Acorn against the board's wishes. Bertha Lewis, the interim head of Acorn, told me Mr. Rathke has no ties to Acorn and that the dissident board members were "obsessed" and "confused."

According to public records, the IRS filed three tax liens totaling almost $1 million against Acorn this spring. Also this spring, CCI was paid $832,000 by the Obama campaign for get-out-the-vote efforts in key primary states. In filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Obama campaign listed the payments as "staging, sound, lighting," only correcting the filings after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review revealed their true nature.

"Acorn needs a full forensic audit," Ms. MonCrief says, though she doesn't think that's likely. "Everyone wants to paper things over until later," she says. "But it may be too late to reform Acorn then." She strongly supports Barack Obama and hopes his allies can be helpful in cleaning up the group "after the heat of the election is gone."

Acorn's Mr. Kettering says the GOP lawsuit "is designed to suppress legitimate voters," and he says Ms. MonCrief isn't credible, given that she was fired for cause. Ms. MonCrief admits that she left after she began paying back some $3,000 in personal expenses she charged on an Acorn credit card. "I was very sorry, and I was paying it back," she says, but "suddenly Acorn decided that . . . I had to go. Since then I have gotten warnings to 'back off' from people at Acorn."

Acorn insists it operates with strict quality controls, turning in, as required by law, all registration forms "even if the name on them was Donald Duck," as Wade Rathke told me two years ago. Acorn whistleblowers tell a different story.

"There's no quality control on purpose, no checks and balances," says Nate Toler, who worked until 2006 as the head organizer of an Acorn campaign against Wal-Mart in California. And Ms. MonCrief says it is longstanding practice to blame bogus registrations on lower-level employees who then often face criminal charges, a practice she says Acorn internally calls "throwing folks under the bus."

Gregory Hall, a former Acorn employee, says he was told on his very first day in 2006 to engage in deceptive fund-raising tactics. Mr. Hall has founded a group called Speaking Truth to Power to push for a full airing of Acorn's problems "so the group can heal itself from within."

To date, Mr. Obama has declined to criticize Acorn, telling reporters this month he is happy with his own get-out-the-vote efforts and that "we don't need Acorn's help." That may be true. But there is no denying his ties with Acorn helped turbocharge his political career.

Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.
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« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2008, 11:02:39 AM »

Well this isn't acorn but it is about election fraud which is synonymous.

BOs aunt not only living here illegally in public housing but as a non citizen she is illegally donating money to his campaign.

Yet Geraldo Rivera is outraged anyone has the discriminatinory nerve to question why we are not kicking out illegals.

***According to Federal Election Commission documents filed by the Obama campaign, Onyango has contributed $260 to Obama over a period of time. Under federal election law, only U.S. citizens or green-card holders are legally permitted to give money to campaigns. Onyango, who listed her employer as the Boston Housing Authority, gave in small increments to the Obama campaign. Her latest contribution was $5 on Sept. 19.

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« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2008, 07:25:33 AM »

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=5FF874F9-18FE-70B2-A89977D364B3A669

Falsified registrations become votes
By: John Fund
November 2, 2008 09:38 PM EST

The liberal "community organizing" group ACORN became a campaign issue last month after Nevada's Democratic attorney general and its Democratic secretary of state teamed up to conduct a highly visible raid of the group's Las Vegas offices. They seized files on what could be thousands of fraudulent voter registrations.

After ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, complained the raid was a "stunt" designed to hinder its efforts at minority registration, Larry Lomax, the chief elections officer in Las Vegas, responded that the group's claims it had extensive quality controls to catch fraudulent registrations were "pathetic." He noted that ACORN had hired 59 inmates from a work-release program at a nearby prison and that some inmates who had been convicted of identity theft had been made supervisors. That led some local wags to joke that at least ACORN was hiring specialists to do their work.

ACORN's second line of defense has been that fraudulent registrations can't turn into fraudulent votes, as if the felony of polluting voter lists was somehow not all that serious. But that defense goes only a short distance. "How would you know if people using fake names had cast votes in states without strict ID laws?" says GOP Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who this year won a major Supreme Court case upholding his state's photo identification law. "It's almost impossible to detect and once the fraudulent voter leaves the precinct or casts an absentee ballot, that vote is thrown in with other secret ballots there's no way to trace it."

Anita MonCrief, an ACORN whistle-blower who worked for both it and its Project Vote registration affiliate from 2005 until early this year, agrees. "It's ludicrous to say that fake registrations can't become fraudulent votes," she told me. "I assure you that if you can get them on the rolls you can get them to vote, especially using absentee ballots." MonCrief, a 29-year old University of Alabama graduate who wanted to become part of the civil rights movement, worked as a strategic consultant for ACORN as well as a development associate with Project Vote and sat in on meetings with the national staffs of both groups. She has given me documents that back up many of her statements, including one that indicates that the goal of ACORN's New Mexico affiliate was that only 40 percent of its submitted registrations had to be valid.

MonCrief also told me that some ACORN affiliates had a conscious strategy of flooding voter registration offices with suspect last-minute forms in part to create confusion and chaos that would make it more likely suspect voters would be allowed to cast ballots by overworked officials. Nate Toller, who worked on ACORN registration drives and headed an ACORN campaign against Wal-Mart in California until 2006, agrees. "There's no quality control on purpose, no checks and balances," he told me.

There are already documented examples of fraudulent registrations being converted into fraudulent votes in Ohio, where ACORN and other groups were active. Darrell Nash, an ACORN registration worker, submitted an illegal form for himself and then cast a paper ballot during the state's "early voting" period.

Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien also cracked down in the case of 13 out-of-state registrants who came to Ohio to register voters in Columbus for the group Vote From Home. The group all lived out of the same rented 1,175-square-foot house in Ohio, registered to vote and then most of them either cast early voting ballots or submitted applications for absentee ballots before leaving the state. They have agreed to have all of their ballots canceled in exchange for the prosecutor's decision not to file charges.

The Columbus Dispatch reported last month that "none of them seems to have ties to Ohio" — and apparently had no intention of staying there. One has even moved back to England, where he is a student. It is illegal in almost all states to vote somewhere that is not your permanent residence.

The owner of the house the fraudulent voters stayed at is also under investigation. He has voted in Ohio even though he has lived and worked in New York for the past four years.

Many are concerned that other fraudulent votes could be cast in Ohio.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner admits that some 200,000 newly registered Ohio voters have been flagged by her office because their names, addresses, driver's license numbers, and/or Social Security numbers don't match other state or federal records. She is refusing to release the information on those registrants to county election boards that have requested them for the purpose of running further checks. Ms. Brunner was elected in 2006 with the support of ACORN, and indeed her campaign consultant that year was Karyn Gillette, who happened to be MonCrief's immediate superior at ACORN's Project Vote.

"I'd be very suspicious of what is going on in Ohio," MonCrief told me.

Other states provide other examples. Marybeth Brehany of Sioux City, Iowa, filed a sworn affidavit stating that she has discovered that several individuals unknown to her had registered to vote at her address. One of them, a David Loepp, had already requested and received an absentee ballot at his new address in, of all places, Rome, Italy. A 2005 Tennessee state Senate race was voided after evidence of voting by felons, nonresidents and the deceased who had been registered illegally. A Washington State Superior Court judge found that the state's 2004 gubernatorial race, which Democrat Christine Gregoire won by 133 votes, had included at least 1,678 illegal votes.

Perhaps the clearest look at how fraudulent registrations can be converted into votes comes from Wisconsin. Earlier this year, the Milwaukee Police Department's Special Investigation Unit released a stunning 67-page report detailing an "illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome" of the 2004 presidential election.

It noted many documented cases of staffers for a presidential campaign and an allied 527 group who illegally voted. Those involved in the scheme "represent multiple levels of both the organizations, from upper management to the street level canvassers." The task force report found many ineligible voters had cast ballots, ineligible felons not only had voted but also worked at the polls, transient college students had cast illegal votes along with day-trippers from nearby Chicago, and homeless voters may well have voted more than once.

The Milwaukee police report explained just how easy it is to cast an illegal vote without ever being detected., "Michael A. Smith can become Mike Smith, M.A. Smith, or Mickey Smith, depending on the person reviewing the Same Day registration card, and unless a specific allegation is made against one of those name variants, the new name would just be added to the overall database. Even if the new system were capable of discerning the differences in recorded names, the finding would not be discovered until after any multiple ballots had been cast and recorded." Indeed, the task force found that 1,100 registration cards filled in by voters were declared invalid or untraceable by election officials.

Another way that fraudulent registrations can be converted into illegal votes is when groups like ACORN either purposely or recklessly sign up visitors from out-of-state or felons who are ineligible to vote. The New York Daily News reported in August, 2004 on how some 46,000 New Yorkers are registered to vote in both the city and Florida, what it called a "shocking finding" because it "found that between 400 and 1,000 registered voters have voted twice in at least one election, a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine," and noted that "efforts to prevent people from registering in more than one state rely mostly on the honor system."

Last month, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported that some 5,000 felons who do not have the right to vote have apparently voted in recent elections in Florida. Their illegal registrations turned into actual votes. The Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post had similar findings in May 2001 on the presidential election held the year previously. Reporters have found that that the number of illegal felon registrations that were cast that year was greater than the number of valid voters dropped from the voter rolls and thus blocked from voting. The Florida presidential vote — and the presidency — was decided in 2000 by only 537 votes.

Even if the problem of voter fraud caused by voter impersonation isn't as serious as some fear, Stuart Taylor of the National Journal notes that "polls show voters increasingly distrust the integrity of the electoral process." He also cites a 2006 NBC/Wall Street Journal nationwide poll which found that, by 80 percent to 7 percent, those surveyed supported voters showing "a valid photo identification." The idea had overwhelming support among all races and income groups.

That sweeping support helps explain why, in 2005, 18 of 21 members of a bipartisan federal commission headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker came out in support of photo ID requirements more stringent than Indiana's. "Voters in nearly 100 democracies use a photo identification card without fear of infringement on their rights," the commission stated.

Carter feels strongly about voter fraud. In his book, "Turning Point," he wrote of his race for Georgia state Senate in 1962, which involved a corrupt local sheriff who had cast votes for the dead. It took a recount and court intervention before Carter was declared the winner.

He and other supporters of stricter safeguards to protect voter integrity recognize there are two civil rights in play here. One is the right to cast a ballot without fear or intimidation or artificial barriers. We fought a great struggle in the 1960s to eliminate poll taxes, literacy tests and pass a Voting Rights Act to protect the right to vote. But all Americans have another civil right — the right not to have their ballot canceled out by someone who shouldn't be voting, is voting twice or may not even exist. You can be just as surely disenfranchised by someone canceling out your vote as if someone blocked your entry into a courthouse door where a polling place was located.

As Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, puts it: "From voter fraud to election chicanery of all kinds, America teeters on the edge of scandal every November. Unless we take serious steps at reform, sooner or later we're headed for more disasters as bad or worse than what we saw in Florida in 2000."

That's why the activities of groups like ACORN have to be taken seriously, and why a robust debate needs to be held on how we can protect both the civil right to vote and the civil right to be protected from voter fraud.

John Fund is a columnist with the Wall Street Journal's website and the author of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy."
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« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2008, 02:28:39 PM »

http://townhall.com/blog/g/cf47766b-...7-ce60631bcadc

GOP Election Board members have been tossed out of polling stations in at least half a dozen polling stations in Philadelphia because of their party status.

A Pennsylvania judge previously ruled that court-appointed poll watchers could be NOT removed from their boards by an on-site election judge, but that is exactly what is happening, according to sources on the ground.

It is the duty of election board workers to monitor and guard the integrity of the voting process.

Denying access to the minority (in this case Republican) poll watchers and inspectors is a violation of Pennsylvania state law. Those who violate the law can be punished with a misdemeanor and subjected to a fine of $1,000 and sent to prison between one month and two years.

Those on site are describing the situation as "pandemonium" and there may be video coming of the chaos.

Some of the precincts where Republicans have been removed are: the 44th Ward, 12th and 13th divisions; 6th Ward, 12th division; 32nd Ward, Division 28.

“Election board officials guard the legitimacy of the election process and the idea that Republicans are being intimidated and banned for partisan purposes does not allow for an honest and open election process,” said McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt in a statement to Townhall.

The City of Brotherly Love was roiled in controversy during the 2004 election because of rigged voting machines that showed nearly 2,000 votes for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry before the polls had opened. A man also used a gun to intimidate poll workers at Ward 30, division 11 in 2004.

Update: Fox News just did a report about the controversy. The Democrats are saying that the polling station is crowded and election board members need to cycle through the areas intermittently.

Update 10:53am: Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes says this matter is already being heard in court and should be resolved soon. He says there was a dispute of the names of the poll watchers on record. This is a different story than the Democratic officials told Fox News earlier this morning.
=======

Possible voter intimidation in Philadelphia:

http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=213103
==========

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neGbKHyGuHU

=======
The police arrive:

http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=213313&widget=1
« Last Edit: November 04, 2008, 04:33:57 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2008, 09:40:16 PM »

Milwaukee Puts a Vote-Fraud Cop Out of Business
Local Democrats don't take the issue seriously.By JOHN FUNDArticle
 
Last week Mike Sandvick, head of the Milwaukee Police Department's five-man Special Investigative Unit, was told by superiors not to send anyone to polling places on Election Day. He was also told his unit -- which wrote the book on how fraud could subvert the vote in his hometown -- would be disbanded.

"We know what to look for," he told me, "and that scares some people." In disgust, Mr. Sandvick plans to retire. (A police spokeswoman claims the unit isn't being disbanded and that any changes to the unit "aren't significant.")

In February, Mr. Sandvick's unit released a 67-page report on what it called an "illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of (the 2004) election in the state of Wisconsin" -- a swing state whose last two presidential races were decided by less than 12,000 votes.

The report found that between 4,600 and 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; and homeless voters possibly voted more than once.

Much of the problem resulted from Wisconsin's same-day voter law, which allows anyone to show up at the polls, register and then cast a ballot. ID requirements are minimal. If someone lacks any ID, he can vote so long as someone who lives in the same city vouches for him. The report found that in 2004 a total of 1,305 "same day" voters gave information that was declared "un-enterable" or invalid by election officials.

According to the report, this loophole was abused by many out-of-state workers for the John Kerry campaign. They had "other staff members who were registered voters vouch for them by corroborating their residency."

The investigative unit believed at least 16 workers from the Kerry campaign, and two allied get-out-the-vote groups, "committed felony crimes." But local prosecutors didn't pursue them in part because of a "lack of confidence" in the abysmal record-keeping of the city's Election Commission.

Pat Curley, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's chief of staff, told me he was very upset by the surprise release of the report. "I don't believe all of the facts are necessarily accurate," he said. Which ones? He only cited the report's interpretation of state policy on homeless voters. He denies the mayor's office had any role in disbanding the unit.

Mr. Sandvick says the problems his unit found in 2004 are "only the tip of the iceberg" of what could happen today. His unit has found out-of-state groups registering their temporary workers, a college dorm with 60 voters who aren't students, and what his unit believes are seven illegal absentee ballots.

In Opinion Journal today
REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Legal Side EffectsHugo Chávez's Bag ManGuantanamo Revelation

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

Global View – From 9/11 to 11/4Main Street – A Social Democrat Confronts Globalization

COMMENTARY

We Could Be in for a Lurch to the Left – Fred BarnesFive Myths About the Great Depression – Andrew B. WilsonSome Lessons of the Financial Crisis – Stephen SchwarzmanMilwaukee Puts a Vote-Fraud Cop Out of Business – John Fund"The time to stop voter fraud is prior to when the questionable ballot is mixed in with all the valid votes," he says. Former police captain Glenn Frankovis agrees: "This issue could be solved if [the police chief] would assign police officers to the polling locations as was customary about 20 years ago." But election monitors are now viewed as "intimidating" in minority precincts and have been withdrawn.

Mr. Sandvick's report concluded "the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of the fraud" it found would be elimination of same-day voter registration (which is also in use in seven other states). It also suggested that voters present a photo ID at the polls, a requirement the U.S. Supreme Court declared constitutional this spring.

But weeks after the vote fraud report was released, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold introduced federal legislation to mandate same-day registration in every state. He claimed the system had worked well in Wisconsin and if "we can bring more people into the process, [it] only strengthens our democracy." Democrats tell me his bill is a top priority of the new Congress.

"They say voter fraud isn't a problem," notes Mr. Sandvick, "but after this election it may be all too clear it is." Now that Mr. Sandvick is resigning from the force after a long, honorable career, let's hope someone else is allowed to follow up on the spadework he's done.

Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2008, 08:18:41 AM »

Diebold Finally Admits its Voting Machines Drop Votes



Premier Election Solutions, formerly called Diebold Election Systems,
has finally admitted that a ten-year-old error has caused votes to be
dropped.

It's unclear if this error is random or systematic.  If it's random -- a
small percentage of all votes are dropped -- then it is highly unlikely
that this affected the outcome of any election.  If it's systematic -- a
small percentage of votes for a particular candidate are dropped -- then
it is much more problematic.

Ohio is trying to sue.

In other news, election officials sometimes take voting machines home
for the night.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082208-e-voting-vendor-programming-errors-caused.html
or http://tinyurl.com/69wzb2
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/26/decade_old_evoting_error/
http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/23/diebold-comes-clean-admits-that-its-e-voting-machines-are-fault/
or http://tinyurl.com/5fxkdp
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/08/21/ohio_voting_machines_contained.html
or http://tinyurl.com/57ckcu
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/election2008/story/48508.html

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/19/mom-can-my-voting-machine-spend-the-night/index.html
or http://tinyurl.com/6jtxze

My 2004 essay on election technology:
http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0411.html#1
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« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2008, 08:55:18 AM »

I bet ACORN is pissed that it worked so hard to fix the election when it turns out it didn't have to. 
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« Reply #45 on: November 12, 2008, 11:05:18 AM »

Although this is from the NYT, it seems a fair point:
=======================
That’s Two for Me
Published: November 11, 2008

We’ve all heard of close elections. But consider the strange (and outrageous) case of the 2006 City Council election in Anamosa, Iowa.

According to census figures, Anamosa’s Ward 2 has nearly 1,400 residents, about the same as the town’s other three wards. The problem is that 1,300 of the ward’s “residents” are inmates of the Anamosa State Penitentiary. Minus the prisoners, Ward 2 has only 58 actual residents. A councilman won his election to represent the ward with two write-in votes: one from his wife and one from a neighbor.

While Anamosa’s case is extreme, the phenomenon is not. It is called prison-based gerrymandering when politicians draw legislative districts around prisons and count inmates — who are denied the vote in all but two states — as residents.

At the state level, prison-based gerrymandering exaggerates the political power of the mainly rural districts where prisons are built. And it dilutes the power of the mainly urban districts where inmates come from and to which they nearly always return. But as the Anamosa case shows, this kind of gerrymandering is also a problem within cities and towns.

Anamosa’s voters were so outraged that they have passed a referendum that will require its City Council members to be elected at large beginning in 2009. And other states and localities are beginning to wake up to the problem. But a study by the Prison Policy Initiative, an advocacy group, has found 21 counties across the nation where at least one in five people counted as residents were actually prison inmates.

The ideal solution would be for the United States Census Bureau to count prison inmates, not as residents of prisons, but at their actual home addresses. Until the bureau gets around to that, state and local lawmakers should make sure that prisoners are excluded from the population counts when legislative districts are drawn. The current arrangement undermines the most basic democratic principle of one person, one vote.

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« Reply #46 on: November 12, 2008, 11:17:56 AM »

Second post:

WSJ

You'd think Democrats would be content with last week's electoral rout. But judging from the odd doings in Minnesota, some in their party wouldn't mind adding to their jackpot by stealing a Senate seat for left-wing joker Al Franken.

 
AP
Al Franken.
When Minnesotans woke up last Wednesday, Republican Senator Norm Coleman led Mr. Franken by 725 votes. By that evening, he was ahead by only 477. As of yesterday, Mr. Coleman's margin stood at 206. This lopsided bleeding of Republican votes is passing strange considering that the official recount hasn't even begun.

The vanishing Coleman vote came during a week in which election officials are obliged to double-check their initial results. Minnesota is required to do these audits, and it isn't unusual for officials to report that they transposed a number here or there. In a normal audit, these mistakes could be expected to cut both ways. Instead, nearly every "fix" has gone for Mr. Franken, in some cases under strange circumstances.

For example, there was Friday night's announcement by Minneapolis's director of elections that she'd forgotten to count 32 absentee ballots in her car. The Coleman campaign scrambled to get a county judge to halt the counting of these absentees, since it was impossible to prove their integrity 72 hours after the polls closed. The judge refused on grounds that she lacked jurisdiction.

Up in Two Harbors, another liberal outpost, Mr. Franken picked up an additional 246 votes. In Partridge Township, he racked up another 100. Election officials in both places claim they initially miscommunicated the numbers. Odd, because in the Two Harbors precinct, none of the other contests recorded any changes in their vote totals.

According to conservative statistician John Lott, Mr. Franken's gains so far are 2.5 times the corrections made for Barack Obama in the state, and nearly three times the gains for Democrats across Minnesota Congressional races. Mr. Lott notes that Mr. Franken's "new" votes equal more than all the changes for all the precincts in the entire state for the Presidential, Congressional and statehouse races combined (482 votes).

This entire process is being overseen by Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who isn't exactly a nonpartisan observer. One of Mr. Ritchie's financial supporters during his 2006 run for office was a 527 group called the Secretary of State Project, which was co-founded by James Rucker, who came from MoveOn.org. The group says it is devoted to putting Democrats in jobs where they can "protect elections."

Mr. Ritchie is also an ally of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, of fraudulent voter-registration fame. That relationship might explain why prior to the election Mr. Ritchie waved off evidence of thousands of irregularities on Minnesota voter rolls, claiming that accusations of fraud were nothing more than "desperateness" from Republicans.

In today's Opinion Journal
REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Obama's Lame Duck OpportunityMischief in Minnesota?Same Old Berlin Wall

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

Business World: Obama's Car Puzzle
– Holman W. JenkinsThe Tilting Yard: Goodbye to All That
– Thomas Frank

COMMENTARY

Is Now the Time to Buy Stocks?
– John H. CochraneKurdistan Is a Model for Iraq
– Masoud BarzaniThis Election Has Not 'Realigned' the Country
– Jennifer MarsicoMr. Franken and fellow Democrats are already waging a full-scale public pressure campaign to help turn the recount their way. That includes a push to turn what should be a straightforward count of existing legal ballots into a complete do-over -- mau-mauing election officials into accepting tossed ballots. The Franken campaign recently showed up before the Hennepin County canvassing board, demanding that its liberal members count 461 previously rejected ballots. To the board's credit, they unanimously voted no.

The Franken campaign has also been wrapping itself around Barack Obama's popularity to increase its recount potential. Minnesota has a voter intent law, which means that election officials can take a second look at ambiguous ballots. Mr. Franken's people are already arguing that a vote for Mr. Obama certainly indicated a vote for Mr. Franken. This can't possibly be true, however, because nearly every campaign poll showed Mr. Franken lagging Mr. Obama by five to 15 percentage points -- and on Election Day he trailed by 12.2%. Mr. Franken ran a nasty, polarizing campaign, and in any case he was part of a three-man contest.

The Coleman team is demanding the tapes from the voting machines on election night, and that's the least Mr. Ritchie can do. The Secretary of State should also investigate miraculous discoveries like the "forgotten" 32 car ballots. He needs to show voters, the press and the Coleman team that he's running a transparent process that focuses on previously counted votes, rather than changing the rules after the election is over.

With their party only three Senate seats from the 60 needed to break a filibuster (and two still not decided), Democrats have a political incentive to cut corners to steal a seat if they can get away with it. Mr. Franken and his left-wing allies also know that if Mr. Franken couldn't win election in this fabulous Democratic year, then the not-so-funnyman never will. If Minnesota wants to retain its reputation as a state with clean elections, it needs to run an honest recount.

 

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« Reply #47 on: November 20, 2008, 02:03:54 PM »

Not always a reliable site, but the subject matter here resonates with me:
========
http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/fec_audit_obama/2008/11/19/153172.html?s=al&promo_code=71A1-1

Elections Officials May Audit Obama's Fundraising
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 6:01 PM
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman 

According to a published report earlier this week, the Federal Election Commission is unlikely to vote to audit the Obama campaign finances, and will sweep aside a formal demand for an full audit that was filed by the Republican National Committee on Oct. 6. But interviews with current and former FEC officials, as well as a review of public statements by FEC commissioners, suggest that the commission could pursue an “audit for cause” of the Obama campaign, based in part on allegations of widespread fraud and illegal donors as reported by Newsmax.com and other publications during the election season.

“There are standards in a bureaucratic sense for who might be eligible for an audit for cause,” said FEC spokesman Bob Biersack. “Those are objective standards. Committees that meet those standards are eligible to be audited.”

Confusion or concern with information in the campaign finance reports submitted by the committees are generally what trigger such an audit, Biersack added. Such concerns can include a significant number of donors who have exceeded the limits of $2,300 per election. According to the Obama campaign’s own disclosures, more than 4,000 of its donors fit that bill. Those concerns can also include receiving money from foreign donors. The FEC compiled a list last month of more than 16,000 contributions from overseas sources. A Newsmax survey of roughly one-fifth of those names found 118 individuals who appeared to be foreign citizens.

The Republican National Committee based its demand for an audit of the Obama campaign on reports from Newsmax and other media organizations that suggested widespread irregularities, including taking money from foreign donors and from donors with fictitious names.

“We’re still awaiting action on our complaint and will press forward,” RNC spokesman Alex Conant told Newsmax on Friday.

Three Republicans and three Democrats now sit on the FEC as commissioners. But until June of this year, the commission was crippled because of partisan wrangling.

Helping to cripple the FEC was the junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who placed a “hold” on a Republican nominee in October 2007.  angry That action had the effect of keeping the commission on the sideline for the entire primary season.  angry angry angry

But will the commission act now? Incoming commissioners Don McGahn, a Republican, and Cynthia Bauerly, a Democrat, insisted that they would hear cases at the FEC in terms of their merits, not party affiliation. Even though they had both worked on partisan campaigns in the past, Bauerly told senators during her confirmation hearing in May that “the most important determination is to be objective and to read the law as objectively and fairly as possible.” McGahn said that in his view, commissioners were no longer partisans. “Ultimately, the commission’s core constituency is the general public,” he said at the May 21 hearing.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt dismissed talk of an audit earlier this week. “We have had a first rate compliance operation for an unprecedented national grassroots fundraising effort,” he told reporters.

But the Obama campaign more often than not failed to respond within the statutory 60 day limit to the more than dozen letters it received from the FEC asking for clarification of apparent foreign donors, or the refund of excess contributions, a Newsmax review of the correspondance shows.

For example, on April 15, 2008, the FEC asked the Obama campaign to refund or reassign contributions from two brothers in the Gaza Strip, Hosam and Monir Edwan. Together, they had given over $31,000 to the Obama campaign. And yet, three months later, much of the money had yet to be returned.

Most of the contributions from the Edwan brothers were made in October 2007, so the Obama campaign was able to use the money for cash-flow when it needed it the most and when the FEC was down to just two commissioners. In the April 15 letter, the FEC failed to point out that the two brothers had listed their address as “Gaza Strip, Rafah,” and had obviously used a foreign currency credit card to make the donations. On May 6, the FEC questioned excessive contributions from a woman identified as Deborah Heitz of La Canada, Calif. As of Jan. 31, 2008, she had given $17,900 to the campaign, nearly eight times the limit per election. In this case, the Obama campaign began refunding the money soon afterwards. But once again, they had gained precious cash flow at the peak of the primary campaign, without ever paying a price.

On June 25, FEC analysts sent the Obama campaign a sharply worded notice with a 58-page single-spaced list of donors whose contributions were over the limits. The June 25 letter first identified excess contributions from a donor named “Will, Good” from Austin, Texas. The list of Mr. Good Will’s contributions the FEC sent the Obama campaign ran seven pages. And yet, the campaign was slow to start returning the money.

As Newsmax revealed in September, the Obama campaign still showed a positive balance from Mr. Good Will of $8,950 as of their Sept. 20, 2008 report to the FEC, three months after they were warned about these contributions in June.


[Editor's Note: See "Secret, Foreign Money Floods Into Obama Campaign."]

The FEC letters all include a stern warning, “Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action.”   And yet, despite repeated delays or just downright refusals to respond to the FEC letters, the Obama campaign has yet not been audited nor has the FEC announced any enforcement action.


Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, saw little reason for an audit. “The assumption is, the more money you raise, the less potential there is for any single individual or groups of individuals to corrupt your campaign.” There had been “a few instances of contributions that shouldn’t have made their way into the Obama campaign or the McCain campaign,” he added. But when it came to Obama, “the corrupting influence of a few contributions here or there that shouldn’t have made it in the door is negligible.”


CPR lobbied heavily for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act of 2002, which imposed limits on how much federal candidates could raise and spend in their campaigns. The Washinton, DC based group calls itself “nonpartisan, independent, and nonprofit.”


In case you thought that position would have brought them to criticize the Obama campaign for abandoning the McCain-Feingold campaign finance limits, think again.

“Obama's victory in the general election was aided by his tremendous fundraising success,” the CPR website says. “After becoming his party's nominee, Obama declined public financing and the spending limits that came with it, making him the first major-party candidate since the system was created to reject taxpayers' money for the general election.”

On the day after the election. RNC chairman Mike Duncan told reporters at the National Press Club that public financing of presidential campaigns was dead.

“Presidential campaign finance as we know it died last night,” he said. “No major candidate will ever again submit to public funding restrictions. Less than two election cycles since the passage of campaign finance reform, the system has failed.”

On Thursday, the RNC filed filed two additional complaints, one in Louisiana, and the other in Washington, DC, challenging the constitutionality of key parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, the official title of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
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« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2008, 10:53:45 AM »

WSJ:

Al Franken's campaign takes exception to our recent description of the curious goings-on in Minnesota's Senate vote count. We're delighted to hear his growing vote total is all routine. But who needs to worry about votes discovered in a car when the Franken campaign is now suing in court to steal the election?

Minnesota this week began its official statewide recount, and Mr. Franken isn't hanging on the outcome. Instead, he's trying to conjure up enough other, previously disqualified, ballots to overturn Mr. Coleman's 215-vote lead. The Democrat needs to invent votes because he knows it will be tough to win a normal recount. Minnesota uses optical scanning machines, which are far more accurate than the punchcard paper ballots of the 2000 Florida recount. Prior recounts in Minnesota have resulted in few vote changes.

So off to court he goes, with Mr. Franken demanding that the state canvassing board delay certifying the initial election results. His campaign claims that absentee votes may have been wrongly rejected by election judges. Team Franken filed a lawsuit in Ramsey County (the state's second largest, and an area Mr. Franken won decisively) demanding a list of these absentee voters, so that the Democrat can contact them, get them to declare their ex post facto preference, and, presto, he wins.

The state attorney general's office ruled against a canvassing board delay, finding that certification was purely an administrative function and that any question of absentee ballots ought to be left to the courts. The problem is that at least one court has entertained this Franken ploy. Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman this week ordered county officials to give Mr. Franken a list of voters who had cast rejected absentee ballots.

In today's Opinion Journal
REVIEW & OUTLOOK

The Waxman DemocratsAl Franken's MinnesotaAmerica the Popular

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

Declarations: Keep Gates
– Peggy NoonanPotomac Watch: Obama's Senate Play
– Kimberley A. Strassel

COMMENTARY

Al Qaeda Detainees and Congress's Duty
– Michael B. MukaseyThe Auto Makers Are Already Bankrupt
– Paul IngrassiaLessons in Gross National Happiness
– Emily ParkerWhat Do We Really Know About the Uninsured?
– William SnyderPut aside that these ballots have already been ruled on by trained election judges. Put aside, too, the invasion of voter privacy. The real problem of allowing Mr. Franken to conduct his own voter discovery operation is that this is changing the rules after the election has been held. The gambit introduces subjective judgment and political pressure into a voting process that is supposed to be immune to both.

Opening up the rejected-ballot question is also a recipe for potential fraud. When the Franken campaign filed its initial lawsuit demanding access to the voter lists, it used as an example an 84-year-old woman in Beltrami County whose vote was supposedly rejected because she'd had a stroke, and therefore her signature on her absentee ballot did not match the one on file. After some outside investigation, the Franken campaign admitted that the story was not true, and that her ballot had been rejected for entirely different (and legitimate) reasons.

Mr. Franken is also trying to raise public doubt about an "undervote" -- suggesting that only machine error can explain why he received 12.2 percentage points fewer votes than did Barack Obama. But the Senate race had three serious candidates, not two. Maybe fewer Minnesotans liked a left-wing candidate who ran a nasty campaign. In any case, the same Democrats who claimed Florida was "stolen" by faulty ballot machines are now trying to discredit the optical-scanners that they have demanded -- all in order to sway the human judges who'll rule on Mr. Franken's legal challenges.

The joker's goal is to sow enough doubt about the vote so that if he loses the recount he can attract public support to challenge the final result in court. This is a slap at Minnesota, which, so far at least, appears to be doing all it can to make the recount open and transparent. Minnesota should respond by telling Mr. Franken that even a celebrity has to play by the rules.

 
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« Reply #49 on: November 24, 2008, 02:16:50 AM »

Every crisis presents opportunity. That seems to be the thinking of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who is trying to steal an election while much of the world is focused on the financial upheaval threatening the global economy.

 
AP
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (left) embraces Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 25, 2008.

On Nov. 9, Nicaragua held municipal elections in 146 cities and towns. For such a tiny country these races are big, because mayors have a great deal of autonomy and can act as a check on central government power. But this round of balloting was even more important than usual. Consolidating Marxist power in Nicaragua is a prime goal of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Mr. Ortega is supposed to carry out the plan. If he fails it will be another setback for the hard-left's 30-year dream of establishing a communist foothold in Central America.

Mr. Ortega ruled the country from 1979-1990 as a Sandinista dictator. Since winning the presidency in 2006 with 37% of the vote, he has demonstrated that, like his friend Mr. Chávez, he finds institutional checks and balances on his power rather inconvenient. Mr. Ortega's popularity rating is down to about 20%, suggesting that although he is the executive in charge, a lot of Nicaraguans now wish it weren't so.

It is within this reality that Mr. Ortega seems to have decided that Sandinista victories in the Nov. 9 municipal elections were a must. The government has proclaimed Sandinista victories in 94 municipalities, but the opposition is claiming fraud. A bitter struggle is under way.

Sandinista shenanigans began long before the polls opened. Not surprisingly, given Mr. Ortega's history as a "revolutionary," violence was a key campaign tactic. But don't take my word for it. No less than the nongovernmental organization known as the Washington Office on Latin America -- renowned for its left-leaning politics -- warned of state-sponsored repression ahead of the vote.

In a Nov. 6 communication, the organization wrote: "We are alarmed by the growing climate of intolerance for those who are perceived as critics of the federal government. The physical attack on a march of opposition party activists, and the apparent unwillingness of the police to restore order, the criminal investigations of several civil society organizations and their leaders, as well as the investigation of international NGOs that have funded some of these organizations, is extremely troubling." The Washington Office on Latin America also referenced "violent acts by government supporters against human rights defenders."

Terror was not the only tool at Mr. Ortega's disposal. As this column discussed several weeks ago, his campaign efforts were underwritten by Mr. Chávez, who sends millions of dollars of oil to Mr. Ortega but asks to be paid for only 50% of it. The balance is a long-term loan. This oil is then sold at market prices and the profit is used to fund a social investment operation called Albanisa and a Sandinista political slush fund called Albacaruna. The director of the Nicaraguan oil company and of Albanisa is also the treasurer of the Sandinista party. The Sandinistas also have control over the judiciary and the Supreme Electoral Council, which disqualified two political parties from even competing on the ballot.

But Mr. Ortega still had lingering doubts about his odds. And perhaps because he has so long been the darling of the international left, he seems to have decided he could improve those odds without scrutiny.

Step one was to block the Organization of American States, the European Union and the Carter Center from receiving credentials to observe the balloting. He even barred Nicaragua's highly respected independent watchdog, Ethics and Transparency -- which had recognized Mr. Ortega's 2006 victory -- from the polling stations.

Despite getting shut out, Ethics and Transparency managed to post observers to watch from outside polling stations. It estimated that one-third of the stations experienced irregularities. There were also reports that in some places opposition-party observers were kicked out of polling stations, and some polling stations closed ahead of schedule.

The post of Managua mayor is one of the most hotly contested races. Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC) candidate Eduardo Montealegre is challenging the "victory" of Sandinista Alexis Arguello. Mr. Montealegre, who graciously accepted his defeat to Mr. Ortega in the 2006 presidential election, says that his party made its own vote tallies and that he won. The Catholic Church and the country's two largest business groups are backing his call for a recount. The Supreme Electoral Council has agreed to a recount, but behind closed doors with no observers.

Mr. Montealegre's efforts to lead rallies in favor of a transparent recount have been broken up by Sandinistas wielding bats and lobbing rocks. But he insists that holding firm is about more than the office of mayor. "It's more fundamental," he says. "It's about dictatorship versus democracy."

Write to O'Grady@wsj.com

 

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