October 14, 2008

UPDATED: Obama and ACORN's overt and criminal voter fraud acts

Donald B. Hawthorne

Building on Marc's earlier post, comes this latest report from CNN. Listen to the video.

Instapundit has more.

More on ACORN here and here.

Which brings us to the question: Is ACORN Stealing The Election?

...What does all this have to do with Obama, besides the fact that he'd be the beneficiary of most, if not all, of these new votes?

For starters, Obama paid ACORN, which has endorsed him for president, $800,000 to register new voters, payments his campaign failed to accurately report. (They were disguised in his FEC disclosure as payments to a front group called Citizen Services Inc. for "advance work.")

What's more, Obama worked as executive director of ACORN's voter-registration arm, Project Vote, in 1992. Joined by two other community organizers on Chicago's South Side, Obama conducted the voter-registration drive that helped elect Carol Moseley-Braun to the Senate that year.

The next year, 1993, Obama joined the civil-rights law firm Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, where he sued the state of Illinois on behalf of ACORN to implement the federal "Motor Voter" law, which the GOP governor at the time refused to do. Then-Gov. Jim Edgar argued, presciently, that the Clinton law would invite voter fraud.

Obama downplays his ties to ACORN, and his campaign denies coordinating with ACORN to register voters...

And why isn't anyone asking Obama about his $800,000 funding of ACORN's efforts?

Guess we now know part of what a "community organizer" does...commits voter fraud.

If you can't trust the integrity of votes, we don't have a functioning democracy anymore.

But maybe that's the point Obama's campaign has been making already. More here. Will restoring the Fairness Doctrine be the next step?


The ACORN criminal voter fraud issue will not die because it is so massive across the nation, Obama has extensive ties to ACORN, and his campaign gave over $800,000 to ACORN.

This overview is a very good place to get a quick summary of the extensive voter fraud efforts by ACORN.

More from Instapundit. On a related issue; more here. And why stop at voter fraud?

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial entitled Obama and ACORN: Community organizers, phony voters, and your tax dollars:

...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...

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...

Rubin has these comments:

...It is almost inconceivable that Barack Obama should not have been grilled on this – either by his opponent or the media...Obama’s ties are deep and extensive with an organization that embraces goals and tactics well outside the political mainstream and that has engaged in a pattern of illegal activity usually seen only in RICO indictments. ACORN’s present involvement in coast-to-coast fraud is jaw-dropping and should raise the issue as to whether an Obama Justice Department would vigorously investigate and, if warranted, prosecute this entity and all involved.(A helpful compilation of ACORN’s suspect activities is here.) Put simply, Obama worked for and helped funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to a fraud-infested, corrupt organization and has yet to explain himself, let alone apologize for the same.

If the voters want such a president they will have him, but he should first explain himself and justify why his participation in and assistance to such an enterprise should not be serious grounds to question his fitness for office.

Character does matter in our leaders, as we learned in multiple ways with Bill Clinton, including this instance. Along the way, we continue to learn more troubling things about Obama nearly daily, like this.

We can all — Republicans and Democrats — be against voter fraud ... right?

Let's start with this idea:

There ought to be a law. In fact, there ought to be 50.

Every state from Hawaii to Maine and from Alaska to Florida should adopt emergency measures to require photo ID for every American who goes to the polls on November 4. Legislatures, executives, and courts should move quickly to avoid what has become a pending electoral crisis.

The 13 states investigating the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) are discovering “toxic vote registrations” to rival the “toxic mortgages” that triggered the current turmoil rattling financial markets. While roughly 95 percent of homeowners are paying their mortgages on time, the other 5 percent in default and foreclosure were all it took to spin the global economy out of control.

Similarly, the relatively small number of fraudulent vote registrations discovered so far could represent just enough systemic infection to sicken the entire body politic, especially if this election turns out closer than most now expect.

Still-unfolding revelations of shenanigans by ACORN and a handful of other groups should worry voters of all parties. Notwithstanding the fact that Barack Obama was ACORN’s one-time attorney, former trainer, and Woods Fund donor — and, more recently, the purchaser of its campaign services and its endorsee for president — these questions cannot be dismissed as one or two isolated incidents that Republicans are flogging for partisan advantage. As of Monday, ACORN was under investigation in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin...

With the election exactly three weeks away, the hour is late to sift through all of the nation’s voter rolls and separate live voters from dead ones, citizens from aliens, the law-abiding from felons, adults from minors, and real people from those merely fabricated. This needs to be done, but is unlikely to be accomplished in time.

What could be done quickly is to require photo ID at the polls, something the U.S. Supreme Court ruled constitutional last spring. Only seven states (Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, and South Dakota) mandate photo ID before citizens can step into voting booths. Beyond these Sensible Seven, 17 states require ID, though it need not include a photo. The remaining 26 states demand no proof that voters are who they say they are.

Requiring photo ID, and making it available for free to any voter who needs it, is the easiest way to assure that corrupt or overzealous people do not show up and vote while ineligible or impersonate someone who has moved away, passed away, or never even existed...

But voter ID requirements won't solve absentee ballot problems like this.

Oh, silly us, this voter fraud is just a distraction, according to Obama. Some distraction.

This is a HUGE deal that goes straight to the issue of a conscious intent to subvert our American democracy by fraudently stealing an election through a massive fraud effort across the country.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Read the entire synopsis of ACORN and its background here"


Labor unions haven't been mentioned in the recent media attention (finally) about ACORN, but they work hand in hand and unions provide a lot of money to ACORN. One wonders if regular patriotic Joes would be pleased to know that their union dues are supporting a radical Left group that is inciting voter fraud. An interesting tidbit about the symbiotic relationship between organized labor and ACORN (by allowing unionized companies to pay lower wages and undercut non-unionized companies. You didn't think that the "living wage" movement was really about "social justice," now did you?):

"Since its inception in 1970, ACORN's overriding mission has been to enact "living wage" ordinances at the local, state and - ultimately - federal levels. It has succeeded in getting many such laws passed. ACORN's model legislation contains a clause that exempts unionized businesses from paying the minimum wage. As a result, those companies that stubbornly resist unionizing founder and, in many cases, go bankrupt. Those that unionize thrive, providing an ever-expanding membership base for union recruiting. This is the main reason that unions such as AFSCME and SEIU contribute so generously to ACORN."

Posted by: Tom W at October 13, 2008 9:41 PM

"Obama paid ACORN, which has endorsed him for president, $800,000 to register new voters, payments his campaign failed to accurately report. (They were disguised in his FEC disclosure as payments to a front group called Citizen Services Inc. for "advance work.")"

So in this case, it appears that "advance work" is a euphemism for "generating fradulent votes".

An $800,000 expenditure mis-identified on the campaign finance report. Anthony commented under another thread that it looks like the Obama campaign has been accepting questionable contributions and plans to simply refund them after the election. But won't the $800,000 item be a lot harder to correct later? It's not a question of refunding anything, it's a matter of lying on a disclosure form.

In addition, we now have to ask: what else has been mis-identified on the campaign's finance reports?

Posted by: Monique at October 13, 2008 10:34 PM

Uh oh. We've crossed the line from quizzical campaign contributions to unwilling ones.

"A North Kansas City couple has been left scratching their heads after they became the victims of a political scam.

Steve and Rachel Larman say a strange credit card charge appeared on their statement this month -- a $2300 donation to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The Larman's say they don't want this to be about their political affiliation, but they say they're not about to give the Obama campaign any help from their pocketbook.

They said they notified Chase, their credit card bank, to report the fraud.

"(They) said that they had seen-they were familiar with this," said Steve Larman. "It was fraud, they believe through telemarketing but they were going to be doing some more investigations.""


Posted by: Monique at October 14, 2008 10:07 PM

Nice job Don. Keep pushing all of these vital issues that are quickly leading to 375 electoral votes for Obama and 60 Senate seats for the Democrats?

Global financial turmoil? Two wars half the world away? Energy crisis? Nah. Just lob some guilt-by-association innuendo TV ads across the airwaves and call the media biased when they call you on it.

Welcome to the wilderness Don. You and your angry band will be wandering it for a while. The rest of us will try to focus on solving the problems self-described "conservatives" created -- or are you all still calling yourself "compassionate conservatives"?

Posted by: Pragmatist at October 14, 2008 11:36 PM

I think a Curious George presidency plus 60 Senate seats would be great. The last time we had that, under Carter, a whole generation of young people were turned to the Right by 20% interest rates and inflation, double-digit unemployment and long lines for rationed gas.
There's nothing like unabashed "progressive" economics (which stink like the matter in waste treatment plants) to teach some sense to a people.

Posted by: Mike at October 15, 2008 11:05 AM

Mike, conservatives don't even have an economic theory anymore. First, George W. Bush eviscerated the notion that conservatism means, at the very least in economic terms, living within your means by turning a federal budget surplus into a massive federal deficit. Then, as if that weren't quite enough to crush even the pretense of conservative economics in practice, the conservative government has now socialized the entire banking system by force.

And you think the "progressives" can do worse? Haha. Rich indeed.

Posted by: Pragmatist at October 15, 2008 11:17 AM

I'm surprised ACORN's RI roots have never been exposed. It was founded by Wade Rathke of the National welfare Rights Organization, headed by George Wiley of Warwick. Wiley's brother Alton was a lifelong Democrat hack who was a District Court judge (his son is a RI lawyer to this day).
Also, Rathke's brother embezzled a million bucks from ACORN. Not only did Rathke and the ACORN board cover-up the embezzlement, they kept the brother on the ACORN payroll for a decade until it was exposed this year.
See the NY Times article:

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Funds Misappropriated at 2 Nonprofit Groups

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Published: July 9, 2008

Two prominent national nonprofit groups are reeling from public disclosures that large sums of money were misappropriated in unrelated incidents by an employee and a former employee.

The groups, Acorn, one of the country’s largest community organizing groups, and the Points of Light Institute, which works to encourage civic activism and volunteering, have dealt with the problems in very different ways.

Acorn chose to treat the embezzlement of nearly $1 million eight years ago as an internal matter and did not even notify its board. After Points of Light noticed financial irregularities in early June, it took less than a month for management to alert federal prosecutors, although group officials say they have no clear idea yet what the financial impact may be.

A whistle-blower forced Acorn to disclose the embezzlement, which involved the brother of the organization’s founder, Wade Rathke.

The brother, Dale Rathke, embezzled nearly $1 million from Acorn and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000, Acorn officials said, but a small group of executives decided to keep the information from almost all of the group’s board members and not to alert law enforcement.

Dale Rathke remained on Acorn’s payroll until a month ago, when disclosure of his theft by foundations and other donors forced the organization to dismiss him.

“We thought it best at the time to protect the organization, as well as to get the funds back into the organization, to deal with it in-house,” said Maude Hurd, president of Acorn. “It was a judgment call at the time, and looking back, people can agree or disagree with it, but we did what we thought was right.”

The amount Dale Rathke embezzled, $948,607.50, was carried as a loan on the books of Citizens Consulting Inc., which provides bookkeeping, accounting and other financial management services to Acorn and many of its affiliated entities.

Wade Rathke said the organization had signed a restitution agreement with his brother in which his family agreed to repay the amount embezzled in exchange for confidentiality.

Wade Rathke stepped down as Acorn’s chief organizer on June 2, the same day his brother left, but he remains chief organizer for Acorn International L.L.C.

He said the decision to keep the matter secret was not made to protect his brother but because word of the embezzlement would have put a “weapon” into the hands of enemies of Acorn, a liberal group that is a frequent target of conservatives who object to its often strident advocacy on behalf of low- and moderate-income families and workers.

Wade Rathke said he learned of the problem when an employee of Citizens Consulting alerted him about suspicious credit card transactions. An internal investigation uncovered inappropriate charges on the cards that led back to his brother.

“Clearly, this was an uncomfortable, conflicting and humiliating situation as far as my family and I were concerned,” he said, “and so the real decisions on how to handle it had to be made by others.”

The executive director of New York Acorn, Bertha Lewis, who has been named director of an interim management committee set up to run the national group’s day-to-day operations, said Dale Rathke was paid about $38,000 a year but that none of that money was used to pay back Acorn.

Instead, she said, the Rathke family has paid Acorn $30,000 a year in restitution since 2001, or a total of $210,000.

A donor has offered to give Acorn the rest of what the Rathkes owe, and an agreement to that effect should be finalized in coming days, Ms. Lewis said.

“Now that this is under our watch, we are putting financial auditors in place, legal counsel in place, a strong management team in place to make sure this organization moves forward for another 38 years,” she said. “I will not allow and the board will not allow something like this to happen again.”

But the fact that most of the handful of people who did not disclose the fraud when they learned of it eight years ago still work for Acorn or its affiliates concerns many of the group’s financial supporters.

“We’ve told them that when the process is ended, we’ll have a look at it,” said Dave Beckwith, executive director of the Needmor Fund, which has given money to some of Acorn’s charity affiliates for at least 10 years and was contacted by the whistle-blower in May.

Representatives of some 30 foundations and large donors have been discussing the matter on conference calls and may establish a committee to monitor Acorn’s overhaul of its management and accountability systems.

Officials at Points of Light began looking into complaints about a store the organization operated on eBay and by late June had discovered what its president and chief executive, Michelle Nunn, called “abnormalities” in the business practices of an independent contractor hired to run the store, which did a brisk business auctioning travel packages and items donated to the organization.

The travel auctions were stopped immediately, Ms. Nunn said, and the store was shut down a short time later. Points of Light also posted a statement on its Web site last weekend about the problems and contacted the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, as well as people who had bought the travel packages.

Two people who have been involved in the internal investigation at Points of Light, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is incomplete, said it appeared that Maria Herrmann, a former Points of Light fund-raiser who was hired as an independent contractor to manage the eBay store operation, may have been auctioning off bogus trip packages.

Ms. Herrmann did not respond to a message left at her home on Tuesday, and phone and e-mail messages to the office were answered by automated responses from the service Points of Light has hired to process reimbursement applications for the packages.

The organization is making good on trips scheduled through next Tuesday, Ms. Nunn said, and hopes to repay consumers for the rest of the packages that were sold. She said Points of Light began alerting donors last week about the problem, and some have agreed to help it repay customers who bought the packages.

Ms. Nunn also said she did not know how much the group would lose. “Our hope is that this is an isolated event, and that the actions of what we believe to be a single individual at this point doesn’t jeopardize the work of millions of volunteers,” she said.

The problem surfaced when Points of Light began getting complaints from people who had not received the vouchers and certificates they needed to redeem the travel packages.

Anna Ware, a small business owner in Atlanta, said that in late June when she arrived at the Seattle hotel included in a package she had bought from the Points of Light eBay store, the hotel had not received the certificates for her stay. She sent Ms. Herrmann an e-mail message and received an automated response from her Points of Light e-mail address. Two days later, the certificates arrived by FedEx.

“I could be out several thousand dollars,” said Ms. Ware, who has bought trip packages as bonuses for her employees as well as for gifts for friends and family. “I’m now calling them all and letting them know those trips may not happen.”

Dozens of people posted similar comments on an eBay discussion board, which the site has closed.

The legitimate trip packages were put together by Mitch-Stuart Inc., a company that bundles airline seats and hotel rooms. It sells the packages on consignment to nonprofit organizations like the Red Cross and Big Brothers Big Sisters, which resell them for a higher price, pocketing the difference.

Ms. Nunn said that Mitch-Stuart was not involved in any way with the bogus packages and that it was helping Points of Light make good on all trips sold for travel through next Tuesday.

Posted by: Mike at October 15, 2008 11:19 AM

It is absurd that a picture i.d. is not required to vote. Anyone who argues against it is promoting voter fraud. Period.

Posted by: Monique at October 15, 2008 1:58 PM
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