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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Charges Filed Against ACORN For Registration Fraud

The undersigned, CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Attorney General of the State of Nevada, by and through Chief Deputy Attorney General, Conrad Hafen, complains and charges the above named defendants, ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION FOR REFORM NOW INC.(ACORN), CHRISTOPHER HOWELL EDWARDS AND AMY ADELE BUSEFINK, with having committed the crimes of COMPENSATION FOR REGISTRATION OF VOTERS (26 Counts), a Category E Felony, in violation of NRS 293.805, and PRINCIPAL TO THE CRIME OF COMPENSATION FOR REGISTRATION OF VOTERS (13 Counts), a category E Felony, in violation of NRS 195.020 and NRS 293.805 in Clark County, State of Nevada as follows;

That the Defendant, ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION FOR REFORM NOW INC. (ACORN), did unlawfully provide compensation for registering voters that is based upon the total number of voters a person registers to wit: That from August to September, 2008, the defendant employed Eartha Jackson to register voters in Clark County, Nevada and conditioned her pay upon submitting twenty (20) registration cards per shift. In addition, Defendant, through ACORN Las Vegas Field Director Christopher Howell Edwards, paid Eartha Jackson a bonus of five dollars ($5.00) for submitting twenty-one (21) or more voter registration cards per shift.

That is the start of the 18 page, 39 count criminal complaint against ACORN and two of it's employees. (Full PDF file linked at the bottom of this post.)

The Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) has been in the news consistently for illegal activities.

ACORN was supposed to be a way to help low-income families find a voice, register to vote and become involved and instead, news story after news story showed them registering dead people, children, sending registrations for pets..etc..

People claimed the dead might have been registered, but that didn't mean they actually voted...yet in one case news came out that over 300 of them did.

On and on it went during the each election cycle and now, via the Las Vegas Sun, we see that 26 counts of Compensation for Registration of Voters, and 13 counts of Principle to the Crime of Compensation for Registration of Voters, both of which are felonies in Nevada, have been filed against ACORN and two of it's employees.

The investigation into the scheme stemmed from a complaint filed with Miller's office by Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax. Lomax's office received a significant number of voter registration application forms that appeared to be fraudulent, although none of the irregular forms ended up in the November election.

"Nevada will not tolerate violations of the law by individuals nor will it allow corporations to hide behind or place blame on their employees when training manuals clearly detail, condone and, indeed, require illegal acts in performing the job for the corporation," Masto said during a media conference today.

"This investigation is the direct result of our aggressive response to those safeguards," Miller said, referring to a state task force formed in July.

State investigators, armed with a search warrant, sought evidence of voter registration fraud at ACORN's Las Vegas office on Oct. 7.

The investigation began in July, as soon as the task force formed.

Review Journal has some of the startling figures:

Larry Lomax, the Clark County registrar of voters, said his office reviewed the 91,002 voter registration forms turned in by ACORN, verifying that information on the form matched information attached to the voter’s driver’s license number or Social Security number.

If it didn’t, those registrations were tagged as requiring identification at the polling place.

There were 28,097 forms that were duplicates or changes of name, party or address, leaving 62,905 new voters.

Of those, 23,186 actually voted in the 2008 general election, according to a report prepared by Lomax’s office.

That means almost 40,000 of the new voters registered by ACORN didn’t vote, and of those, almost 19,000 had information on file that didn’t match what was turned in on the forms.

“That’s 48 percent of those forms that I believe are clearly fraudulent,” Lomax said.


Masto identified Edwards as the ACORN Las Vegas office field director in 2008, and said timesheets indicate that ACORN corporate officers were aware of the "blackjack" bonus program and failed to stop it. The attorney general said Busefink was ACORN's deputy regional director.

The complaint filed in Las Vegas Justice Court accuses ACORN and Edwards each of 13 counts of compensation for registration of voters, and Busefink of 13 counts of principle to the crime of compensation for registration of voters. Each charge carries the possibility of probation or less than 1 year in jail, Masto said.

A court hearing was scheduled June 3 in Las Vegas, prosecutor Conrad Hafen said.

Nevada is not the only state with investigations into ACORN either. Back in October, the Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, filed a Rico action against ACORN and we have previously listed trouble throughout the years with this exact type of behavior throughout the country, showing it is not just individual employees, but a systematic problem with ACORN themselves.

# In Ohio in 2004, four ACORN employees were indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms.

# In January 2005 two Colorado ACORN workers were sentenced to community service for submitting false voter registrations. ACORN's regional director said, "we find it abhorrent and do everything we can to prevent it from happening."

# On November 1, 2006, four part-time ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City, Missouri for voter registration fraud. Prosecutors said the indictments are part of a national investigation.] ACORN said in a press release that it is in part responsible in these individuals being caught, has fired them, and has cooperated and publicly supported efforts to look into the validity of the allegations.

# ACORN was investigated in 2006 for submitting false voter registrations in St. Louis, Missouri. 1,492 fraudulent voter registrations were identified.

# In 2007, five Washington state ACORN workers were sentenced to jail time. ACORN agreed to pay King County $25 000 for its investigative costs and acknowledged that the national organization could be subject to criminal prosecution if fraud occurs again.

According to King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, the misconduct was done "as an easy way to get paid [by ACORN], not as an attempt to influence the outcome of elections."

# In 2008, the Michigan Secretary of State office told the Detroit Free Press that ACORN had been submitting a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications to vote.

The Pittsburgh Tribune recently reported the Barack Obama campaign recently amended their Federal Election Commission report to reflect $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal ACORN group, called Citizens Services Inc., which is a subsidiary of the ACORN group.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now for services the Democrat's campaign says it mistakenly misrepresented in federal reports.

An Obama spokesman said Federal Election Commission reports would be amended to show Citizens Services Inc. -- a subsidiary of ACORN -- worked in "get-out-the-vote" projects, instead of activities such as polling, advance work and staging major events as stated in FEC finance reports filed during the primary.

You can see the 39 count, 18 page complaint for yourself, here. (PDF file)