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ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS FOR REFORM NOW (ACORN) BACKGROUNDER

(January 2005)

 
General Information

 

Founded In 1970, ACORN Is “Nation’s Largest Community Organization Of Low And Moderate-Income Families.” “ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation’s largest community organization of low and moderate-income families, with over 150,000 member families organized into 800 neighborhood chapters in 65 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members. Our priorities include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. We achieve these goals by building community organizations that have the power to win changes -- through direct action, negotiation, legislation, and voter participation.” (ACORN Website, www.acorn.org, Accessed 8/6/04)

 

Internal ACORN Plan Said Florida Minimum Wage Amendment Would “Help Defeat George W. Bush And Other Republicans By Increasing Democratic Turnout.” “A 2003 internal ACORN plan suggests that increasing Democratic turnout to defeat President Bush was the main goal of the [minimum wage] amendment. ACORN calls itself a nonpartisan group dedicated to helping low-wage workers. ‘A Florida constitutional amendment initiative to create a minimum wage of $6.15 with indexing will help defeat George W. Bush and other Republicans by increasing Democratic turnout in a close election,’ the plan notes. … Joe Johnson, a veteran St. Petersburg political consultant hired by ACORN earlier this year to run the Florida campaign, said he was repeatedly told that helping Democrats was the main goal. ‘Even if we lost the election, we would still be winning by building critical mass,’ Johnson said. Johnson left the campaign in August and says he grew increasingly uncomfortable with ACORN’s methods.” (Lucy Morgan, “Group Accused Of Voter Registration Violations,” St. Petersburg Times, 10/22/04)

 

ACORN’s Voter Registration Activities

 

ACORN Conducts Its Voter Registration Activities Through Project Vote, Which Use “Local ACORN Offices To Collect Registrations.” “Damschroder said several ‘blatantly false’ forms were turned in by the voter registration effort, in which the nationwide Project Vote uses local ACORN offices to collect registrations.” (“Officials Question Error-Filled Voter Registrations Collected By Paid Workers,” The Associated Press, 6/2/04)

 

  • Project Vote Is “A Nonpartisan Arm Of The Association Of Community Organizations For Reform Now (ACORN).” (Karen Tumulty and Perry Bacon, Jr., “Fighting For Every Last Vote,” Time, 10/18/04)

 

Former Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Leland Is Project Vote’s National Director. (Project Vote Website, http://projectvote.org/index.php?id=118, Accessed 10/12/04)

 

  • Leland Was A Candidate To Replace Terry McAuliffe As DNC Chairman. (Dan Balz, “Citing Need For Party-Building, Dean To Seek DNC Post,” The Washington Post, 1/12/05)

 

ACORN/Project Vote Reported Registering 1.1 Million New Voters. (Julia Malone, “Voter Drives Spark Charges Of Fraud, Scams & Forgeries,” Cox News Service, 10/14/04)

 

ACORN Is Part Of “One Of The Earliest, Most Massive And Most Sophisticated Voter Registration And Mobilization Efforts Ever Mounted.” “An unprecedented range of progressive organizations -- including new groups such as America Votes and America Coming Together, as well as more established citizen groups, such as U.S. Action and ACORN -- are involved in one of the earliest, most massive and most sophisticated voter registration and mobilization efforts ever mounted.” (David Moberg, “Left Turn,” In These Times, 7/19/04)

 

ACORN/Project Vote Is One Of Several “Self-Described Nonpartisan Charity Groups” – Funded By “Unlimited Anonymous Contributions” – Conducting Major Voter Registration Efforts For 2004 Election.Fueled by unlimited anonymous contributions, self-described nonpartisan charity groups are launching ambitious programs to register hundreds of thousands of new voters in key battleground states this year. Most of the groups are traditionally allied with Democrats. Five large liberal-leaning charities interviewed by The Hill said they plan to register upwards of 5 million new voters through registration programs that will cost millions of dollars. The organizations are: USAction, People for the American Way, the Center for Community Change, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and the League of Conservation Voters. Two charities that are also expected to conduct major registration operations, the NAACP Voter Education Fund and ACORN/Project Vote, did not respond to requests for comment.” (Alexander Bolton, “Charities Fill Parties’ Roles With Help Of Millions Of Dollars In Soft Money,” The Hill, 3/17/04)

 

ACORN Is A Member Of America Votes, A New 527 Organization Coordinating Election Activity Of Many Liberal Interest Groups Collectively Dubbed The “Shadow Democratic Party.”Collectively dubbed the ‘shadow Democratic Party,’ American Coming Together, the Media Fund and a handful of other groups work on different key objectives to try to boost the Democratic election machine. While ACT focuses on grassroots voter turnout, the Media Fund, headed by former Clinton administration official Harold Ickes, is focused exclusively on advertising. Overseeing their activities and making sure the two groups don’t duplicate their efforts is a third and smaller 527 group known as America Votes.” (America Votes Website, www.americavotes.net, Accessed 8/6/04; Amy Keller, “Entreaties Lead to Flood Of 527 Input,” Roll Call, 4/7/04)

 

  • America Votes Is An Effort To Coordinate Voter Registration, Education And Turnout Operations Of More Than A Dozen Liberal Organizations. “One such group, America Votes, is an effort to coordinate the existing voter-registration, -education and -turnout efforts of more than a dozen liberal organizations …” (Julie Kosterlitz, “On The Ropes?” The National Journal, 9/6/03)

 

ACORN’s Suspicious Voter Registration Activities

 

Colorado

 

Colorado ACORN Worker Pleaded Guilty To Procuring False Registrations, Sentenced To A Year Of Probation And 150 Hours Of Community Service. “A man charged with filling out false voter registration forms for the November election pleaded guilty Monday and was sentenced to a year of probation. Pelonne Page, 21, also must perform 150 hours of community service. He was charged with six misdemeanor counts of procuring false registrations. Page worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, which paid people to sign up voters. Also charged in the case was Monique Mora, who is set for trial in March. A third defendant, Lloyd ‘Frosty’ Herrera, 30, was charged with five counts of misdemeanor perjury for filling out several phony registration forms for Mora and Page. He pleaded guilty to a charge of perjury in November and was sentenced to 32 hours of community service.” (“Briefing,” Rocky Mountain News, 1/4/05)

 

ACORN Director Downplayed Seriousness Of Fraud By Stating “Just Because You Register Someone 35 Times Doesn’t Mean They Get To Vote 35 Times.” “Jim Fleischmann, ACORN Western regional director, said he was cooperating with Denver authorities to track down several hundred fraudulent applications collected by the organization, but he downplayed the severity of the problem.  ‘Registration fraud is different than voter fraud. Just because you register someone 35 times doesn’t mean they get to vote 35 times. They can only vote once,” he said. ‘The local press is having a feeding frenzy on this.’”  (Valerie Richardson, “Colorado To Tackle Voter-Fraud Fears,” The Washington Times, 10/14/04)

 

Colorado ACORN Worker Gets Girlfriend To Sign Up Friends To Vote 40 Times.  “Kym Cason admitted to signing up three of her friends to vote 40 times to help her boyfriend, who earned $2 for each voter he signed up for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. She said she forged their signatures and filled out their information to the best of her knowledge. She also signed herself up to vote 25 times.”  (“Investigation Reveals Potentially Fraudulent Voter Forms,” The Associated Press, 10/12/04)

 

ACORN Official Admits To Fraudulent Registrations In Colorado.  “Sneaky voter-drive employees are to blame for submitting hundreds of faulty registration applications in Colorado, said an official with the nonprofit organization that mobilized the effort.  These workers were able to thwart the drive’s system of checks and balances, said Jim Fleischmann, regional coordinator of the voting registration effort of the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now, commonly known as ACORN. … Apparently, several [ACORN] employees filled out numerous duplicate applications, but submitted them one-by-one over an extended period of time, he said.”  (Gabrielle Crist, “Faulty Voter Applications Are Blamed On Workers,” Rocky Mountain News, 10/15/04)  

 

Problematic Registrations In Arapaho County “Primarily” From ACORN And Other Political Groups.  “The problematic applications in Arapahoe County were primarily from these three groups [ACORN, New Voters Project, and Colorado Progressive Coalition] which all pay their workers to register voters. All three political groups say they are non-partisan.  ‘They may be non-partisan, but in point of fact, they are on the progressive or liberal side of a political perspective,’ says 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli.”  (Paula Woodward, “I-Team: Talks With Groups That Submitted Fraudulent Forms,” http://www.9news.com, Accessed 10/13/04)

 

Colorado Attorney General And Three Local Prosecutors Investigating Alleged Voter Fraud As ACORN Said It May Be Responsible For Some Fraudulent Registrations.An investigation into allegations of voter registration fraud in the metro area expanded Friday when three local prosecutors joined state Attorney General Ken Salazar in the criminal probe. The action comes three days after Secretary of State Donetta Davidson revealed that hundreds of questionable voter registration applications had been turned over to Salazar. … Salazar said Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant and Arapahoe County District Attorney James Peters would collaborate with his office on the investigation. ‘The investigation centers at this time upon allegations that one or more privately employed voter registration solicitors made up and submitted a limited number of false voter registrations in primarily Arapahoe, Denver and Adams counties,’ the attorney general’s office said in a statement. ‘The allegations are that the solicitors, who were paid on the basis of each voter registration obtained, either used fictitious names, fictitious addresses or supplied erroneous personal information concerning real people, such as date of birth or Social Security numbers. It appears at this point that the impetus for the alleged criminal activity is economic gain.’ On Thursday, officials at the Denver office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- ACORN -- said they might be responsible for some of the questionable applications. ACORN works with low- and moderate-income families on housing and other issues. The Denver office was involved in a voter registration drive.” (John Sanko, “3 Prosecutors Join Voter Fraud Probe,” Rocky Mountain News, 8/7/04)

 

ACORN May Have Submitted Fraudulent Voter Registration Applications In Colorado, Where State Prosecutors Are Investigating Possible Fraud.A Denver-based community activist group said Thursday it may be responsible for some of the potentially fraudulent voter registration applications being investigated by state prosecutors. ‘We fear that some of these cards may have been submitted from our office. We are investigating the situation and reviewing our systems to see if this is the case,’ wrote Betty Wilkins, board chairwoman of Colorado ACORN. ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- is the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families. Among other programs, the group recruits and pays people to register voters. Wilkins wrote Secretary of State Donetta Davidson after learning that Davidson has forwarded hundreds of voter registration forms to Attorney General Ken Salazar’s office for investigation. The state probe centers on suspicious forms filed in at least four Denver metro-area counties with problems ranging from phony addresses to suspicious signatures. In some cases, several applications were apparently filled out by the same person. In her letter, released late Thursday to The Denver Post, Wilkins asked to meet with Davidson ‘to discuss this matter.’ She wrote that her group is ‘very concerned about the possibility of erroneous or fraudulent voter registration forms being submitted.’ … Earlier in the day, Colorado ACORN head organizer Bret Ericson said he didn’t know of any problems with his group’s voter registration drive ‘other than a few duplicate’ application forms. He said ACORN employs about 50 people in Colorado to register voters. It pays them $8 an hour with a bonus of $1 more per hour for those who sign up more than five new voters, he said.” (Susan Greene, “Group Fears Ties To Bad Voter Forms,” The Denver Post, 8/6/04)

 
Florida

 

ACORN Sued For Disenfranchising Florida Residents.  “ACORN was sued on Friday by two lawyers in Fort Lauderdale for disenfranchising 11 South Florida residents, one from Broward and 10 from Miami-Dade, by taking their completed voter registration forms and not turning them in.  The lawsuit alleges that the registration drive was a subterfuge, the real motive being to gather signatures for the successful petition to get the minimum-wage increase on the ballot. It accuses the organization of illegally paying workers for each voter they registered and selling the names to a union-based group in Washington, D.C.. The case sets up a possible challenge of the minimum wage ballot item, if it passes. ‘These are first-time voters from the underclass, and they screwed them,’ said William Scherer Jr., a Republican operative and lawyer who filed the case with attorney Stuart Rosenfeldt. He said the residents are a mixed group politically, and all but one of them black.”  (Brittany Wallman, “Voter Registration Drive A Subterfuge, Lawsuit Claims,” Sun-Sentinel, 10/30/04)

 

Florida Chamber Of Commerce Has Own Evidence Pointing To ACORN Fraud, Including Registering Of Felons And Fraudulent Registration Forms.  “One group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has been named by Republicans, Hood and the FDLE as a source of the problem. The group registered 212,298 voters in Florida, but is now being investigated by the FDLE.  The Florida Chamber of Commerce, which opposes ACORN’s efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage, has gathered its own evidence against the group and alleges it tried to register felons to vote or turned in fraudulent registration forms. ‘It’s so widespread. It just seems to be a systemic approach to take advantage of our lax registration laws,’ said Mark Wilson, the chamber’s vice president.”  (Brendan Farrington, “Accusations Of Fraud, Wrongdoing Abound Ahead Of Nov. 2 Election,” The Associated Press, 10/30/04)

 

Mac Stuart, A Former Miami-Dade Field Director For ACORN, Said There Was “A Lot Of Fraud Committed” And Republican Voter Registrations Were “Routinely Kicked Back.”  “A field director for one of the many national partisan organizations trying to drum up votes in Florida admits to routine efforts to rig the outcome. They include submitting thousands of invalid voter registration cards, as well as failing to turn in boxes of cards filled out to register Republicans.  ‘There was a lot of fraud committed,’ said Mac Stuart, former Miami-Dade field director for ACORN. Among his allegations -- that ACORN ‘quality control’ workers routinely kicked back Republican voter registrations while paying for Democratic ones. ‘They said they had enough,’ he said.” (Paige St. John, “Rumors Of Vote Fraud Rampant,” Florida Today, 10/2/04)

 

  • Stuart Sued ACORN In Miami-Dade Circuit Court. “An activist group was sued in Miami-Dade circuit court this week by a former employee, who has accused top officials of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now of violating a slew of election laws. Mac Stuart, of Opa-locka, has accused the organization, known as ACORN, of illegally copying voter registration applications and selling them to labor union groups, allowing people to sign petitions who were not registered voters and suppressing Republican voter registration applications.” (Jeremy Milarsky, “Ex-Worker Sues Activist Group,” [Fort Lauderdale] Sun-Sentinel, 10/21/04)

 

ACORN Workers Held On To Voter Registrations.  FOX NEWS’ MAJOR GARRETT: “Mac Stuart used to work for the left wing group ACORN in Miami. He was in charge of collecting petitions there to put an initiative on the ballot to boost the state’s minimum wage. Recently, a current ACORN employee brought him this box of voter registrations to prove that ACORN was mishandling a voter registration drive.”  FORMER ACORN EMPLOYEE MAC STUART: “They had them stored somewhere; most likely copied them.” GARRETT: “Stuart said it was common for ACORN to store hundreds, if not thousands of voter registration forms for weeks at a time and then photocopy them. The photocopies were sent to ACORN’s national headquarters because the group paid by the petition or registration form.” (Fox News’ “Special Report,” 10/27/04)

 

ACORN Workers Told To Back Date Petitions, A Violation Of State Law.  FOX NEWS’ MAJOR GARRETT: “[Former ACORN employee Mac] Stuart also said ACORN advised workers to back date petitions, a violation of state law. STUART: “This was standard procedure. This was standard procedure on a daily basis.” (Fox News’ “Special Report,” 10/27/04)

 

Box Of 180 ACORN Voter Registrations Surface.  “A box containing almost 180 voter registrations filled out in the Miami area in July and August surfaced on Tuesday, leading to more questions for a group that allegedly sponsored the registrations.  The forms were turned in to a Fort Lauderdale attorney by Mac William Stuart, a convicted felon and former employee of the voter-registration group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced last week that it was conducting a statewide investigation of ACORN’s voter drive. ACORN has been accused of mishandling voter registration in its Project Vote, a national effort to get low- and moderate-income and minority voters on the rolls. … Stuart said Tuesday that a friend of his at the Miami ACORN office called him and gave him the box. Stuart turned the box over to his attorney, Fort Lauderdale attorney Stuart Rosenfeldt. Rosenfeldt said he is considering his legal options.”  (Brittany Wallman and Alva James-Johnson, “180 Registration Forms Surface In South Florida,” [South Florida] Sun-Sentinel, 10/27/04)

 

ACORN A Target Of Statewide Investigation Of Voter Irregularities In Florida.  “The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Thursday said the Association of Community Organizations For Reform Now, or ACORN, is a target of a statewide investigation of voter irregularities.  The group faces criminal investigations in a half-dozen other states over voter registration and petition signatures gathered by its employees.” (Lucy Morgan, “Group Faces Accusations Of Broken Voting Laws,” St. Petersburg Times, 10/22/04)

 

ACORN Consultant Left Group After “He Grew Increasingly Uncomfortable With ACORN’s Methods.” “Joe Johnson, a veteran St. Petersburg political consultant hired by ACORN earlier this year to run the Florida campaign, said he was repeatedly told that helping Democrats was the main goal.  ‘Even if we lost the election, we would still be winning by building critical mass,’ Johnson said.  Johnson left the campaign in August and says he grew increasingly uncomfortable ACORN’s methods. One concern: the group’s failure to turn in complete voter registration cards.”  (Lucy Morgan, “Group Faces Accusations Of Broken Voting Laws,” St. Petersburg Times, 10/22/04)

 

ACORN Being Investigated In St. Petersburg, Florida, For Changing Party Affiliations On Applications.  “In St. Petersburg, the state attorney’s office is investigating allegations that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a group pushing the minimum-wage ballot initiative, fraudulently changed party affiliations on voter-registration applications.” (Dara Kam, “Voter Registration Process Causes Concern,” The Palm Beach Post, 10/7/04)

 

In One Florida County, “The Majority Of The Late Registration Forms, Including More Than 2,100 In Pinellas, Came From ACORN.” “More than 2,500 Pinellas County residents and another 1,500 Hillsborough residents who thought they had registered for the Aug. 31 primary were notified they couldn’t vote because the groups that helped them register failed to turn in their applications on time. The majority of the late registration forms, including more than 2,100 in Pinellas, came from ACORN.”  (Tom Zucco, “Activist Group Blamed For Voter Roll Goofs,” St. Petersburg Times, 10/4/04)

 

  • Supervisor Of Elections Says ACORN’S Late Submissions “Absolutely Unacceptable.” “‘This is a big deal,’ said Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson. ‘It’s critical that people understand that they have to submit registrations on a timely basis.’  Johnson called ACORN’s actions ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and said registering to vote through a political party or activist group is not as certain as dealing directly with the supervisor’s office.”  (Tom Zucco, “Activist Group Blamed For Voter Roll Goofs,” St. Petersburg Times, 10/4/04)

 

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Charles Schuh Was Fraudulently Registered By ACORN.  “About a week after Jean Schuh got a phone call from ACORN, Charles Schuh received a letter from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office saying it had received his application form ‘as part of a voter registration drive’ and that the form was sent in too late to allow him to vote in the Aug. 31 primary.  As Charles Schuh later put it, ‘They picked the wrong person to mess with.’  A St. Petersburg attorney, Schuh served six years on the City Council and was the city’s mayor from 1975-77. Schuh tried unsuccessfully to contact ACORN, and then took the letter and his voter registration card to the supervisor of elections.  He was shown the ACORN application form. Much of the information was wrong.  ‘And that was certainly not my signature,’ Schuh said. ‘I told them it was a blatant case of voter fraud and forgery, and someone ought to be taken to task for that.’” (Tom Zucco, “Activist Group Blamed For Voter Roll Goofs,” St. Petersburg Times, 10/4/04)

 

Michigan

 

Detroit Free Press Editorial Scolds PIRGIM And Project Vote.  “Officials describe instances of pretty obvious fraud, produced, it would appear, by people motivated by money rather than the noble cause of engaging more citizens in democracy. At least four Michigan counties have been alerted about attempts to add fraudulent, duplicative or otherwise phony names to the voter rolls. … Officials of two of the organizations conducting voter registration drives, PIRGIM -- the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan -- and Project Vote say only a handful of collectors and a relatively small number of registrations are at issue.  Perhaps so, but the integrity of a system is at stake.”  (Editorial, “Voter Fraud: Phony Registrations Are Yet Another Blow To System,” Detroit Free Press, 9/27/04)

 

  • Project Vote And PIRGIM Submitted Apparently Fraudulent Applications.  “Representatives from two groups whose workers have submitted apparently-fraudulent applications -- the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM) and Project Vote -- downplayed the issue Wednesday, insisting that it involved only a handful of workers and a limited number of registrations.” (Dawson Bell, “Campaign Workers Suspected Of Fraud,” Detroit Free Press, 9/23/04)

 

o        Project Vote/ACORN Director Claimed Low Error Rate.  “Project Vote’s [national director David] Leland said workers from the offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which are collecting registrations in Michigan, had produced nearly 70,000 new registrations with a very low error rate.” (Dawson Bell, “Campaign Workers Suspected Of Fraud,” Detroit Free Press, 9/23/04)

 

Minnesota

 

Former Minnesota ACORN Employee’s Car Contained Hundreds Of Voter Registration Cards In Trunk.  “When police at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport stopped a man for running a stop sign late last month, they found an unusual stash in his car trunk: More than 300 voter registration cards that had been filled out but never submitted to the Minnesota secretary of state. The motorist allegedly told police that he was an ex-employee of ACORN…”  (Patrick Sweeney, “Stash Of Voter Cards Probed,” Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 10/8/04)

 

  • Charged With Felony For Not Turning In Cards.  “A man arrested in late September with more than 300 completed voter registration cards in the trunk of his car was accused Friday of committing a felony offense for allegedly failing to turn in the cards to election officials promptly.” (Patrick Sweeney, “Voter Registration Cards Bring Felony Charge,” Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 10/16/04)

 

  • Same Ex ACORN Employee Faces Felony Drug Charges And Misdemeanor Shoplifting Charge.  “The man stopped at the airport is Joshua Reed, 19, of St. Louis Park. He faces two unrelated criminal charges, a felony drug case in Hennepin County and a misdemeanor shoplifting case being prosecuted by the St. Louis Park city attorney.”  (Patrick Sweeney, “Stash Of Voter Cards Probed,” Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 10/8/04)

 

  • Worker Said He Was Fired For Copying Cards, But ACORN Disputed Claim.  “Much of what is publicly known about the case comes from a memo written by Bert Black, a legal analyst in Kiffmeyer’s office. In the memo, Black said investigators told him that Reed ‘indicated he had been fired from ACORN for making copies of the cards.’ Becky Gomer, the head organizer in Minnesota for ACORN, denied that Reed was discharged for copying cards. ‘That’s absolutely not true,’ she said.  She said Reed was one of a number of canvassers whom ACORN paid $1 for each new voter registration they secured and, she said, ACORN supervisors discharged him because representatives of the county attorney warned ACORN that they suspected he was registering some voters twice to double his fee. ‘So we let him go,’ she said.”  (Patrick Sweeney, “Stash Of Voter Cards Probed,” Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 10/8/04)

 

Missouri

 

St. Louis Elections Board Investigating More Than 1,000 Suspicious Voter Registration Cards Turned In By ACORN Workers.The St. Louis Election Board has discovered more than 1,000 suspicious new voter registrations from a pile of more than 5,000 turned in by a local activist group. And board employees expect to uncover more, since more than a third of the targeted voter-registration cards have yet to be examined. All the registrations had been collected by local workers employed by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- also known as ACORN. The group conducted a voter-registration drive all summer and turned in the cards last month. The group sent in another batch of 500 voter-registration cards this week that also are suspect, said Keena Carter, the Election Board’s deputy Democratic director. Many were filled by people who gave addresses in Illinois or elsewhere in Missouri, she said.” (Jo Mannies, “Voter Registration Fraud Dogs City,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/19/03)

 

Kansas City Chapter Of ACORN Fired “Five Or Six Employees” For Submitting Fraudulent Voter Registrations.  “The Kansas City chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which works primarily with inner-city residents, gives its paid staffers a quota of 20 voter registrations during a five-hour period and pays a bonus of $1.50 per registration for each voter above that, said Andrew Ginsberg, ACORN’s head organizer in Kansas City.  But the bonuses can also provide an incentive to cheat.  Ginsberg said his group has fired five or six employees - and turned their names over to police - for submitting fraudulent voter registrations. In one case, an employee simply made up names. In other cases, employees were intentionally double-registering people, Ginsberg said.”  (David A. Lieb, “Political Groups Using Incentives To Encourage Voter Registration,” The Associated Press, 6/27/04)

 

New Mexico

 

Voter Not On List Blames Joking ACORN Employee For Not Submitting Registration Card.  “Ingrid Bober, who lives in North Albuquerque Acres, said she waited in line for more than two hours Saturday to cast a ballot at an early voting site in Northeast Albuquerque. She said she never voted because election workers said she wasn’t on the list of registered voters.  Bober said a campaign worker registered her to vote at Cottonwood Mall in February. She now believes that worker never turned in her card, possibly because she is a Republican. In fact, Bober said, the worker – who wore an ACORN button – joked about Bober being a Republican.  (Dan McKay and Andy Lenderman, “County’s Early-Polling Places ‘Slammed’ With Voters, Calls” Albuquerque Journal, 10/19/04)

 

ACORN Registration Forms Found In Apartment During Drug Bust.  “A search of a northeast Albuquerque apartment as part of a drug investigation led to the discovery of about a dozen voter registration forms, police said. The forms were filled out and had dates from late last month, Albuquerque police said. Authorities had not determined the authenticity of the forms.  The occupant of the apartment, a Cuban national, was arrested on drug charges. He told authorities he obtained the documents while working for the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now or ACORN.”  (“Albuquerque Police Find Voter Registration Forms At Albuquerque Apartment,” The Associated Press, 10/16/04)

 

Two Bernalillo, New Mexico, County Teenagers – Aged 13 And 15 – Received Voter Registration Cards In Mail. “Glen Stout was surprised when his son’s first voter-registration card arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. After all, his son is only 13. What’s more, the Postal Service delivered two more voter cards to Stout’s Albuquerque residence – for a 15-year-old who lives across the street. The puzzling cards are an example of the problems election workers are facing this election as they deal with thousands of voter-registration forms that are being filed each week with the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office.” (Dan McKay, “Kids Find Themselves Registered To Vote In Bernalillo County,” Albuquerque Journal, 8/20/04)

 

  • Teenager’s Father Later Joined Lawsuit To Require Identification Upon Registering.  (Heather Clark, “Albuquerque Man Joins Voter Registration Lawsuit,” The Associated Press, 8/25/04) 

  • Father And Representative Thompson Show Proof Of ACORN Fraudulent Form.  “On Tuesday, Stout and [Rep. Joe Thompson] stood outside ACORN’s door at 411 Bellamah Ave. N.W. and blamed the group for faulty voter registration cards.  ‘We have proof,’ Thompson declared.  Part of that proof, they say, includes a copy, produced by Thompson, of young Stout’s voter registration form, turned in by Christina Gonzales, a former ACORN employee.”  (Shea Andersen, “More Glare On Voter Sign-Ups,” Albuquerque Tribune, 8/25/04)

 

ACORN Leader Pleaded The Fifth In New Mexico Court Case.  “Matthew Henderson, of the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now, or ACORN, did not answer— under his lawyer’s advice— when asked about ACORN’s handling of voter registration forms.”  (Andy Lenderman, “Fight Over Voter ID Heats Up” Albuquerque Journal, 9/19/04)

 

In 2002, ACORN Admitted Submitting “Numerous Flawed Voter Registration Cards To The Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office,” But Said Clerk’s Office Requires Them To Submit Flawed Cards. “Jaime Diaz has been through this before. The Bernalillo County Bureau of Elections administrator has an inch-thick file on one of the county’s most aggressive voter-registration groups ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. In his file are hundreds of examples of new voter-registration cards, filed in 2002 by ACORN workers, that contain errors or mistakes. The community organizing group, which has offices across the country, acknowledged Friday that it has turned in numerous flawed voter registration cards to the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office. ACORN does so, officials said, because it was asked to by the Clerk’s Office. ‘We find problems with our cards because we fraud-check every card,’ said Matthew Henderson, head organizer with ACORN in New Mexico. ‘But the county clerk insists we turn in every one. ‘We could have someone fill out a card that says ‘Mickey Mouse’ on it and we’d have to turn it in,’ Henderson said. The problematic cards are creating headaches for Diaz and his staff, and concern for Bernalillo Sheriff Darren White. … To date, Bernalillo County has received thousands of new voter registration cards. According to a review of the county clerk’s log books, ACORN leads the way on requesting blank voter registration cards to fill out. Henderson estimates that his group has filed about 25,000 new voter registration forms this year. It does so with paid staff members who are given bonuses for turning in extra voter forms. Seana Silver, a crew leader with ACORN, said Friday the typical ACORN voter registration worker earns $8 per hour. Workers who register 24 voters in a day get a $50 bonus for that day’s work. On Friday she turned in 301 new voter registrations for the group. County workers immediately identified three with discrepancies in them. ‘Whenever there is a massive voter education effort, there could be some problems with some cards,’ said Helene O’Brien, a national field director for ACORN.” (Shea Andersen, “Flawed Voter Sign-Ups Piling Up,” Albuquerque Tribune, 8/7/04)

 

North Carolina

 

ACORN Under Investigation In North Carolina; One Worker “Faked Over 70 Registrations.”  “As many as 60,000 voters may be registered to cast ballots in both Carolinas -- and officials aren’t checking. … N.C. officials are currently investigating two groups that appear to have submitted fake voter registration cards, including an organization in Charlotte. An advocacy group known as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations For Reform Now) has had trouble across the country because it pays workers to register voters, and some have decided to pad their work.  The group’s chief organizer in Charlotte discovered a few weeks ago that one worker had faked about 70 registrations. The employee was fired and the information turned over to the state board, which is investigating.  A similar problem with a consumer-interest group in Wake County -- in which a 15-year-old boy was among those signed up to vote -- was also turned over to state officials.” (Scott Dodd And Ted Mellnik, “Voters Found On Both N.C., S.C. Rolls,” The Charlotte Observer, 10/24/04)

 
Ohio

 

ACORN And Other Group Registrations In Franklin County, Ohio, Include Dead Person, 25 Addresses For The Same Man, And Suspected Terrorist.  “Hundreds of cases of suspected election fraud are under review in Franklin County. … One application being examined was signed in the name of a man who passed away in February. Another 25 applications show different addresses for the same man. Six of the suspicious forms were submitted by representatives of the Columbus Urban League, while 62 others came from ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. … And you might recognize the name of Nuradin Abdi.  He’s a native of Somalia charged with plotting to blow up a Columbus mall. ‘As far as board of elections is concerned, Abdi is a registered voter,’ board of elections director Matt Damschroeder said. We now know according to federal officials, he’s an illegal alien.  That would mean he can’t legally vote.  But the Franklin County Board of Elections had no way of checking that when they sent him a voter registration card early this year.” (“Suspected Terrorist Registered To Vote In Franklin County,” WBNS-TV, http://www.10tv.com, Accessed 10/23/04)

 

Similar Handwriting And False Addresses Found On ACORN Cards In Hamilton County, Ohio.  “Hamilton County election officials will meet this morning to discuss 19 voter registrations for people who may not exist, which would be a rare case of election fraud. … Board of Elections Director John Williams subpoenaed those named on the voter registration cards after similar handwriting and false addresses raised election workers’ suspicions. The sheriff’s department could not find them, he said. The cards were turned in, Williams said, by someone affiliated with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a group that represents low-income people.”  (Cindi Andrews, “Alleged Fraudulent Voter Cards Scrutinized,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/8/04)

 

ACORN Turned In Registration Cards Past Deadline In Columbus, Ohio.  “Officials in Columbus are also investigating possible improprieties by an ACORN worker there. … [ACORN employee Dierdre] Murch said she took 526 new voter registrations to the board of elections late Thursday that the group found in a mismarked box and are asking the board to accept even though the deadline was Monday.” (Cindi Andrews, “Alleged Fraudulent Voter Cards Scrutinized,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/8/04)

 

ACORN Was Forced To Fire Workers After Several “Blatantly False” Voter Registration Forms Were Filed With Elections Officials In Columbus, Ohio.Two workers with a voter registration drive have been fired over several dozen forms submitted to Franklin County elections officials that were duplicates or had false information, the group’s organizer said. The Columbus branch of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, also agreed Wednesday to perform extra checks on forms turned in by its voter-registration workers before submitting them to the Franklin County Board of Elections. Group organizer Katy Gall said the problems were traced through initials on registration cards to three workers. The third worker already had quit. Gill also said the group will cooperate with prosecutors if authorities want to charge the workers. … ACORN representatives met Wednesday with Board of Elections officials and pledged to educate employees, require them to wear identification and check all new registrations before submitting them to the county, board director Matthew Damschroder said. ACORN has about 40 workers in the city. The county typically finds fewer than a dozen false registrations a year, he said. Damschroder said several ‘blatantly false’ forms were turned in by the voter registration effort, in which the nationwide Project Vote uses local ACORN offices to collect registrations. Workers paid $6.25 hourly have registered 23,000 new voters in the county since fall. Some forms have an existing voter’s name with the wrong birth date and Social Security number, and some list fake first names the same last name and address of an existing voter. The board also found forgeries when comparing forms with the images of signatures on file for more than 750,000 Franklin County voters, said Libbie Worley, manager of voter services.” (“Two Voter Registration Drive Workers Fired Over Fake Forms,” The Associated Press, 6/3/04)

 

Warrant Issued For Ohio ACORN Employee Who Forged Signature On Voter Registration Form.  “A warrant was issued for a parolee accused of forging a signature on a voter registration form, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said Tuesday. … Dooley was employed by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, associated with the nonprofit Project Vote, a national group that registers low-income and minority voters, O’Brien said.”  (“Warrant Issued For False Registration,” The Associated Press, 9/7/04)

 

Pennsylvania

 

Berks County Official Received Calls From Citizens Stating ACORN Deliberately Putting Inaccurate Info On Forms. “[Berks County Director of Elections V. Kurt] Bellman said his office has had numerous calls from people who were registered through a group called the Association Communication Organization for Reform Now (ACORN), complaining that those taking down the voter information deliberately put inaccurate information on the form.”  (Sharon Spohn, “Voter Fraud Suspected In Registration Deluge,” The Mercury, 10/8/04)

 

Wisconsin

 

Four Project Vote/ACORN Members Had Registrar Status Revoked In Wisconsin. “Acting Racine City Clerk Carolyn Moskonas revoked the registrar status of the four Project Vote workers and requested the investigation by the district attorney’s office. She said she was concerned about the irregularities but emphasized that the deputy registrar generally has worked well for years.”  (Tom Kertscher, “Registration Fraud Takes Advantage Of Security Rules,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/3/04)

 

  • Project Vote/ACORN Member Didn’t Meet With People Whose Voter Registration Applications He Signed.  “In Racine, the district attorney’s office is investigating seven voter registration applications filed by Project Vote in the names of people who said the group never contacted them. The applications had been filed by Project Vote workers who were certified by Racine as deputy registrars. They completed a city clerk’s office class on how to register voters and took an oath to work honestly. Fired Project Vote worker Robert Marquise Blakely of Milwaukee told the Journal Sentinel last week that he had not met with any of the people whose voter registration applications he signed, an apparent violation of state law.”  (Tom Kertscher, “Registration Fraud Takes Advantage Of Security Rules,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/3/04)

 

Project Vote/ACORN Cards Under Investigation For Potentially Forged Signatures In Wisconsin.  “A group that says it has registered 30,000 voters in southeastern Wisconsin could face a criminal investigation because of voter registration applications that may have been filed fraudulently.  Acting Racine City Clerk Carolyn Moskonas said Tuesday she will ask the district attorney’s office to investigate at least six voter registration applications filed by Project Vote.    Moskonas said that in each of the six potential fraud cases, the people named on the Project Vote applications told her office they had not signed the forms and had not been contacted by any voter registration drives.”  (Tom Kertscher, “Voter Registration Drive Comes Under Scrutiny,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/28/04)

 

ACORN’s Funding

 

ACORN Has Multiple Components With Different Tax Designations:

 

  • ACORN Is Organized As 501(c) 4 Group. (Capital Research Center Website, www.capitalresearch.org, Accessed 8/6/04)

 

  • Project Vote, ACORN’s Voter Registration Component, Is Listed As A 501(c) 3 Group. (Project Vote Website, http://projectvote.org, Accessed 8/6/04)

 

o         Project Vote’s Website Notes That It Has 501(c) 3 Tax Status Because It Is “Non-Partisan” And Doesn’t “Help Candidates Or Parties.” “Project Vote is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible – because we don’t help candidates or parties. We do remind new voters that the candidates they elect make government policy that impacts their lives.” (Project Vote Website, www.projectvote.org, Accessed 8/6/04)

 

o        Project Vote, Which Spent $1 Million In 2000, Expected To Spend $16 Million In 2004. (Michael Moss and Ford Fessenden, “Interest Groups Mounting Costly Push To Get Out Vote,” The New York Times, 10/20/04)

 

501(c) 4, 5 & 6 Organizations Are Not Required To Publicly Disclose Their Contributors.  These organizations are required to disclose their donors to the IRS but not to the public.  They file IRS Form 990 annually, which requires disclosure of revenues, total political spending and other financial and organizational information.  The three most recent Form 990s must be made publicly available by these organizations.  The deadline for filing Form 990 is 5 months and 15 days after the end of an organization’s fiscal year.  (IRS Charitable Organizations Website, http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/index.html, Accessed 10/7/03; Call To IRS, 10/5/03)

 

ACORN Claims To Be 80 Percent Self-Sufficient, Deriving Majority Of Funds From Members’ Dues, Raffles And Other Events. “ACORN’s membership pays for the organization. Knowing that a poor people’s organization can’t rely on outside support, ACORN has always been committed to the principle of financial self-sufficiency. The organization is now 80% self-sufficient, deriving its funds primarily from members’ dues, raffles, ad sales, dinners, and other events.” (ACORN Website, www.acorn.org, Accessed 8/6/04)

 

According To Capital Research Center, ACORN Has Accepted Hundreds Of Thousands From A Wide Range Of Foundations And Corporations:

 

Corporate Grants

 

Grantmaker                      Amount      Year

 J.P. Morgan & Company                      $10,000             1998

Chase Manhattan                                   $100,000           1995

 

Foundation Grants

 

Grantmaker                                          Amount            Year

California Endowment                            $248,200           2002

California Wellness Foundation              $200,000           2002

James Irvine Foundation                        $105,000           2002

Rosenberg Foundation                          $50,000             2002

Meyer Memorial Trust                            $35,000             2002

Minneapolis Foundation                         $25,000             2002

New York Community Trust                    $11,000             2002

James Irvine Foundation                        $450,000           2001

Annie E. Casey Foundation                   $60,000             2001

Rosenberg Foundation                          $55,000             2001

Public Welfare Foundation                     $45,000             2001

New York Community Trust                    $40,000             2001

Open Society Institute                            $25,000             2001

Annie E. Casey Foundation                   $20,000             2001

Evelyn & Walter Jr. Fund Haas               $20,000             2001

New York Community Trust                    $13,600             2001

Prince Charitable Trusts                         $10,000             2001

Annie E. Casey Foundation                   $65,000             2000

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation          $60,000             2000

Surdna Foundation                                $50,000             2000

Rosenberg Foundation                          $50,000             2000

New York Community Trust                    $45,000             2000

Annie E. Casey Foundation                   $45,000             2000

Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund            $25,000             2000

Annie E. Casey Foundation                   $20,000             2000

Public Welfare Foundation                     $20,000             2000

San Francisco Foundation                     $20,000             2000

Evelyn & Walter Jr. Fund Haas               $20,000             2000

James Irvine Foundation                        $150,000           1999

California Wellness Foundation              $100,000           1999

Public Welfare Foundation                     $90,000             1999

Rosenberg Foundation                          $50,000             1999

Annie E. Casey Foundation                   $30,000             1999

Public Welfare Foundation                     $30,000             1999

Saint Paul Foundation                            $25,000             1999

Albert A. List Foundation                        $25,000             1999

Annie E. Casey Foundation                   $25,000             1999

Public Welfare Foundation                     $20,000             1999

Scherman Foundation                            $15,000             1999

Evelyn & Walter Jr. Fund Haas               $15,000             1999

Boston Foundation                                $12,500             1999

Boston Foundation                                $12,500             1999

Saint Paul Foundation                            $10,000             1998

Bell Atlantic Foundation                         $5,000              1998

BankBoston Charitable Foundation         $50,000             1996

BT Foundation                                       $1,000              1996

Chase Manhattan Foundation                 $40,000             1995

BankAmerica Foundation                       $115,000           1994

BankBoston Charitable Foundation         $23,000             1994

 

(Capital Research Center Website, www.capitalresearch.org, Accessed 8/8/04)



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