John Fund on voter fraud

John Fund, who has been bird-dogging ACORN, reports on more instances of fraud and provides an interview with Anita MonCrief, former ACORN worker.

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.

Fund reports on one of the Ohio scandals

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.

Here is a factoid I did not know but provides an “aha” moment.

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.

Speaking of Ohio, here is one more example of someone out of state voting in Ohio, this time in Cincinnati.
(h/t Charles Martin on the Cinci voter)

Former staffer claims ACORN and Obama cooperated to raise donations

Via Michelle Malkin:
She said, he said…

HARRISBURG — A former staffer for an affiliate of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now testified today that the organization was provided a “donor list” from the presidential campaign of Barack Obama in late 2007 for fundraising efforts.
Anita Moncrief, a former Washington, D.C. staffer for Project Vote, which she described as a sister organization of ACORN, said her supervisor told her the list of campaign contributors came from the Obama campaign. Moncrief said she has a copy of a “development plan” that outlines how Obama contributors who had “maxed out” under federal contribution limits would be targeted to give to Project Vote, and that it was her job to identify such contributors.

The Obama campaign denies any coordination.

ACORN – Does the right hand know what the left is doing?

The New York Times woke up and published a story regarding ACORN that speaks to the kinds of problems that ACORN watchers have been discussing.
Project Vote and ACORN are so closely tied together that it seems difficult to say Project Vote hasn’t done partisan work. In addition, the Consumers Rights League has sworn affidavits from 4 former ACORN workers accusing ACORN Housing of funneling money to ACORN’s voter registration efforts.
The Times article is based on an internal report filed by Elizabeth Kingsley. In reviewing how ACORN actually functions, she found reasons for concern.

The June 18 report, written by Elizabeth Kingsley, a Washington lawyer, spells out her concerns about potentially improper use of charitable dollars for political purposes; money transfers among the affiliates; and potential conflicts created by employees working for multiple affiliates, among other things.

Ms. Kingsley’s concerns about the way Acorn affiliates work together could fuel the controversy over Acorn’s voter registration efforts, which are largely underwritten by an affiliated charity, Project Vote. Project Vote hires Acorn to do voter registration work on its behalf, and the two groups say they have registered 1.3 million voters this year.
As a federally tax-exempt charity, Project Vote is subject to prohibitions on partisan political activity. But Acorn, which is a nonprofit membership corporation under Louisiana law, though subject to federal taxation, is not bound by the same restrictions.

Barack Obama said on his website that he never organized for ACORN but he did for Project Vote. This report provides rationale for those who say Obama is splitting hairs.

ACORN whistleblowers come forward: Housing funds were spent on political organizing

The Consumers Rights League today released two affidavits from former ACORN employees. Both disclose that federal funds intended to support ACORN housing efforts went instead to fund ACORN’s partisan politcal activities.
From the group’s website:

Washington, Oct 15 – Today, the Consumers Rights League (CRL) released more damning evidence that the housing operations of ACORN are illegally used to support the organization’s political operations. According to documents detailing the accounts of former ACORN Housing Corporation employees, the group allegedly misused funds and may have hidden activities from federal authorities.

The affidavits are on the CRL website.
The affidavits accuse ACORN of unethical and illegal activities. The individuals are prepared to testify against ACORN in court.
Other former ACORN employees came forward in July, 2008.

Evidence ACORN and Citizens Services Inc. are not separate entities

Ok, bear with me here. This is getting into the minutia…
In a prior post, I linked to an email from ACORN which issued a call for people to work for ACORN and get out the vote for Obama in the Ohio primary. The recruits were not to call the Obama campaign but to apply directly to ACORN. Here is the email from a blog post dated February 21, 2008:

GOTV for Obama! Ohio ACORN is doing a Get Out The Vote project with the OBAMA Campaign. Ohio ACORN is hiring canvassers to go door to door encouraging voters to vote for Barack Obama.
ACORN is hiring in Cleveland (216)431-3905, Columbus (614)425-9491, Cincinnati (513)221-1737, for Dayton (call Cincinnati), and for Toledo call Cleveland. Or email polnatoh@acorn.org and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate person in each of these cities. Intake and training will be held daily at local ACORN offices. Canvass begins on Wednesday Feb. 27th and will work through election day. Please, only persons wishing to work all or most of these days (Saturday and Sunday included) should inquire.
Please do not contact the Obama campaign directly regarding this post as they are not the organization doing the hiring and it will only distract their staff and volunteers from the other important work they are doing on behalf of Senator Obama.

A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article details this activity paid for by the Obama campaign to the tune of over $800,000.

Obama is the CSI’s first national candidate, although the company has worked for several regional candidates in recent years, said Jeff Robinson, CSI’s executive vice president.
“Our contracts were relatively small for Obama,” he said, declining to specify amounts because of “proprietary” rights of CSI’s clients. The largest project for Obama was during the Ohio primary, he said.
“That was a very short-term contract for one week of work. In Ohio, they asked us to do canvasses in five cities statewide,” Robinson said.
The Ohio primary was March 4. According to FEC records, the Obama campaign paid Citizens Services Inc. $832,598.29, from Feb. 25 to May 17.

I wonder why the payments extended to May if they did only one week of work.
Later in the Trib-Review article, Citizens Services Inc., attempts to create distance from ACORN.

Sunday Alabi, an ACORN activist and spokesman in St. Paul, is one of CSI’s three-person board of directors. Alabi described CSI as a nonprofit consulting firm related to ACORN.
“I do not know the day-to-day work of what they do. I’m on the board,” Alabi said, referring other questions to [Jeff] Robinson, the executive vice president.
Robinson said CSI is a “not-for-profit political and campaign management firm, much like any political consulting firm.”CSI is not tax-exempt under any IRS code, he said. Without tax-exempt status, the organization isn’t bound by IRS restrictions for nonprofits on political activities.
“We have a wide range of clients. We provide political campaign management. We provide field services,” Robinson said. “Our clients are typically considered liberal. Our clients are labor unions, liberal to progressive candidates, nonprofit organizations on the liberal side of the political spectrum.”
In 2006, CSI collected all the signatures and managed successful statewide ballot measure campaigns in Missouri, Ohio, Colorado and Arizona to increase the minimum wage, he said. “We have a good reputation. We provide good services.”
Regarding CSI’s nonprofit status, Robinson said: “We are organized specifically not to make money, but we make money. There are no profits. We have a staff of 60 people around the country, and that eats up our entire profit. We’re not a for-profit corporation, but we are not a group like a United Way.”
CSI is a “separate organization entirely” from ACORN, he said.
“ACORN is a client of ours,” Robinson said. “ACORN has a lot of different partner organizations. We are a partner, but we are separate.”

If ACORN and CSI are separate, then why was ACORN Ohio recruiting for GOTV activities? If ACORN has tax exempt status (not completely sure on that) and receives taxpayer money for educational services (they do), then they should not be engaging in partisan activities. If these sources are accurate then they did do partisan activities in the Ohio primary. One wonders what they will be doing with taxpayer money in November.

Was ACORN involved with Obama campaign violations during the Democratic primary?

After I reported that Los Angeles NOW president Shelly Mandell endorsed Sarah Palin, I became curious about other prominent Clinton supporters who were crossing Democratic party lines and voting for McCain. One of the more striking endorsers is Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a member of the Democratic Platform Committee.
More digging led me to the PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass) and Just Say No Deal. These are people who worked for Hillary Clinton during the primaries but who have decided not to support Barack Obama in the general election.
One such Hillary supporter is Diane Mantouvalos. Ms. Mantouvalos manages the Just Say No Deal website and related activities. In speaking with her, she outlined some of her reasons she was not going to support Barack Obama.
In ideological terms, Ms. Mantouvalos sees the ascendance of Obama as a move from the center toward the far left. She said, “I do not believe Obama will abandon 20 years of socialist mentoring and govern from the center.” Centrist Democrats such as herself find John McCain more appealing than the liberal Obama.
Regarding the primary campaign, Ms. Mantouvalos pointed out that Obama ran a campaign that led to the Clinton camp filing complaints with state officials. For instance, here is a letter signed by Lyn Utrecht, Clinton campaign lawyer to the Nevada state Democratic party chair detailing multiple unethical tactics during the Nevada caucus.
The letter begins:

Dear Chair Derby:
I write on behalf of Hillary Clinton for President (”the Committee”) in regard to the January 19, 2008 Nevada Democratic Caucus. The Committee is aware of a letter addressed to you today from the Obama for America campaign requesting an inquiry into the conduct of the caucuses. The Committee shares the Obama campaign’s concern that full participation in the democratic process may have been compromised by the substantial number of irregularities occurring at the caucuses, and we fully support a complete inquiry by the Nevada State Democratic Party (the ”Party”) into all caucus improprieties.
This letter is not intended as a response to the Obama campaign’s letter. However, in the interest of a complete record, and in contrast to the alleged minor procedural problems noted by the Obama campaign, the Committee wishes to bring to your attention information we have received evidencing a premeditated and predesigned plan by the Obama campaign to engage in systematic corruption of the Party’s caucus procedures. Compounding this blatant distortion of the caucus rules was an egregious effort by the Obama campaign to manipulate the voter registration process in its own favor, thereby disenfranchising countless voters. Finally, the Committee has received a vast number of reliable reports of voter suppression and intimidation by the Obama campaign or its allies.

Ms. Mantouvalos says there is reason to believe that those allies were sometimes people involved with ACORN.
She noted that the FEC is investigating the $832,598.29 Obama paid to ACORN affiliate, Citizen Services, Inc., for various voter services. She said eyewitnesses saw Obama supporters bussed in to caucus locations from outside the area and that ACORN was often involved in the organizing.
In fact, acting on another tip, I looked for announcements calling for ACORN help in the OBAMA campaign. Here is a February 21, 2008 blog post from Writes Like She Talks which contains a call from ACORN for volunteers to work in the OBAMA campaign. None of this proves ACORN perpetrated any of the abuses listed by Utrecht but it does indicate that supposedly non-partisan ACORN has been involved in the OBAMA campaign.

GOTV for Obama! Ohio ACORN is doing a Get Out The Vote project with the OBAMA Campaign. Ohio ACORN is hiring canvassers to go door to door encouraging voters to vote for Barak Obama.
ACORN is hiring in Cleveland (216)431-3905 , Columbus (614)425-9491, Cincinnati (513)221-1737, for Dayton (call Cincinnati), and for Toledo call Cleveland. Or email polnatoh@acorn.org and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate person in each of these cities. Intake and training will be held daily at local ACORN offices. Canvass begins on Wednesday Feb. 27th and will work through election day. Please, only persons wishing to work all or most of these days (Saturday and Sunday included) should inquire.
Please do not contact the Obama campaign directly regarding this post as they are not the organization doing the hiring and it will only distract their staff and volunteers from the other important work they are doing on behalf of Senator Obama.
Good luck.

Furthermore, Newsmax is reporting that a total of 4 whistleblowers have come forward to claim that federal money given to ACORN’s housing affiliate has ended up supporting the voting initiatives. My understanding is that two new affidavits from former ACORN insiders will go up on the website of the Consumers Rights League today or tomorrow. What is at issue is whether taxpayer money has gone toward partisan political campaigning. There are many loose ends.
The number of states where ACORN is under investigation is now in the double-digits. Ms. Mantouvalos is concerned that what happened in the primaries may happen in some form in the election. One hopes that John Fund is not correct when he worries that election day may again turn into election month. However, if Ms. Mantouvalos and Ms. Utrecht’s concerns are accurate, we may indeed be in for painful process of sorting out who voted and how often they voted.
UPDATE: Another Ohio blog has the same email linking ACORN with the Obama campaign. Gateway Pundit has this link also with lots more on ACORN.

Obama an ACORN trainer? What does hired mean?

Barack Obama’s Fight the Smears website claims he was never hired to be a trainer for ACORN.
However, evidence is pointing the other way. Here is what the Obama website says:

The truth is that Barack was never a community organizer or trainer for ACORN, and he was never employed by ACORN in any other capacity.

However, conservative Cleveland Leader has uncovered an article saying otherwise.

Let’s take a look at a quote from a 2004 article – Case Study: Chicago- The Barack Obama Campaign – written by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago ACORN Leader, which was published in the journal Social Policy. Did we mention that Social Policy recently pulled this particular article from their website, while leaving links to all other articles up?

“Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5,000 of them).
Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends.

Not only does Foulkes boast of Obama’s ACORN leadership training, but also makes it clear that Obama’s post-law school organizing of “Project VOTE” in 1992 was undertaken in direct partnership with ACORN. The tie between Project VOTE and ACORN is also something that Obama and others have attempted to disprove in recent weeks as ACORN has come under fire for allegations of voter registration fraud.

This lengthy Chicago Reader article contains this description of Obama’s activities.

Another strong supporter of Obama’s work–as an organizer, as a lawyer, and now as a candidate–is Madeline Talbott, lead organizer of the feisty ACORN community organization, a group that’s a thorn in the side of most elected officials. “I can’t repeat what most ACORN members think and say about politicians. But Barack has proven himself among our members. He is committed to organizing, to building a democracy. Above all else, he is a good listener, and we accept and respect him as a kindred spirit, a fellow organizer.”
Obama continues his organizing work largely through classes for future leaders identified by ACORN and the Centers for New Horizons on the south side. Conducting a session in a New Horizons classroom, Obama, tall and thin, looks very much like an Ivy League graduate student. Dressed casually prep, his tie loosened and his top shirt button unfastened, he leads eight black women from the Grand Boulevard community through a discussion of “what folks should know” about who in Chicago has power and why they have it. It’s one of his favorite topics, and the class bubbles with suggestions about how “they” got to be high and mighty.

Sure sounds like he was a trainer.
Project Vote
Obama’s website also claims that ACORN was not a part of Project Vote. The Social Policy article suggests that ACORN was involved.
It occured in reading this that Obama’s camp might come back and say he volunteered his time to ACORN, that he was never “hired” as in for money. So far, I have seen no answer from the Obama camp. If anyone reading sees a response, let me know.
Obama’s website does not address a related matter. In 1996, he did ask for help from the socialist New Party for “voter education and voter registration” efforts.

Barack Obama, victor in the 13th State Senate District, encouraged NPers to join in his task forces on Voter Education and Voter Registration.

It is hard to comprehend that he wouldn’t ask ACORN to help out with Project Vote since voter registration is what ACORN is known for.
And at least now, Project Vote is a part of ACORN. See this Sweetness and Light post for details on the relationship between Project Vote and ACORN.
ACORN Obama
UPDATE: Gateway Pundit points out that the Obama campaign has altered the Fightthesmears website to make a play much in the way I suggested they might.

Obama supporters questioning ACORN?

I am going to write some more on this topic this week, but there are Obama supporters who are questioning the ACORN connections.
Read this exchange and see what you think.
In my conversations with former Hillary supporters, I am hearing that ACORN was active on Obama’s behalf during the primaries, with ACORN busing in outside people to caucuses.
Even if you agree with Obama’s policies, these ACORN issues seem reasonable to explore. I also think they are relevant to the current economic crisis given the lobbying ACORN has done to promote unhealthy mortgages.

ACORN under investigation in 10 states – Hillbuzz

Hillbuzz is reporting that Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) is under investigation for voter fraud in 10 states.
Clearly this is not a pro-Obama site to say the least but the blogger is citing inside information. The allegation of “many democrats involved” may be wishful thinking on the part of this blogger and we shall see if this is correct. It seem credible enough given the steady stream of disclosures involving ACORN – e.g., the ACORN group in Nevada that registered the Dallas Cowboys to vote. If ACORN affiliates have been engaging in fraud, then I am glad it is being discovered now.
Here is a video of John Fund who has investigated this group, talking about ACORN.