Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Bush Orders DOJ to Probe Ohio Voter Registrations

Posted in Barack Obama, politics by allisonkilkenny on October 25, 2008

 

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record
Friday, October 24, 2008
President George W. Bush late Friday asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate whether 200,000 newly registered voters in the battleground state of Ohio would have to reconfirm their voter registration information, an issue the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on last week.
The unprecedented intervention by the White House less than two weeks before the presidential election may result in at least 200,000 newly registered voters in Ohio not being able to vote on Election Day if they are forced to provide additional identification when they head to the polls.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Bush Friday asking that he order the Department of Justice to probe the matter.

“I strongly urge you to direct Attorney General Mukasey and the Department of Justice to act.” Boehner said in his letter “Unless action is taken by the Department immediately, thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of names whose information has not been verified through the [Help America Vote Act] procedures mandated by Congress will remain on the voter rolls during the November 4 election; and there is a significant risk if not a certainty, that unlawful votes will be cast and counted. Given the Election Day is less than two weeks away, immediate action by the Department is not only warranted, but also crucial.”
Independent studies also have shown that phony registrations rarely result in illegally cast ballots because there are so many other safeguards built into the system.

For instance, from October 2002 to September 2005, a total of 70 people were convicted for federal election related crimes, according to figures compiled by the New York Times last year. Only 18 of those were for ineligible voting.

In recent years, federal prosecutors reached similar conclusions despite pressure from the Bush administration to lodge “election fraud” charges against ACORN and other groups seen as bringing more Democratic voters into the democratic process.

Some of the Bush administration prosecutors who refused to seek these indictments were then fired in 2006 as part of a purge of nine U.S. Attorneys deemed not “loyal Bushies.”

This “prosecutor-gate” scandal led to the resignations of several senior White House and Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Alberto GonzalesPresident Bush then asserted broad executive privilege to block testimony by Karl Rove and other top White House officials.

In a statement on his website, Boehner said starting today, “Ohio elections officials will begin removing ballots cast during the state’s early voting period from their identifying envelopes, eliminating any possibility of catching fraudulently cast ballots.”

“Franklin County officials yesterday tossed out a dozen fraudulently cast absentee ballots, and the Hamilton County prosecutor has appointed an independent counsel to investigate more than 200 ballots on which the name or address does not match to state records,” Boehner said. “Prosecutor Joe Deters has asked that at least the questionable ballots remain in their identifying envelopes until voter registration information can be confirmed.”

President Bush contacted Mukasey late Friday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, and requested he investigate. A report released earlier this month by the Justice Department’s inspector general said Bush “spoke with Attorney General Gonzales in October 2006 about their concerns over voter fraud.”

Federal investigative guidelines strongly discourage election-related probes before ballots are cast because of the likelihood that the inquiries will become politicized and might influence the election outcomes.

“In most cases, voters should not be interviewed, or other voter-related investigation done, until after the election is over,” according to the Justice Department’s guidelines for election offenses as revised in May 2007 during Gonzales’s tenure as Attorney General.

Even though those May 2007 guidelines watered down even stricter language in previous editions, the Gonzales-era rules still cautioned:

“Overt investigative steps may chill legitimate voting activities. They are also likely to be perceived by voters and candidates as an intrusion into the election. Indeed, the fact of a federal criminal investigation may itself become an issue in the election.”

In 2004, Ohio was the state where tens of thousands of votes cast on electronic voting machines intended for Sen. John Kerry, the 2004Democratic presidential candidate, were handed to Bush. Additionally, tens of thousands of voters were purged from voter registration rolls. Exit polls on election night 2004 showed Kerry leading Bush in many Ohio counties. Bush carried Ohio by 119,000 votes.

The Nov. 4 presidential election may very well boil down to Ohio if Mukasey’s DOJ gets involved.

At issue is a federal law that requires states to verify the eligibility of voters.

federal appeals court recently upheld a lower court ruling and ordered Ohio election officials to help counties set up a computer system to ensure the veracity of voter registrations.  

That would have required a total overhaul of the computer system just weeks before election and would have jeopardized as many as 200,000 voters, forcing them to cast provisional ballots that may go uncounted, Brunner said.

She said it was impossible to set up a new system or reprogram the existing one before the Nov. 4 election.

The appeals court ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed last month against Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner, a Democrat, by the Ohio Republican Party. The lawsuit claimed voter registration information for hundreds of thousands of new voters did not match up with official government data, such as social security records and driver’s licenses, and was evidence of voter registration fraud. More than 600,000 people registered to vote in the state in this election cycle.

But in court filings, GOP officials did not provide documentary evidence to back up their claims.

The Ohio Republican Party argued that the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a law that grew out of the disastrous 2000 election between Bush and Al Gore, required Brunner to share any voter registration discrepancies with county election boards so they can identify voter fraud prior to vote counts.

Republicans faulted Brunner for her “steadfast refusal to provide the HAVA “mismatch” data to the county boards of elections in a meaningful way.”

The Ohio GOP wanted Brunner to provide the lists of the newly registered voters whose voter registration information on did not match government records with 88 Ohio counties in an attempt to weed out voter registration fraud.

Republicans accused Brunner of violating federal election laws and that she was “actively working to conceal fraudulent activity.”

Brunner said the lawsuit was “politically motivated.” She said “misstated technical information or glitches in databases” was the explanation for some mismatched information on voter registration forms.

“Many of those discrepancies bear no relationship whatsoever to a voter’s eligibility to vote a regular, as opposed to a provisional, ballot,” Brunner said last week in a court filing. The mismatches “may well be used at the county level unnecessarily to challenge fully qualified voters and severely disrupt the voting process.”

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the case and, in a two-page unanimous opinion, dismissed the lower court’s ruling on a technicality. The justices said lawsuits “brought by a private litigant” could not be used to enforce states to abide by federal laws.
“We express no opinion on the question whether HAVA is being properly implemented,” the unsigned opinion said.  

In a statement, Boehner said he wants Mukasey to intervene and enforce Brunner to comply with HAVA and verify votes.  

The Court ruled that the a private entity did not have the legal standing to enforce federal laws, leading Boehner to ask Attorney General Mukasey to compel Brunner to comply, which would mean providing access to a computerized statewide database, as required under HAVA,” Boehner’s statement says.   

Rick DavisSen. John McCain‘s campaign manager, said Brunner is seeking to “minimize the level of fairness and transparency in this election.”

Various polling data show McCain’s opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, leading in Ohio by five to seven percentage points.

But Republicans, perhaps fearing a Democratic victory, have called into question the integrity of hundreds of thousands new voter registrations.

One of the most notable targets is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a grassroots group that has registered hundreds of thousands of new voters this year. ACORN is reportedly under federal investigation for engaging in what Republicans believe is a nationwide voter registration fraud scheme.

Trying to salvage his campaign, John McCain has jumped into the ACORN case, too, citing it at the third presidential debate. He declared ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

However, the investigations launched against ACORN – now including the reported involvement of the FBI – have raised other concerns, especially that Republicans are flogging this issue in an effort to stir up anger, to revive McCain’s campaign, and to intimidate new voters.

For its part, ACORN has insisted that its own quality control flagged many of the suspicious registration forms before they were submitted to state officials and that state laws often require outside registration groups to submit all forms regardless of obvious problems.

McCain Staffer Threatens to Arrest Journalist for Exposing Paid ‘Volunteers’

Posted in Barack Obama, politics by allisonkilkenny on October 25, 2008

Alternet.org

If there’s one thing both the McCain and Obama campaigns agree on it’s that the election will be close in Florida. The McCain campaign says it has more volunteers than the Democrats and that ultimately gives them the edge. McCain’s Central Florida Campaign Manger says ACORN and the Democrats have to rely on paid workers.

However, the McCain campaign is hiring paid workers who sometimes also call themselves volunteers. The UpTake’s Sam Mayfield talked to a few of them… and that’s when one McCain campaign worker decided you shouldn’t see what is going on and threatened to have her arrested.

More at www.theuptake.org 

View the video here

Or here

House GOP Leader Asks Bush to Cut Off ACORN Funds

Posted in ACORN, voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

 

It begins. Expect to see the GOP wage a full-blown war against ACORN, the last mobilizing force of poor minorities.

Yahoo News

WASHINGTON – House Republican leader John Boehner on Wednesday urged President Bush to block all federal funds to a grass-roots community group that has been accused of voter registrationfraud.

“It is evident that ACORN is incapable of using federal funds in a manner that is consistent with the law,” Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote Bush, saying that funds should be blocked until all federal investigations into the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now are completed.

ACORN, a group that has led liberal causes since it was formed in 1970, this year hired more than 13,000 part-time workers to sign up voters in minority and poor neighborhoods in 21 states. Some of the 1.3 million registration cards submitted to local election officials, using the names of cartoon characters or pro football players, were obviously phony, spurring GOP charges of widespread misconduct.

ACORN has said it was its own quality-control workers who first noticed problem registration cards, flagged them and submitted them to local election officials in every state that is now investigating them.

To commit fraud, a person would have to show up on Election Daywith identification bearing the fake name.

Local law enforcement agencies in about a dozen states are investigating fake registrations submitted by ACORN workers and theFBI is reviewing those cases.

Boehner said his office had determined that ACORN had received more than $31 million in direct federal funding since 1998. He said the group had likely received far more indirectly through federal block grants to states and localities. “Immediate action is necessary to ensure that no additional tax dollars are directed to ACORN while it is under investigation,” he wrote Bush.

Boehner said he and other Republicans were also asking the Justice Department to investigate ACORN’s connections to the home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying ACORN “appears to have played a key role in the irresponsible schemes that led to the current financial meltdown.”

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has asked if ACORN, which he accused of perpetuating voter registration fraud, was “destroying the fabric of democracy.” ACORN and other advocacy groups have suggested that Republicans are exaggerating the issue to keep the underprivileged, who tend to vote Democratic, from casting ballots.

McCain Campaign Paid Republican Operative Accused of Voter Fraud

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

 Oh, the irony. Accuse ACORN of voter fraud when you, yourself, have hired a shady operative to commit voter fraud on behalf of the GOP.

Hannah Strange
From Times Online
October 22, 2008  

Eating Your Votes Since 2004

Nathan Sproul: Eating Your Votes Since 2004

John McCain paid $175,000 of campaign money to a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states, it has emerged.

As the McCain camp attempts to tie Barack Obama to claims of registration irregularities by the activist group ACORN, campaign finance records detailing the payment to the firm of Nathan Sproul, investigated several times for fraud, threatens to derail that argument.

The documents show that a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party, made the payment to Lincoln Strategy, of which Mr. Sproul is the managing partner, for the purposes of “voter registration.”

Mr. Sproul has been investigated on numerous occasions for preventing Democrats from voting, destroying registration forms and leading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to leach the Democratic vote.

—–

In October last year, the House Judiciary Committee wrote to the Attorney General requesting answers regarding a number of allegations against Mr. Sproul’s firm, then known as Sproul and Associates. It referred to evidence that ahead of the 2004 national elections, the firm trained staff only to register Republican voters and destroyed any other registration cards, citing affidavits from former staff members and investigations by television news programmes.

One former worker testified that “fooling people was key to the job” and that “canvassers were told to act as if they were non-partisan, to hide that they were working for the RNC, especially if approached by the media,” according to the committee’s letter. It also cited reports from public libraries across the country that the firm had asked to set up voter registration tables claiming it was working on behalf of the non-partisan group America Votes, though in fact no such link existed.

Such activities “clearly suppress votes and violate the law,” wrote John Conyers, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The letter suggested that the Judiciary Department had failed to take sufficient action on the allegations because of the politicization of the department under the then-attorney general, John Ashcroft.

The career of Mr. Sproul, a former leader of the Arizona Republican Party, is littered with accusations of foul play. In Minnesota in 2004, his firm was accused of sacking workers who submitted Democratic registration forms, while other canvassers were allegedly paid bonuses for registering Bush voters. There were similar charges in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oregon and Nevada.

That year, Mr. Sproul’s firm was paid $8,359,161 by the Republican Party, according to a 2005 article in the Baltimore Chronicle, which claimed that this was far more than what had been reported to the Federal Elections Commission.

Mr. McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have been linking allegations of registration fraud by ACORN, the community group, to theObama campaign.

ACORN has been accused of registering non-existent voters during its nationwide drive, with reports of cartoon characters such as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse being signed up.

The organization insisted that these are isolated incidents carried out by a handful of workers who have since been dismissed.

However, the Republican nominee insists that the group is involved in fraudulent activities, noting that Mr. Obama, before leaving the legal profession to enter politics, was once part of a team which defended the organization. At last week’s debate, he said that ACORN was “perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history”, a claim which the Obama campaign says represents political smear.

The revelation of Mr. Sproul’s involvement with the McCain campaign – he has also donated $30,000 to the ticket and received at least another $37,000 directly from the RNC – could undermine his case.

“It should certainly take away from McCain’s argument,” Bob Grossfeld, an Arizona political consultant who has watched Mr. Sproul’s career closely, told the Huffington Post. “Without knowing anything of what is going on with ACORN, there is a clear history with Mr. Sproul either going over the line or sure as hell kicking dirt on it, and doing it for profit and usually fairly substantive profit.”

In May this year, both ACORN and Mr. Sproul were discussed at a hearing of the House subcommittee on commercial and administrative law. One Republican member, Congressman Chris Cannon, concluded: “The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.”

ACORN: They Took Our Nuts!

Posted in ACORN, Barack Obama, voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 20, 2008

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has come under recent scrutiny for their involvement in voter registration fraud. However, the accusation of “voter fraud” is misleading because the fraudulent forms in question were submitted to the government by ACORN. It takes a particularly dumb criminal to turn himself in…before a crime has actually been committed. Also, unless “Mickey Mouse” shows up to vote in November, the forged form with a voter registered as the famous Disney mouse remains an example of “registration fraud,” and not “voter fraud.” No vote has been cast, so no real harm has been done.

It is ACORN’s policy that any case of form fraud has to be flagged, reported, and delivered to the government, along with the employee who forged the document.

Because so many vicious rumors are circulating about the organization, here is first a brief summary of what ACORN does. The group is a grassroots organization that fights for basic citizen rights, such as the right for affordable housing and the right to vote. ACORN has led communities around the country to rally behind living wage ordinances. These ordinances often require employers to pay not just the minimum wage, but a living wage, which is an important distinction for anyone who has ever had to choose between buying their medicine and paying the heating bill.

ACORN has been very successful in helping to implement the “living wage standard.” More than 70 communities have now adopted this standard.

Lately, the media has focused on the voter registration sector of ACORN’s work. According to the organization, since 2004, ACORN has helped more than 1.7 million low- and moderate-income and minority citizens apply to register to vote. As we know by now, poor people overwhelming vote Democrat.

Some other ACORN tasks include fighting predatory lending, finding affordable housing for poor people (predominately black people and Hispanic people,) providing Katrina relief, improving public education, and fighting for stricter gun control laws.

It seems like a strange coincidence that ACORN, a group focused on community organization, regulation, and empowering poor citizens of color is now the focus of attacks from an administration famous for gutting government programs and neutering the public sector in favor of privatization.

The Bush administration gets a hard-on for profit. If any government job can be outsourced to the private market, the Bushies gut social spending, even if it ultimately means sacrificing quality of service. Just look at the basic example of the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. Caring for veterans is a staple service of any civilized government, and yet that job was outsourced to a private company. A five-year $120 million contract was given to a company called IAP, which was chaired by a former executive from Halliburton, the multi-national corporation where Vice President Dick Cheney once served as CEO.

Another example of the Bush administration’s preference for privatization over public service is the treatment of the U.S. Post Office. If you haven’t been to a public post office in a while, let me paint a picture for you: Imagine a leper colony post-nuclear annihilation. Under the Bushies’ watchful eyes, U.S. post offices facilities have closed and government jobs have been destroyed. Meanwhile, Bush reminds us that he’s a fan of deregulation, while he visits a FedEx facility.

No shit. Yet again, Bush chose profit over community. Now, the GOP is going after one of the largest community organizations in the country. Americans have come to expect this kind of cronyism and privatization and total negligence from the Bush administration, but citizens don’t seem to be connecting the dots when it comes to the ongoing harassment of ACORN.

Unknown parties have broken into ACORN’s Boston offices, and their workers have been threatened. Someone seems to want the entire organization to pack up and go home.

The perpetrators of these crimes have not been identified. Meanwhile, the GOP continues the discrediting process of ACORN. It does behoove the McCain campaign, and any future Republican campaign, to discredit ACORN, one of the largest voter registration organizations and low-income mobilization forces. If ACORN’s reputation is sullied now, it will be easier for Republicans to make the argument that more ACORN-provided registration forms should be tossed out in the future.

Getting rid of ACORN will be another feather in the Bush administration’s cap. This grassroots community organizing machines runs in direct conflict with the Bush dream of a privatized planet. ACORN demands housing regulation at a time when the Bush administration is still trying to clean up the mess from years of market deregulation. ACORN demands representation for poor minorities (who overwhelmingly vote Democrat) during a time when McCain is desperately clawing for votes in states that are normally Republican strongholds. ACORN demands good public schooling at a time when McCain is hollowing out schools with his vouchers that will effectively rob poor children of a chance at public, secular education and stick them in private classrooms with religious agendas.

In the midst of all this, ACORN has been labeled a terrorist group with suspicious motives. Is anyone surprised? No wonder the GOP is desperately trying to neuter ACORN before the group manages to mobilize some seriously pissed-off, poor people.

$5000 Reward for ACORN Break-In Info

Posted in ACORN, voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 18, 2008

From MCM:

Parties unknown (but working, no doubt, for a very well-known party) have lately broken into ACORN headquarters in Dorchester, MA and Burien, WA.

Velvet Revolution offers $5,000 for any information that will help identify the perpetrators of these black-bag jobs.

Please spread the word. We have to call attention to this thuggery, which Rove and all his men have used from the beginning. (Prior to the 2004 election in Ohio, there were break-ins in Akron and Toledo.)

EP10: The Debates, ACORN, and Other Government Lies

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on October 18, 2008

Allison and Jamie discuss the presidential debates, the myths surrounding ACORN, and other government lies.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “ EP10: The Debates, ACORN, and Othe…“, posted with vodpod

McCain Hearts ACORN! Was Keynote Speaker at Group’s 2006 Rally!

Posted in ACORN by allisonkilkenny on October 14, 2008

Brad Blog

Golly, for a group that’s committed so much “voter fraud” for so long (if you’re gullible enough to believe the lies that RNC/FNC has been telling you) it’s mighty strange that, as News One notes, “McCain attended an ACORN convention just two years ago.”

The once-honorable Republican’s campaign has even seen fit to produce a video smear ad, attempting to tar Obama with “associations” to ACORN, and alleging the group has committed “massive voter fraud” to boot! (They’ve yet to produce any actual evidence for that, unfortunately.)

But more than just attending the ACORN-sponsored February 2006 rally, ACORN confirms in a statement today that McCain was actually the keynote speaker!

So now, they wonder, why it is that McCain seems to have “lost that loving feeling?”

“It has deeply saddened us to see Senator McCain abandon his historic support for ACORN and our efforts to support the goals of low-income Americans. Maybe it is out of desperation that Senator McCain has forgotten that he was for ACORN before he was against ACORN,” noted Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer of ACORN.

“We expected Senator McCain to support our efforts to give voice to millions of Americans who have never participated in an election before,” she continued. “We are surprised at his efforts to vilify an organization that, until recently, he saw as an ally.”

Hmmm…So, why was John McCain “palling around with” an organization that “has violated more Americans’ civil rights to have their votes counted than any group since the KKK,” as described by noted Florida ‘vote-rigger’ and McCain surrogate Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Abramoff)? Or was Feeney speaking out of school? If so, we’ve yet to hear McCain condemning the outrageous remarks, or distancing himself from Feeney, the three time winner of CREW’s “Most Corrupt Members of Congress” Award.

Also, we can’t help but wonder, in regard to McCain’s meeting with ACORN…were there were any preconditions before he agreed to meet with them?