October 28th, 2008
12:58 PM ET

Calls for felony investigation of ACORN

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/28/art.acorn.jpg]
Drew Griffin | BIO
CNN Investigative Correspondent

The Indiana secretary of state has not only found ACORN submitted hundreds and hundreds of fraudulent registration forms, but is now asking for investigations by the U.S. Attorney and the local prosecutor for possible felony violations by the group.

As we reported three weeks ago, the ACORN voter registration drive in northwest Indiana was fraught with problems, more than 2,000 voter registration forms turned in by ACORN were no good.

Now the Indiana secretary of state says his review of the ACORN submissions leads him to the opinion ACORN did indeed break the law. In a letter to the U.S. Attorney, the FBI and the local lake county prosecutor, Indiana’s republican secretary of state Todd Rokita says there is credible evidence that ACORN, “its officers, agents and employees, through direct action, conspiracy or inducement” – violated four Indiana state election laws, violated Indiana’s racketeer and corrupt organizations law, and violated federal election law.

ACORN has defended itself in the past saying it is required by law to turn in all registration forms, fraudulent or not.

The secretary of state says if ACORN knew they were fraudulent it should have turned them in to prosecutors along with evidence as to who committed the fraud...and says "simply put, complying with the law to submit legitimate applications does not allow ACORN officials to evade the law against knowingly submitting fraudulent applications."

ACORN sent us a statement through a public relations firm detailing its procedures in Indiana, admitting there were problems and that the group even shut down its Gary, Indiana office for three weeks.

But the group insists it followed the law in Indiana, and says: "as with all of our work, we defend our quality control procedures and look forward to cooperating with the County board of elections to prosecute those who have defrauded us."

The people who would prosecute so far aren’t talking. Both the U.S. Attorney in northern Indiana and the lake county prosecutors office have refused comment.

Filed under: Drew Griffin • Raw Politics • Voting • Voting issues
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    @ Stacy, thank you for your post! The article, DOES NOT QUITE tell the FULL STORY.

    Again ACORN is the blame, the evil one, etc. I welcome the investigation, that will God willing silence the far-right-hate-lies-fear-and-division mongers!

    TO THE REPUBLICAN I SAY: be careful because YOU are not so clean and perfect!

    A former-Republican operative who went to jail for voter tampering wrote a book called, "HOW TO RIG AN ELECTION" his name, Allen Raymond.

    One of the stories Mr. Raymond tells is of the Republicans hiring off-duty policemen wearing uniforms to simply stand outside of polling places in minority neighborhoods, to intimidate voters!

    Also, a man named, Mark Jacoby, whose firm was hired by the Republicans in California was arrested in Ontario (CA) on SUSPICION OF VOTER FRAUD.


    October 28, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  2. michael

    I just wanted to know why people are talking about Sarah Palin and the $150,000 in clothing, while Obama gave over $800,000 to Acorn which used there money for signing up dead people and using fake names to register them to vote? Also why don't you get more into acorn and what exactly do they do?

    October 28, 2008 at 6:57 pm |
  3. Ron Olson

    This can't happen soon enough Acron starting with good intent but greed took over

    October 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  4. Sara

    I wonder if Donna Brazile still thinks the ACORN issue is still just hype.

    October 28, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    If ACORN paid its volunteers on the number of applications they turned in then no wonder there were a bunch of fraudulent applications. This just invited fraud on what seems to be quite a large scale.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 28, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  6. Stacy

    Mr. Griffin,

    I continue to be perplexed by your reporting on this issue. You indicate that you reported three weeks ago that there were problems with voter registrations collected by ACORN in Indiana, yet as I recall, in the piece I saw you did not note that ACORN is required by law to turn in all registrations, even if they believe them phony.

    To your credit, this blog post does note that fact, though it makes your opening sentence quite suspect. ACORN themselves do their best to note which registration forms they believe are not credible. No one in their right mind believes that Mickey Mouse is really going to show up at the polls. I do not understand why you continue to insinuate something nefarious is underfoot. I realize that might be the better story, but at this point there is no evidence to support that fact.

    I am not criticizing that you have chosen to investigate ACORN at all. It is an organization that obviously might be better served to re-examine how they conduct their registration drives (a process you fail to note in this blog post). But your continued insistence on making unfair insinuations and your failure to fully analyze the politics behind these charges is, quite frankly, below the level of reporting I expect from CNN.

    October 28, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  7. Chris B

    This is a Repulican tactic and I bet after the election nothing and no one is prosecuted. I hope this was the last Republican run for the White House, they seem so antiquated.

    October 28, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  8. Ram, Minneapolis


    Kudos to you for having covered Palin's Alaskan misadventures, and the ACORN scandal. Somebody ought to come down with a heavy hand on the perpetrators of this scandal-ridden body and dole out befiiting penal action, forthwith. Their intolerable voter registration misdeeds and frauds should face a strict scrutiny and the responsible parties must be brought to justice.

    October 28, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  9. Frank

    Here's the truth. The workers at ACORN get paid to register voters. So this is about the workers committing fraud to get paid. This whole thing isn't about stealing elections. Last time I checked registering 50 times doesn't mean you get to vote 50 times. I'm curious to know if any of these fake registered voters marked Republican as their party.

    Here's the reality. NO organization can get 50, 500, 5,000, or 500,000 to vote more than once. I wouldn't be able to convince my own mother to vote twice. It's hard enough already to get out to vote once. You think any person would stand in line for an hours just to vote 2 or more times?

    I think not.

    October 28, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  10. Mike Bielamowicz

    Where is Jimmy Carter? He touts himself as the person around the world who makes sure elections are fair. Look at what he said about Venezuela. Twice I think. Maybe he should speak up about ACORN and the ties with the Democratic Party. Not all Republicans are innocent either. Both sides can be disruptive to the process. However, if we want our politicians to be fair, then they need to be brought to the carpet. Where is Jimmy Carter? Why hasn't he commented?

    October 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  11. sharon from Indy

    I understand the concern about inappropriate procedures in voter registration. I am not condoning it. But there is something else to think about.

    First, because of the Indiana Photo ID law, every fraudulent registration with a "bogus" name would not be able to vote because, well, the "bogus" person would have to show a government photo ID. But then again, if you vote by absentee ballot, Indiana doesn't require an ID. Whatever.

    Second, Didn't ACORN report the fraudulent submissions? They are working with the Indiana Secretary of State and the FBI. Yes, the right hand should have known what the left hand was doing. Yes, someone should be accountable.

    Third, was the ACORN problem isolated to only the Gary, Indiana, location? If so, yes, seek out the individuals that violated the laws. Otherwise, ACORN may still be a great organization that got caught up in the spin of the National Election.

    And finally, it is an election year in Indiana. This state is dominated by Republican leadership. If ACORN is associated with just a sliver of Barak Obama, the RNC will bounce on it. That may be the reason the government officials are not talking.

    Thanks for your report.

    October 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  12. JC- Los Angeles

    From nationwide mortgage fraud to nationawide voter fraud, now that didn't take long.

    Our nation has become one big fraudulent cesspool and unless people are held accountable for their actions, things will only get worse.

    I can just see another $700 billion being required to address universal healthcare fraud.

    October 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  13. Carol, CA

    Well, it's over. The Repubs win again. McCain has managed to use the old reliable fear tactics to convince people that Obama is a socialist, and that a relatively few fake registrations are fake votes.

    Forget the polls, the Republicans have won again. It's amazing that people are losing their jobs,losing their homes, losing their retirement, losing their medical benefits, but they are afraid to change. As soon as the Repubs pull out the old FEAR card, people fold. They would prefer an elderly,forgetful, angry ,old man and a clearly unqualified woman instead of taking a step forward with someone new.

    Welcome to America under a right-wing, conservative, theocracy. McCain will get us into a third war: probably with Syria or Iran – or both. We will all have to start thinking like Sarah: no rights for women, or minorities, no tolerance for anyone that doesn't think the way she does, no science education for kids, no help with global warming, but, hey, we can all huddle together in fear, right?

    October 28, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  14. Mike Bruno

    How about Felony investigations of our White collar criminals in Congress as well: like Biden, Obama, Reid, Dodd, Pelosi, Frank.
    Our 10% approval rating congress should be held accountable.

    October 28, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  15. Brian Jones

    I'm astounded that this organization is doing this across the country. I wonder who Mickey Mouse will be voting for in Florida. That's why I say thank you to Barbara West for her interview with Sen. Biden. There are many issues and questions that need to be answered by Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden. I wish more news programs asked these kinds of questions that everyday people worry about. It's just a shame that I had to go to Youtube to see the interview because other stations like CNN only wanted to focus on the interviewer and the questions and not let us here the responses by Sen. Biden.

    October 28, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  16. Cindy

    Thanks Drew for keeping us updated on ACORNS fraudulent ways. It looks like this go round that they aren't getting away with their tried and true cheating ways! Hopefully they'll be prosecuted to the max.

    What I want to know though is why are they still allowed to register voters when they continually have this same problem time and time again? They have even been convicted of voter fraud in the past..high up members not just run of the mill workers as they are trying to claim. So it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that they are letting this happen on purpose probably even encouraging it.


    October 28, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  17. Jim

    It is about time legal action has been taken against these thugs.

    October 28, 2008 at 1:16 pm |