- The Washington Times - Friday, October 29, 2010

On Tuesday there’s a good chance “Mickey Mouse” will help bolster the vote count of Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak and other Democratic hopefuls across the country.

That’s because the sneaky left-wing advocacy group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is running an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort that inside sources told me probably has a budget north of $15 million. Reports of ACORN’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The group is still soliciting donations and is reorganizing state chapters under new names.

Project Vote, ACORN’s congenitally corrupt voter-mobilization arm, remains active even after ACORN claimed to have dissolved its national structure on April Fool’s Day. Whether formally or informally, Project Vote has been part of the ACORN network since at least 1992, when Project Vote leader Barack Obama’s masterful organizing skills helped elect former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois Democrat. Today, Project Vote quietly operates out of ACORN’s Washington, D.C., headquarters while it waits to emerge full force in time for the 2012 election.

One of Project Vote’s get-out-the-vote “partners” is a “new” ACORN group called Pennsylvania Neighborhoods for Social Justice (PNSJ), which is operating out of ACORN’s offices at 846 N. Broad Street in Philadelphia, according to its articles of incorporation.

Longtime ACORN national board member and Philadelphia ACORN President Carol Hemingway is on the board of PNSJ, which incorporated as a nonprofit in January. Another board member of the allegedly nonpartisan PNSJ is Lucille Prater-Holliday of Pittsburgh. She ran in the 2008 Democratic primary for the 24th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania state House.

In an unmistakable sign of the visceral contempt that Saul Alinsky-inspired community organizers have for America’s democratic institutions, Project Vote’s voter push is now headed by Amy Busefink. Ms. Busefink, a senior ACORN executive currently under indictment for conspiracy to commit felony voter-registration fraud, goes on trial Nov. 29 in Las Vegas. For the first time in its history, ACORN, the shell corporation that runs more than 300 affiliated nonprofits, is also charged with election fraud. The charges were laid following a joint investigation by Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, both of whom are Democrats.

The court will consider 26 felony counts of voter fraud and 13 of providing unlawful extra compensation to those registering voters. Nevada law bans such cash bonuses because they incentivize fraud. In the 2008 election cycle, the ACORN canvassers, many of whom were inmates on work release, allegedly received $8 to $9 an hour based on a quota of 20 voters per shift.

As Las Vegas Chief Elections Officer Larry Lomax said at the time, ACORN hired 59 guests of the state. Several of the jailbirds doing time for identity theft became ACORN supervisors. “That led some local wags to joke that at least ACORN was hiring specialists,” the Wall Street Journal noted.

Ms. Busefink is alleged to have been part of an illegal compensation scheme known as “Blackjack” or “21-plus” that gave canvassers a financial bonus for surpassing the daily quota. Her subordinate, Christopher Edwards, already pleaded guilty for his involvement in the illegal scheme and has turned state’s evidence.

Apart from allegedly condoning the plot, Ms. Busefink’s main qualification for her current post appears to be that she ran field operations for ACORN’s 2008 voter-registration program, which collected more than 1 million voter applications. The problem is that 400,000 of those applications “were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions,” the New York Times reported.

No one can say that ACORN senior managers lack expertise. Marxist theorist and activist Frances Fox Piven is on Project Vote’s board. The longtime ACORN ally was a leading proponent of the 1993 “Motor Voter” law, which opened the door to the never-ending election irregularities that have become routine today.

Americans had better keep an eye on the hotly contested Keystone State and the other states where Project Vote acknowledges it is working: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

Oh, wait. Project Vote does not acknowledge such widespread involvement in the 2010 elections. After I reported its voter drive a few days ago at Human Events Online, Project Vote scrubbed its site to delete much of the information in this column. Fortunately, I always make backup copies whenever I investigate the ACORN network.

Republicans are forecast to sweep at least the House on Nov. 2, but it remains to be seen if the results of races in those states will be “outside the margin of ACORN,” to borrow Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund’s expression.

Matthew Vadum is a senior editor at Capital Research Center.