Are Mickey Mouse and Mary Poppins registered to vote in Nevada? In a Las Vegas courtroom last week, prosecutors found the fictional characters not guilty but convicted those impersonating them of voter fraud.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the radical left-wing activist group, was convicted in a massive voter-fraud conspiracy. It has been committing identify theft for decades.
ACORN pleaded guilty to unlawful “compensation” for registration of voters, a felony under Nevada law. The plea came after senior ACORN executives Amy Adele Busefink and Christopher Howell Edwards were convicted of providing cash bonuses to voter-registration canvassers for exceeding daily registration quotas. Campaign workers received cash if they registered 21 voters or more. Fittingly, the Las Vegas-based program was called Blackjack.
Mr. Mouse, Ms. Poppins and various celebrities living and dead have been registered to vote over and over again precisely because ACORN has been allowed to get away with polluting the nation’s voter rolls for so long.
Significantly, this is the first time ACORN itself, as opposed to its individual employees, has been convicted of a crime. The fact that the nonprofit entity was found guilty strongly suggests that ACORN’s ambitious voter-fraud schemes were sanctioned at the highest levels.
This is not the first time that ACORN has found itself in legal hot water.
Last year, ACORN settled a racketeering lawsuit in Ohio out of court and agreed to leave the state. In the settlement with the Buckeye Institute’s 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, ACORN agreed to “cease all Ohio activity” and surrender all its state business licenses.
As Judicial Watch reports, “The group has been busted for forging voter registration applications in key battleground states and submitting falsified forms in more than half a dozen others. In 2007, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State after seven workers were caught submitting about 2,000 fake registration forms.”
This is hardly an exhaustive list of ACORN’s wrongdoings.
So brazen is ACORN that its voter-registration arm, Project Vote, allowed Ms. Busefink to run its voter-mobilization campaign in the fall even while she was under indictment for election-related improprieties in Nevada. Amazingly, Project Vote, which used to employ President Obama, continues to operate unmolested in ACORN’s former Washington, D.C., headquarters.
Despite ACORN’s pending bankruptcy proceeding, the group continues to operate below the radar. ACORN has reinvented itself in more than a dozen states, separately incorporating state chapters under new names such as New England United for Justice and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
Investigators for House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, concluded that ACORN deliberately organized itself to escape legal and public scrutiny by hiding “behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate.”
ACORN should be subject to criminal investigation, he said, “to protect the American system of democratic self-government from manipulation and disruption; and to free our political climate from the choke of corruption that threatens to strangle free and fair elections.”
Mr. Issa’s researchers accuse ACORN of carrying out “a nationwide strategy of tax fraud, racketeering, money-laundering and manipulating the American electorate.” They say ACORN has engaged in racketeering, tax evasion, sloppy accounting, defrauding donors, defrauding the U.S. government, filing false statements, obstructing justice and plundering employee pension funds.
Yet Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who is openly disdainful of probing his liberal political allies, won’t lift a finger to investigate Mr. Obama’s former employer.
Perhaps an ongoing conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of the U.S. government isn’t important enough in Mr. Holder’s eyes.
Matthew Vadum is senior editor at Capital Research Center. His first book, “Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers,” will be published in mid-2011.