Remember ACORN, the far-left activist community organizing group that filed for bankruptcy a couple of years ago? That followed revelations that some members were advising pimps and prostitutes on tax evasion, not to mention operating houses of prostitution and smuggling underage girls into the country to work in the sex industry. The Democratic-dominated Congress voted in 2009 to ban ACORN from receiving federal funds. After ACORN’s bankruptcy filing, many of its local chapters remained intact by the simple expedient of reorganizing under different names. It’s the same tactic used by fly-by-night rug merchants and disreputable used car dealers to stay one step ahead of the law.
Readers will also recall that ACORN activists have long been involved in voter registration fraud, either directly or through its Project Vote affiliate. At least 70 ACORN/Project Vote employees have been convicted of voter registration fraud in a dozen states since 2006. According to a 2009 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report, approximately a third of the 1.2 million new registrations turned in by the two groups in 2008 were fraudulent.
Despite all this, documents obtained recently by Judicial Watch via the Freedom of Information Act suggest that President Obama — who was employed by Project Vote as a community organizer early in his career — and Attorney General Eric Holder have no qualms about working closely with present and former ACORN and Project Vote operatives on voter registration drives aimed at people on public assistance. Take, for example, an April 2009 letter to deputy assistant attorney general Sam Hirsh from former ACORN attorney and current Project Vote director of advocacy Estelle Rogers. She described preparations for a subsequent meeting about Department of Justice plans concerning National Voter Registration Act litigation in states deemed not being sufficiently aggressive in registering public assistance recipients.
Among those to be included in the meeting, according to the Rogers letter, were Nicole Kovite, director of the public agency project for Project Vote; Spencer Overton, deputy assistant attorney general for legal policy; Cecilia Munoz, then-director of intergovernmental affairs in the Obama White House; and Tino Cuellar, special assistant to the president for justice and regulatory policy. Munoz was recently promoted to chief domestic advisor to Obama.
Other letters obtained by Judicial Watch from Rogers to high-ranking Justice Department officials include a March 2011 missive to associate attorney general Thomas Perrelli, about a document she forwarded to him “for improvement” after a previous meeting on NVRA litigation. The letters also show that during the 2010 election cycle Project Vote used the threat of NVRA suits by the DOJ to pressure officials in Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia and New Mexico to change policies and procedures to facilitate voter registration among public assistance recipients. Federal NVRA suits were filed last year by the DOJ against Rhode Island and Louisiana after officials there balked at changing their registration policies and procedures.
Given ACORN/Project Vote’s extensive links to voter registration fraud schemes across the country, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California might want to ask Holder about these matters on Feb. 2 when the attorney general appears before the panel.