Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Did ACORN Send Franken to the Senate?

Katherine Kersten of the Minneapolis Star Tribune recalls how ACORN held a special fondness for the comedian turned Senate jester Al Franken during his run against Norm Coleman.  The feeling was quite mutual:
 Franken returned the esteem: "I'm thrilled and honored to receive this endorsement," he gushed in a press release. He added that he was "more motivated than ever to work with ACORN."
I'll just bet he was motivated.   ACORN has quite the checkered past when it comes to digging up deceased and fictional voters to come to the aid of Democratic candidates in distress.  As Franken ended up taking his seat in the Senate by a mere 312 votes, he needed any vote ACORN's group Project Vote could throw his way. 

Along with  a few of the many cases prosecuted against ACORN for voter fraud,  Kersten cites the July, 2009 report the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.issued on ACORN as evidence of the troubled history with registration:
To date, nearly 70 ACORN employees have been convicted in 12 states for voter registration fraud, though no federal charges have been filed against ACORN’s directors.  In fact, Pennsylvania judge Richard Zoller – after holding a low-level ACORN employee liable for election law violations – noted that “somebody has to go after ACORN.”
Kersten notes that 43,000 voters were registered through ACORN, representing 75% of the states new voter registrations.  Because ACORN uses strategies meant to overwhelm overworked clerks at the last moment with mass quantities of new registrations at the last moment, detecting fraud is difficult.  In many cases it is only discovered by chance.  Despite assurances from the ACORN endorsed Secretary of State Mark Ritchie that the integrity of the vote was protected in the 2008 Senatorial election in Minnesota,  Kersten doesn't seem convinced. 

While many, myself included,  had real doubts about the votes Franken managed to come up with in the Minnesota recount, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air believes after a thorough review Coleman lost by choosing a less aggressive strategy than did Franken:
None of the people involved, most of them GOP partisans, believed that Franken “stole” the recount or did anything illegal. All of them insisted that the difference came down to two different approaches.  Team Coleman wanted a collegial, Minnesota-style approach, while Franken’s team saw this as an adversarial process that pushed both teams to use every legal advantage available for each client.  Put more simply, Coleman got outboxed, and badly, especially in the early days of the recount.
This assessment makes Kersten's question, though largely moot with Franken at this point, worth pursuing.  It has long been my belief that as Franken was sworn in giving Democrats the 60th vote, American voters felt the straw breaking the camel's back.  Though it could be coincidental, support for Obama, Congress and health care reform started the downward side during the same week.  The recent problems brought to light through the Giles and O'Keefe videotapes, cast a long shadow of suspicion of all things ACORN.  Raising Franken's connection to ACORN casts greater doubt on dubious Democratic modes of operation.  That Democrats managed to swear in another Senator by changing the rules in Massachusettes compounds their credibility problems.  Most importantly, however, these questions need to be raised and investigated to insure that none of this takes place in the rapidly approaching midterm elections. 

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