Monday, September 14, 2009

Sen. Cornyn Reiterates Call For Broad Criminal Investigation of ACORN

This press release just in:

Sen. Cornyn Supports Measure To Block ACORN From Further Federal Funding

Reiterates Call For Broad Criminal Investigation

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, today voted in favor of an amendment to the FY 2010 Transportation-Department of Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill that would bar any funding under this legislation for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). As it stands, ACORN—despite being under investigation for illegal activity on several fronts—is still eligible for federal housing dollars in the THUD appropriations bill through Community Development Block Grants, the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), Housing Counseling Assistance, and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (aka NeighborWorks America). The amendment passed by a vote of 83-7.

“It is a mystery to me why this fraud-ridden organization is still eligible for federal funding in any form or fashion. I will gladly support any effort to put a stop to the flow of federal dollars to ACORN or close the gap on any remaining loopholes that might allow ACORN to access taxpayer money. Congress must to do everything in its power to prevent another federal dollar from going to this organization, and I continue to call on the Attorney General to conduct a broad criminal investigation into ACORN’s operations.”

Last October, Sen.  Cornyn sent a letter today to then-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey requesting that the Department of Justice immediately launch a nationwide criminal probe into ACORN’s voter registration activities and investigate ACORN as a “criminal enterprise.” 

The full text of Senator Cornyn’s letter to the Attorney General is below: 

The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear General Mukasey:

I am increasingly concerned by reports of widespread election fraud by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (“ACORN”), which seem to emerge on a daily basis. 

Specifically, I call your attention to state and local investigations into potentially hundreds of thousands of fraudulent voter registration applications filed by ACORN in North Carolina, Ohio, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, New Mexico, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Washington, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and my home state of Texas.  In Harris County, Texas, which includes the City of Houston, election officials either rejected or discovered serious deficiencies with nearly 40 percent of the 27,000 registration cards filed by ACORN from January through July of this year.

Most recently, election officials in Lake County, Indiana, found more than 2,100 fraudulent voter registration applications that were filed at the deadline by ACORN.  According to a CNN report, at least one of ACORN’s applications in Lake County attempted to register a dead man.  In addition, The St. Petersburg Times (FL) reported today that Mickey Mouse tried to register to vote in Florida this summer.  Although Orange County elections officials rejected his application, it is notable that Mickey Mouse’s application had an ACORN stamp on it.  In addition, The [Raleigh, NC] News & Observer also reported today that ACORN conducted a voter drive that registered nearly 28,000 people in North Carolina.  But according to local election officials some of the forms it filed had information that may have been copied from phone books.

Election fraud imposes a real cost on our system, beyond the obvious consequence of subverting a free and fair election.  Fraudulent voter registration on this scale seriously strains state and local elections resources and distracts elections officials from preparing to conduct an orderly election.  Of course, ACORN’s nationwide voter registration fraud provides an opportunity for individuals to vote who should not, or for some to vote more than once.

Given these allegations, as well as the well-documented fraud convictions in recent years of ACORN employees, I urge you to launch a nationwide criminal probe into ACORN’s voter registration activities.  As you know, federal law prohibits an individual from (1) providing fraudulent voter registration information; (2) conspiring to encourage false registration or illegal voting; and (3) paying or offering to pay another individual for registering or voting.  It is also a crime to knowingly procure or submit false, fictitious, or fraudulent voter registration applications.  Finally, I must add that, because the violations of federal voting laws by ACORN employees appear to be so widespread, ACORN and its affiliates should be investigated as a criminal enterprise.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.



United States Senator

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Agriculture and Budget Committees.  He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

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