ACORN Voter Registration Fraud Allegations Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg, Says Employment Policies Institute

Illegalities, Fraud and Contradictions Detailed in Report

on Lead Organizer of Florida's Amendment 5

Oct 13, 2004, 01:00 ET from Employment Policies Institute

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A Florida state attorney is
 investigating thousands of potentially fraudulent voter registrations
 associated with the leading organizer of Florida's Amendment 5 ballot
 initiative.  But this is just the tip of an iceberg of illegalities, fraud and
 contradictions connected to the Association of Community Organizations for
 Reform Now (ACORN).  In recent days, ACORN has been at the epicenter of
 reports on thousands of potentially fraudulent voter registrations across the
 nation -- including many by ex-felons -- submitted by ACORN employees in the
 presidential swing states of Ohio, Colorado, Missouri Pennsylvania, New Mexico
 and Minnesota.
     The Employment Policies Institute has updated and re-released its report,
 "The Real ACORN: Anti-Employee, Anti-Union, Big Business" with the latest
 details on ACORN's involvement in what appears to be widespread voter
 registration fraud.  The report includes statements from former ACORN
 employees on the illegal nature of the organization's promotion of the ballot
 initiative to raise Florida's minimum wage to $6.15 per hour.
     "This report reveals ACORN's pattern and practice of deception and fraud,"
 said EPI research director Craig Garthwaite.  "The latest allegations of
 widespread voter registration fraud should prove to be the last of ACORN's
 nine political lives."
     Former ACORN Miami-Dade field director Mac Stuart has declared an intent
 to sue ACORN and has made charges of rampant voter fraud operations.  Stuart
 was employed and specifically tasked by ACORN to generate 103,000 new voter
 registrations from Dade County.  He reports that ACORN threw out Republican
 registrations while paying for Democratic ones.  Stuart also charges that
 ACORN targeted ex-cons and that he personally set up registration tables
 outside the Miami police department and Dade County jail.  He went on to
 state, "The voter registration project has been operating illegally since it
     ACORN has paid workers for every voter registration card collected -- a
 felony in Florida and also illegal in Missouri and Pennsylvania.  ACORN also
 routinely accepted signatures for Amendment 5 from individuals who were not
 currently registered to vote -- a requirement under Florida law.
     Voter registration and petition fraud is just the latest chapter in
 ACORN's long sordid history.  The EPI report also reveals:
     ACORN Involved in Union Embezzlement -- In the late 1990s, ACORN's Project
 Vote was involved in an $850,000 embezzling scheme, where union funds and
 kickbacks were used to illegally aid the 1996 re-election bid of then-
 Teamsters President Ron Carey.  A New York federal jury found the Teamsters
 political director guilty of the conspiracy.
     ACORN bilks AmeriCorps -- In 1996, the Inspector General of the AmeriCorps
 program stripped a $1 million grant from the ACORN Housing Corporation (AHC).
 When applying, AHC had denied any connections to ACORN, since the grant was
 not intended for political advocacy organizations.  Evidence later uncovered
 by the Inspector General found that not only was AHC created by ACORN, engaged
 in numerous transactions with one another, and sharing staff and office space
 -- but it utilized the AmeriCorps grant to increase ACORN membership, a
 violation of federal guidelines.
     ACORN Union-Busts Own Workers -- On March 27, 2003 the National Labor
 Relations Board (NLRB) found that ACORN had violated the National Labor
 Relations Act and was required to rehire and pay restitution to employees
 terminated for attempting to form a union.  The NLRB ruling is just the latest
 in a trend of ACORN's union-busting tactics.  ACORN employees have
 historically demanded higher wages, safer working conditions and more timely
 contracted wages.  These efforts have been repressed behind closed doors by
 the hypocritical ACORN leadership, which publicly advocates higher pay and
 better working conditions for private sector workers.
     ACORN and Minimum Wage Hypocrisy -- Most egregiously, ACORN promotes
 ballot initiatives and local ordinances to force businesses to pay higher
 minimum wages, as they are currently doing with the minimum wage proposal in
 Amendment 5.  In 1995, however, ACORN sued the state of California to have its
 employees exempted from the state minimum wage.  ACORN argued that being
 forced to pay higher wages would mean that they would hire fewer employees --
 the very dilemma faced by businesses.  Incredibly, ACORN stated that paying
 its employees a lower wage would allow them to be more sympathetic to the low-
 and moderate-income families they were attempting to help.  ACORN argued that
 abiding by the state minimum wage would limit their ability to promote their
 agenda and would therefore be a violation of their First Amendment rights.
 The trial court judge dismissed ACORN's suits, stating, "leaving aside the
 latter argument's absurdity ... we find ACORN to be laboring under a
 fundamental misconception of constitutional law."
     "ACORN's history of voter registration fraud, hypocrisy, abuse of federal
 grant programs, and disregard for sound economics should raise a red flag for
 voters considering support for Amendment 5," Garthwaite said.
     The full report is available online at
     The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization
 dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding entry-level employment.

SOURCE Employment Policies Institute