(CNSNews.com) - “All federal funding to ACORN must be stopped,” House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Thursday, amid a widening probe into voter registration fraud by the liberal group.
Questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, have turned up in as many as nine states, including so-called swing states.
The “nonpartisan” community-organizer group works to recruit low-income, Democrat-leaning voters. Its national Web site says the group has registered 1.3 million people nationwide for the Nov. 4 election.
“The latest allegations of voter registration fraud by ACORN are further evidence that this group cannot be trusted with another dollar of the taxpayers’ money,” Boehner said in a news release.
Boehner is one of many people who believe the group has broken the law to promote its left-wing agenda. He says it happened, even as ACORN received “millions” of taxpayer dollars through various federal programs and third-party groups.
“House Republicans took at stand recently to cut off funding to an ACORN slush fund created by their [Democratic] allies…but now more must be done,” Boehner said.
The congressman's Web site notes that in the recently passed financial bailout package, Republicans “stripped out special-interest earmarks for trial lawyers, labor bosses and thinly-veiled political organizations like ACORN that were included in the original deal struck between congressional Democrats and the Treasury Department."
“The ACORN slush fund must be disbanded,” Boehner said. “Sources of federal funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development or any other agency must be stopped. Contracting for services between candidates for federal office and ACORN, as Senator Obama has done, must end. Now that the taxpayers own Fannie Mae, any funding from Fannie Mae’s nonprofit foundation to ACORN must stop.”
On Tuesday, authorities in Nevada seized records from ACORN after finding fraudulent registration forms that included the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys. Bertha Lewis, interim chief organizer for ACORN, was quoted as calling the raid “a stunt that serves no useful purpose.”
In April, eight ACORN workers in St. Louis city and county pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting false registration cards for the 2006 election. U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said the group submitted cards with false addresses and names, and forged signatures.
The FBI plans to investigate the group. "It's a matter we take very seriously," FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton told the Associated Press. "It is against the law to register someone to vote who does not fall within the parameters to vote, or to put someone on there falsely."
At a campaign stop in Bethlehem, Pa., on Wednesday, supporters of John McCain interrupted his remarks Wednesday by shouting, "No more ACORN."
Debbie Mesloh, spokeswoman for the Obama campaign in Missouri, told the Associated Press in an e-mailed statement that the campaign supports any investigation of possible fraud.
Complaints of voter registration fraud have cropped up in Missouri, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Nevada and battleground states like Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina.
“ACORN is proud of the work it does to help balance the American electorate and educate people from underrepresented communities to use their voting voices,” the group says on its Web site.
Ties to Obama
While the Obama campaign is trying to downplay its ties to ACORN, the Republican National Committee has issued a “fact sheet” playing up those ties.
In 1992 Obama worked for Project Vote, ACORN’s voter-registration arm, the RNC says on its Web site.
The Associated Press reported that in 1995, Obama was among a team of attorneys who represented ACORN in a lawsuit against the State of Illinois. ACORN sued the state for failing implement a federal law designed to make it easier for the poor people to register as voters.
In 2001 and 2002 -- a time when Obama served on the board of directors of the The Woods Fund -- the Chicago ACORN received thousands of dollars in grants from the Fund, the RNC says.
And this year, ACORN’s political action committee endorsed Obama for president.
According to an August 2008 report in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Obama presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to Citizens Services Inc. -- a subsidiary of ACORN.
The Obama campaign later amended Federal Election Commission reports to show that Citizens Services Inc. did get-out-the-vote projects, not activities such as polling, advance work and staging major events as the campaign stated in FEC finance reports filed during the primary.