Justice Department coordinates suits with ACORN’s Project Vote

Editorial in the Washington Examiner

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 Voteaffiliate. 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.

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