Cornyn Asks for ACORN Inquiry

Posted October 14, 2008 at 2:49pm

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday asked the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the voter-registration activities of ACORN, the community organizing group that has come under fire for allegedly filing fake registrations.

Cornyn, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a letter to the Justice Department that there have been numerous cases of suspicious registration forms in his state, and that the department may want to proceed with the inquiry as a “criminal enterprise.” He said several of the allegations against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now appear to violate federal voting laws.

“Election fraud imposes a real cost on our system, beyond the obvious consequence of subverting a free and fair election,” Cornyn wrote. “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 provided opportunity for individuals to vote who should not, or for some to vote more than once,” Cornyn said.

Cornyn, a former state attorney general and Texas Supreme Court justice, cited three areas where he believes ACORN may have broken the law, including “providing fraudulent voter registration information, conspiring to encourage false registration or illegal voting and paying or offering to pay another individual for registering or voting.”

Cornyn is the latest Republican lawmaker to raise concerns about ACORN’s activities. Among the charges are that the group has registered fictitious as well as deceased people to vote in numerous battleground states, including Missouri, Nevada and Ohio.

ACORN officials have countered the accusations, arguing that they are simply attempts to smother good-faith efforts to register minority, low-income and young voters.

“The goals of people orchestrating these attacks are to distract ACORN from helping people vote and to justify massive voter suppression,” the organization said in a statement. “That’s the real voter fraud; the noise about a small fraction of the forms ACORN has turned in is meant to get the press and public take their eyes off the real threat, while those hurling the charges are stealing people’s right to vote in broad daylight.”

Cornyn’s call for a Justice Department inquiry seems to be gaining some steam. Also Tuesday, House Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) called for a similar federal investigation.

“Congress must make it clear that ACORN, and organizations like it, will not be allowed to steal votes and potentially influence elections,” Smith said. “I urge the Justice Department and state election authorities to take immediate action and restore integrity to the November elections. I also urge House Democrats to join me in requesting that the Justice Department investigate alleged instances of voter registration fraud, including those involving ACORN.”