Drew Griffin had better watch out. If he continues reporting on Barack Obama like this, pretty soon the Obama campaign will target him as an extremist and a hate-monger. Griffin tells Campbell Brown on CNN how ACORN commits voter fraud, and then explains how Obama is closely tied to the group:
CAMPBELL BROWN: Now, it is officially nonpartisan. But this group works hard to register low-income voters who tend to vote for Democrats. ACORN’s under fire over allegedly phony voter registration in several states, and Drew Griffin of CNN’s Special Investigations Unit is digging into this for us. You’ll be pretty surprised by what he found.
DREW GRIFFIN: There are 5,000 of them.
RUTH ANN HOAGLAND: These?
HOAGLAND: And these.
GRIFFIN: They are new voter registration applications turned into by the community organizing group, ACORN, which has launched a massive voter registration drive, and with 5,000 applications in this one county dumped on just before the October 6 deadline; it looked like to Elections Board Administrator Ruth Ann Hoagland like ACORN was extremely successful, until her workers began finding problems.
GRIFFIN: A lot of them?
HOAGLAND: 50 percent. We had close to 5,000 total from ACORN, and so far we have identified about 2,100.
GRIFFIN: So roughly half of them are bad.
GRIFFIN: Registered to a dead person, registered as a person who lives at a fast food shop.
GRIFFIN: Or just all of them amazingly in the same hand.
HOAGLAND: Yes. Yes. All the signatures look exactly the same. Everything on the card filled out looks just the same.
GRIFFIN: Ruth Ann. Fraud?
HOAGLAND: We have no idea what the motive behind it is. It’s just overwhelming to us.
GRIFFIN: It’s not that some are bad. Once they started going through them, every one they looked at was bad.
HOAGLAND: Right. We’ve run into a lot of the same – we’ll go through ten cards, and the exact — in the exact same hand, the card is filled out the same, the signature is the same. We’ll make telephone calls, and every phone has been disconnected.
GRIFFIN: Hoagland decided to stop the review all together, work on other apparently legitimate registrations and get back to the other half of what she now calls “the fake pile,” later.
HOAGLAND: It’s frustrating. It’s very frustrating.
GRIFFIN: Here is another ACORN filled out registration form. It’s for Jimmy Johns, 10839 Broadway in Crown Pointe. Jimmy Johns. We decided to track him down. Here he is. Is there anybody here that’s actually named Jimmy Johns? Nobody registered to vote here named Jimmy Johns? This could really — I mean, there has been no fraud yet because people haven’t voted yet, right?
HOAGLAND: Correct. We’ll find out on Election Day.
GRIFFIN: But it certainly sets up a potential.
HOAGLAND: The potential, I suppose, is always there. It’s just that the volume — the volume is just incredible.
GRIFFIN: The elections board is run by both Republicans and Democrats. Regardless of whose party, we’ve got a problem with these ballots. These registrations.
SALLY LASOTA: Both sides, Democrats and Republicans. For us, it’s unfortunate. ACORN, with its intent, perhaps, was good to begin with, but unfortunately went awry somewhere.
GRIFFIN: It is fraud, says the Democrat Director, Sally LaSota.
LASOTA: Well, if you look, it’s the same signature for all three voters. It’s as though the one individual tried — did three separate applications but you can tell the signature—we’re not handwriting experts, but what’s obvious is obvious.
GRIFFIN: ACORN’s voter registration drives are under investigation or suspicion in several states. Just yesterday, local authorities raided this ACORN office in Las Vegas where ACORN workers allegedly registered members of the Dallas Cowboys football team. Over the last four years, a dozen states investigated complaints of fraudulent registrations filed by ACORN, and complaints of fraud by ACORN have exploded nationwide in just the last few weeks. We tried to contact the ACORN director in Gary, Indiana. But when the phone messages went unanswered, we went to the office. It’s abandoned. ACORN told us that the state director for Indiana ACORN is actually based in this office in Milwaukee. But today, we found it empty, too. ACORN’s attorney in Boston told us allegations his organization has committed fraud is a government attempt to keep the disenfranchised from voting.
ACORN LAWYER BRIAN MOLLER: We believe their purpose is to attack ACORN and suppress votes. We think that by attacking ACORN that they are going to discourage people who have may have registered with ACORN from voting.
GRIFFIN: Brian Moller says ACORN has its own quality control, has fired workers in the past, including workers in Gary. Despite its past, the Obama campaign gave $800,000 to ACORN to help fund its primary registration drive, and ACORN has endorsed Barack Obama for president. The Obama campaign reacted this afternoon, saying, it is “committed to protecting the integrity of the voting process and said it has not worked with ACORN during the general election”.
BROWN: Drew Griffin. Drew, though the campaign, or Obama, rather, has worked with ACORN, though, in the past. Is that accurate?
GRIFFIN: That’s accurate. As an attorney, he represented ACORN in a motor voter court case, which, by the way, Barack Obama won for ACORN. But all afternoon long, the campaign has been calling us, trying to distance themselves from ACORN.
BROWN: All right. Drew Griffin for us, tonight. Drew, as always, thanks.
I’m less surprised to see this on Campbell Brown’s show than on Anderson Cooper’s. I’ve appeared a couple of times with Brown, and she seems interested in hearing both sides of a story. When Cooper heard Griffin’s report on Obama and Ayers, Cooper looked like he’d eaten a bug and attempted to water it down somewhat. Brown not only let Griffin’s reporting stand, she gave him the opening to talk about Obama’s ties to ACORN.
How long before Team Obama sends an e-mail asking followers to start flooding CNN with outrage and demands that Griffin be taken off the air?