WEST CHESTER, Ohio (CNN) - Sarah Palin questioned Barack Obama’s ties to ACORN in her most forceful and comprehensive language to date, and demanded that the Democratic presidential nominee turn over all communication between the campaign and the progressive organization, which claims to have registered 1.3 million voters nationwide.
“As for ACORN and voter fraud, now they're under federal investigation, and John and are calling on the Obama campaign to release communications it has had with this group and to do so immediately,” Palin told an audience, with House Minority Leader John Boehner applauding on stage behind her.
The FBI confirmed Tuesday that they have begun preliminary a investigation of ACORN’s registration efforts. Palin accused the group of “rampant voter fraud,” although technically they are being accused of voter registration fraud.
“You deserve to know, Palin said. “You deserve to know because we do need to know more clearly about the choices that we have on Nov. 4. In this election, especially here in Ohio, you’re going to be asked to choose between a candidate who will not disavow a group committing voter fraud and a leader who will not tolerate it.”
Obama’s relationship with the community organizing group has been highlighted by Republicans ever since it was accused of submitting fraudulent voter applications in various states, including Ohio. Obama helped train ACORN organizers in Chicago after law school and later represented the group in a 1995 motor voter case that, in Obama’s words, “helped people get registered at DMVs.”
During the Democratic primaries, the campaign paid a group affiliated with ACORN $800,000 for canvassing efforts. ACORN endorsed Obama during the primaries but has not formally backed a candidate in the general election.
Palin said Obama is “fuzzing up his connections” to the group and that the Democrat would drag a lot of baggage” into the Oval Office if elected with ACORN’s help.
“These associations are important,” she said. “They go to the heart of someone's judgment and truthfulness. And it is not mean-spirited, it is not negative campaigning to ask someone about their record. It's in fairness to the electorate.”
The Obama campaign repudiated Palin's criticisms.
"We have not worked with ACORN at all in the general election," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "Rather than make these false, desperate attacks, the McCain-Palin campaign should release an economic plan that actually helps the middle class instead of giving billions in tax cuts to big corporations."