October 17th, 2008
08:40 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama camp requests special prosecutor for fraud investigation

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/17/art.boptup1017.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Obama's campaign requested Friday that an independent special prosecutor handle any federal investigations into voter irregularities during the upcoming election."]
(CNN) – The Obama campaign announced Friday that it is asking Attorney General Michael Mukasey to turn over any investigations of voter fraud or voter suppression to Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy, the same special prosecutor recently appointed to investigate the U.S. attorney firing scandal.

Read: The Obama campaign's letter to Mukasey

It’s the latest salvo in an escalating war over allegations of possible voter irregularities during the upcoming presidential election.

“What they’re actually about is the unprecedented effort to essentially sap the American people of confidence in the voting process,” Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign’s general counsel, said Friday on a conference call.

Listen: Obama camp's general counsel explains the request

Bauer said partisan politics was behind Thursday’s leak from senior governmental officials about a preliminary FBI investigation into the voter registration activities of ACORN, the embattled community organizing group that has become the focus of Republican efforts to highlight voter fraud as the election approaches.

“ACORN is a tool for attacking voters,” Bauer also said.

“We need to have these matters removed from the day-to-day department’s direct control and put into the special prosecutor’s independent hands,” Bauer told reporters Friday. “She should have responsibility for reviewing any and all matters involving allegations of fraud and suppression in this election,” said Bauer.

The McCain campaign responded suggesting that it was Sen. Obama and his campaign who were engaging in partisan politics by requesting the special prosecutor's involvement. In a statement issued Friday night, McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt called Obama's request "absurd" and said it was an attempt to "criminalize political discourse."

"Rest assured that, despite these threats, the McCain-Palin campaign will continue to address the serious issue of voter registration fraud by ACORN and other partisan groups, and compliance by states with the Help America Vote Act's requirement of matching new voter registrations with state data bases to prevent voter fraud," Porritt added.

Listen: McCain campaign manager Rick Davis discusses ACORN Friday

Since ACORN’s extensive voter registration drive ended recently, allegations of voter registration fraud relating to the group’s activities have surfaced in several states. The McCain campaign recently targeted ACORN’s ties to Barack Obama, and Republicans in Congress called for a federal investigation of the group and an end to any federal funding going to the group. McCain himself personally called for an investigation into ACORN last week during a campaign event.

At the final presidential debate, McCain also said ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

The Obama campaign has said that ACORN has no role in its general election voter registration efforts, and that it has never paid ACORN to register voters.

In a statement issued Thursday, ACORN said it was confident it “would be exonerated” in any federal investigation into its voter registration activities.

Updated 8:40 pm to add statement from McCain-Palin campaign

Filed under: ACORN • Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • Voter Problems
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Sarah

    It seems McCain doesn't understand the fundamental difference between 'voter fraud' and 'voter registration fraud'. Voter fraud involves someone actually voting, whereas voter registration fraud just has to do with fraudulent registrations. I highly doubt Jimmy Johns is going to show up to vote on Nov. 4th, seeing as that's the name of a RESTAURANT, and not an actual person. Hence the difference, and why the quote by McCain (“...is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.") just doesn't make any sense.

    The other thing to remember here is that the people who did this where hired by ACORN essentially as free agents to register voters. These individuals are the ones who faked the registrations so that they could get more money; this has become apparent as the story has developed.

    In any case, while this story is notable, it has also become quite a transparent ploy by McCain's campaign to confuse those who may not be aware of the differences between the two kinds of fraud. It's yet another distraction from the issues the American people ACTUALLY seem to be interested in.

    October 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Debby

    Don't worry Obama you will get what you ask for and then if they find something it should be interesting to hear your reaction.

    October 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. pa.joe

    ACORN, Joe the Plumber, the Obama campaign needs to deal quickly with these issues or their lead will continue to shrink.
    As for Joe the Plumber they need to stop talking about him. He's getting a sympathy vote for McCain right now that should not be taken lightly.
    As for ACORN, what appears to be disgruntled employee sabotage could become a major issue for Obama.
    Nov. 4th is a long way off.
    Never count Old man McCain out.
    This election is no way near over yet!!

    October 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. LJ in MD

    For the last time (who am I kidding):
    Registration fraud is not the same as voter fraud.
    If someone, anyone, submitted a false registration on purpose – prosecute them.
    If someone votes fraudulently – prosecute them.
    If someone prevents me or any other lawfully registered citizen from voting by ANY means – prosecute them!!
    And we all know, Democrats and republicans, that Mickey Mouse is not showing up to vote in Florida.
    We all know dead people will not be voting in Ohio.
    We all know that people will not be voting twice in Nevada.
    But we do know that the Republicans would love nothing more than having millions of legal Democratic voters wiped off the roles with no time left to reinstate them.
    Only one side trying to cheat here – even the Supreme Court had to agree.

    October 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. jfs Memhis, Tn

    WAY TO GO !!!! This NEEDS to be cleared up NOW!!! This goes to show you the pro-active and transparent leadership we can expect from an Obama Administration !!! Not to mention attracting the Best-of- the Best to the Cabinet. Thank You Sen. Obama !!! What a breath of fresh air !!!

    October 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Scott NYC Independent

    Due to the fact that the special prosecutor is already in place; and that it is already investigating voter fraud by the Attorney General appointed by Bush relating to the firings carried out as a result of the GOP's desire to reduce voter roles and falsly investigate democratic congress persons this was a very good move on the Obama campaign's part.

    If the Rep. National Conv. continues their underhanded tacktics and take one step out of line – someone is going to the clingk.

    October 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Women for Obama/Biden

    I WAS LATE on the article about Sam Joe the Plumber...Everyone seems to blaming Sen Obama on the issue of Joe...McCain is the one that just bring up issues that seems on his side...joe is a registered republican...living in a dream land...who believes one day he will be rich and will make $250k a yr....He his not there yet but scared that when he gets there he will be taxed by Sen Obama...he couldnt even afford the present Tax let alone pay it off since 2007. He came up asking questions of his future wealth in a neighborhood where 98% makes less than $50k a yr. My point is how did McCain know the specific question that Joe asked? How did he know the response Sen Obama gave? Finally Sen Obama gave him the right answer that suited him.."You need tax relief and i will give you tax relief" Did anyone know that we pay more taxes per capital than those that make more than $250k ?
    Joe should be thanksful like i am looking forward to the time i will get relief like any other American that needs this relief badly...we have been paying this high taxes in the last 8 yrs.

    October 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Law Students for Obama

    Why are these few fradulent registration applications being made into such a big deal? ACORN turns in tons of registrations and the fradulent ones only make up a small percentage of the ones turned in. Also, why isn't CNN reporting that ACORN is REQUIRED to turn in every registration form that's turned in?? Throwing away registration forms could turn into voter suppression if registrations of rightful potential voters were thrown away, therefore, many states by statute require groups like ACORN to turn in every form. I still can't believe ACORN is being demonized by, of all people, the Republican party.

    And by the way, Senator McCain, the award for greatest voter fraud/suppression efforts in the history of this country still goes to the Republicans. It's sad but true.

    October 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. gilbert

    MaCain made a mistake to choose Palin, She can not the V/c she is somehow crazy. She doesn't know what she doing!!!!!

    October 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. the other jd

    well it is about flippin' time...

    October 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. JudyR Arkansas

    I am glad that CNN has posted this. CNN you still need to correct the reporting that has been done on ACORN by your of reporters which was not properly and totally not researched at all. Your reporter, 54 times, only spoke, pretty much, word for word what the McCain camp has stated which is bogus. And it needs to be said that it was ACORN themselves who were the ones who reported the "problematic registrations".

    October 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Goodson

    Why do Republicans want wars on all fronts and never want to pay a dime in taxes? they instead prefer to borrow from China.

    October 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. A Well Educated Woman

    Another stupid tactic by the RNC to persuade voters to look the other way on Obama. It wasn't that long ago that the Hanging Chad that led us to Bush who has now ruined the country, all done by you guess it, the infamous Rebug party. Will this ever end?

    October 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. khodges

    Attention mainstream media that loves horse race politics: it's not voter fraud, it's voter registration fraud. Big difference.

    There are several lines of defense to guard against actual voter fraud, and judging by the extremely small incidence of actual voter fraud in the last ten years, they seem to be working quite well.

    October 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. jeff

    So far most of the attacks by the Republicans on Obama's campaign have turned out to be incomplete, misleading or downright false. By now, they've cried wolf so many times that they've lost all credibility with me. My first instinct is to ignore this criticism, as it's probably another in a long line of Republican deceptions. I'll keep an eye on it, however.

    October 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. TheTruthHurts

    We need a special prosecutor, not unilaterally chosen by either party. We need an open investigation. I'm sure there is some fraud (as there always is), but that it won't sway the election. Voter fraud is serious and should be dealt with seriously - not as a campaign wedge.

    McCain/Palin are setting the groundwork to either cause riots or to otherwise steal the election. Unfortunately for them, the Obama campaign is ready and there will be poll workers, media and video cameras to tape the shenanigans that are being planned or at least contemplated.

    The reckless language used by Sarah Palin should scare everyone, including John McCain. She is running for America's highest office and is disrespecting entire areas of the country.

    October 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Brad Oberg USNR

    Reguardless of who has or has not endorsed ACORN, it is quite obvious Acorn is very suspect. They turned in reg cards for a football team for mickey mouse and for dead people. Repub, demo, lib, conserv any other flavor you want to call yourselves, right is right and wrong is wrong. These folks are doing wrong and MUST be stopped or corrected.

    October 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. malclave

    And right on schedule, the Demcorats come on to the CNN boards to defend voter fraud.

    Who'd a-thunk?

    October 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Robert in raleigh

    How is it voter fraud when donald duck and mickey mouse can't vote.where is the fraud ??? not telling the truth on an application is unethical , true ,but fraud would come if some of these liars actually were allowed to vote....

    October 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. CindyN--PA

    I am just stunned watching the news, and watching Republican a Republican Congresswoman who is perfectly seriously stating that Liberals, and leftests in this country are "ANTI-AMERICAN"...
    She also said that Democrats in Congress should be investigated and the media should do their job and investigate them because they could be Anti-American.

    How disgusting. The McCain/Palin Campaign has just gone too far with this one. Now I am COMPLETELY offended. How terrible for America that they would put that propaganda out there.

    This is as bad as what the Nazi's said about the Jews in 1936.
    I am floored by this. I really am in disbelief.

    October 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. abc

    make sure we all VOTE before if possible or on Nov. 4th. this is so crucial to our country, domestic & global scale. it's going to be history making that can be good or bad depending on why we vote. 2 days after branding himself to ALWAYS repudiate people in his campaign of any negative remarks, he has changed again. McCain is about changeD, not for change. he has changed, he is dividing the country with robocalls & ads, attending an event tomorrow with a candidate who said Obama is similar to Bin Laden (so much for repudiating), manipulating people's fear and anger that may bring violence... still counting.
    i completely agree with the German man who provided what socialism is truly about, we just like to play word games while hold no knowledge of anything. we the people of America and everyone around the globe is observing how this presidential election unfolds, it is a game changer and will determine how we stand and where we go as a country and a global leader (depends). press/media from all over the world is pouring money to cover our election. i personally think it's the best and valid time to show the world our democracy, if it's worth seeing and following. so yeah, go ahead and blur true democracy with hateful/violent behaviors and unclear judgements, yes, show the world the democracy we'd wish for so long to share with others is this low and ugly. i can only pray and hope majority (if not all) people can differentiate between debating and attacking, policies or personal smears.

    maybe it's the storm night before the first light of hope... God bless the humans.

    October 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Barrie

    After listening the recent tactics of McCain/Palin and the Republicans, they are nothing but a bunch of THUGS. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Even if I liked McCain's policies, which I do not, who would want these people to lead us. The Republicans have always been like this.

    They are reprehensible. That is all they know is 'politics of fear'

    Obama '08!!

    October 17, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. ohio

    bla bla bla bla RNC is using false informationssss again

    October 17, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. k williams

    mccain is no war hero in my book. sorry to say that. really i am, but anyone, who carries on like he has in this campain is nothing special in my book. he said he would run a honerable campaign...he has not. i feel sorry for him. no i d0nt. i do not feel sorry for racist.

    October 17, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Charlotte

    People who are allowed to register and vote the same day, create a real potential for voter fraud. How can you check out a registration on the day of the vote? Most states have a dead line to register for this election. It is like weeks in advance.

    October 17, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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