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. AmericanFeminist

    A couple of lazy workers who didn't feel like getting the registration forms filled out properly does not mean it's a voter fraud scandal! If Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck try to vote, then they might have a case of fraud. Of course, if they have all the proper I.D., they too, have a right to vote.

    The Repug-licans need to focus their attention on ELECTION FRAUD, because that's how THEY win elections. Not voter fraud!!!

    October 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Timothy

    Investigate Rev Wright and his tax-exempt status.

    Nasty anti-American Obama mentor !

    October 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. minnie mouse

    If anyone with half a brain was trying to do registration fraud, they would never use a name as stupid as Mickey Mouse.

    October 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. Republican Who Supports Obama


    is a smart man, with lots of strength – and sadly the fact that it is not up to 'him' as what so many , so often speak and or ask about on news media tv shows like; 'why cant obama get a 40 point lead' or things to this effect...

    well, the answer to this is.... its the stupid 'americans' (Palin – included as well) who are to dumb to realize just how simple it is....

    Obama will win, and well, if in some states, it is a 'close race' is only because, in this silly country called usa, 'stupid people' are 'allowed to vote' ........

    I have voted for bush in 2000, and THAT was a mistake, and i voted for kerry in 04, and by golly, OBAMA GETS MY VOTE IN 2008!

    October 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. Sheila43302

    Why can't some people understand the difference between voter registration fraud and voter fraud. Granted fraud in any form is reprehensible, but these fradulent registrants won't be entering the voting booth.

    October 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Ali Obama

    This one is IN THE BAG...It's OBAMA BY A LANDSLIDE!!!


    October 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. Jon

    A real leader encourages an investigation. As opposed to McCain and Palin's attempts to suppress the investigation of her 'immoral' wrongdoing in her home state.

    October 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Obama Supporter from UK

    Brad Oberg USNR (and anyone else who asks)

    I'm fairly sure that BY LAW they have to hand in every form they receive – you could write 'Jesus Christ Superstar' as your name and a date of birth as 25.12.0000 and ACORN can't discard it – they still have to hand it in or the commit a federal offence (I think it's federal... I'm British :p)

    A lot like this that ACORN suspect are fraudulent are flagged up when they are handed in – I'm not sure exactly of the numbers but of the several thousand 'bogus' forms IN TOTAL FROM 1.3 MILLION a fair percent of them are being flagged as such.

    Read the letter sent to the Special Prosecuter – indepth studies have found voter fraud itself (someone actually registering AND voting) is almost unknown. These forms were handed in by poor people desperate for cash because ACORN was paying 'by targets' – the merits of this action is another discussion completely.


    October 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. Michael F

    ACORN was paying its employees by the hour, NOT by the form, as some have claimed. They had a few lazy employees who wanted the money for nothing and made up names. ACORN flagged the questionable registrations and turned them over to the state (as required by law in most states).

    Read that again. ACORN alerted election officials to the questionable registrations.

    Republicans love to intimidate voters with allegations of voter fraud, but it simply isn't true. The fake registrations were not done with the intent of Mickey Mouse showing up to vote on Nov. 4. Some employees committed registration fraud out of laziness and ACORN turned the information over to the proper authorities.

    Bush's Justice Department did a comprhensive investigation trying to prove evidence of voter fraud and found that it was basically non-existent.

    The only attempts to rig the election the election are the Republican voter suppression efforts. Just one example is papering minority neighborhoods with pamphlets and phone calls telling them to vote, but also telling them that the election was two days later than it actually was.

    October 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. hurriCAIN PALIN

    go ahead, shoot yourselves in the foot


    October 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Sherry

    What about the 75,000 voter registration cards that were found in a dumpster in SW Atlanta that had voters personal information, i.e. complete name and social security information.

    I have not seen this in any of the major papers in Atlanta.....When will this be investigated under voter fraud.....probably never....after all...it's just voters in predominately Black communities.

    Let's just let the Republican's do what they want.....like still the presidential election of 2004.....remember!

    October 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. Matt

    CNN: Please report precisely how this all works. The information vacuum you are allowing to exist is dangerous. You are, in fact, playing into McCain's hands by submissively allowing him to give voter confidence a beatdown. People are obviously misinformed about the FACTS that ACORN is required by law to submit ALL registrations they receive, even if the jerk who gave it to them completely fabricated the thing or filled out 80 of them with the help of a phone book. ACORN also sorts them into categories so that the election commissions know which ones are good, questionable and pretty obviously bad. The election commission then reviews them as well before actually considering the person registered.

    The ONLY thing ACORN has done wrong is to have lacked the foresight to realize that paying emplyees based on the number of registrations they turn in would create an incentive for unethical employees to behave unethically.

    October 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. Beatrice Webb

    I have become so engrossed with this election that I have been flipping back and forth between MSNBC and CNN so that I don't miss anything. I don't know exactly who said what but the main topic was about the Sarah Palin Troopergate incident. She said the Legislature's report vindicates her, it may legally but in my opinion it does not morally. If you check out MSNBC under TOP Video's "Todd Palin A.K.A. The First Dude" you will find that it has been reported that he spend 50-60% of his time in her office, sitting in on all of her official meetings, interjecting his opinion, and acting as though he is the Govenor. We Obama supporters raise the question "What if (God forbid) John McCain could not serve....is Sarah Palin Palin qualified to serve? Maybe we should be asking this about Todd Palin, if all of the above is true then he would be acting as the Pesident of the United States. Think about it....TODD PALIN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!.......scarey.

    October 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Republican Who Supports Obama





    OBAMA 2008


    October 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Joseph Adewole

    Indeed, this is a man America needs!

    October 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. dave

    Why is this being called fraud?

    It is completely IMPOSSIBLE for someone to come in and vote on a name that isnt real.

    This is a non-issue and the media disgust me for playing up the hype, instead of clearing the water.

    October 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. Bill

    Those Mickeys and minnies who registered in Ohio did vote the same day! FEC shows Obama's campaign paying $832,000 to ACORN to Get out the Vote!

    If you don't like a 1 person 1 vote system, move to Russia. Every fraudulent voter damages our election system.

    If the GOP were the ones linked to ACORN we would never hear the end of demands to stop the fraud. As usual, Democrats put party before Country or truth.

    October 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Charlie Bradley

    You Republicans make me sick!! ACORN registers VOTERS OF BOTH PARTIES Democratic and Republican. McLame is just trying to pull a Bush and stall the DEMOCRATIC process because he knows he's walking a tight rope on his last shot for the Presidency. He was at great Disadvantage B.P. (Before Palin) and is at an even greater disadvantage DP (During Palin)

    Palin needs to put a muzzle on his dog.

    October 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. sy from mn

    why are we talking about Joe the Plumber and ACORN, lets talk about what the economy is at right now, how we as the citizens will move forward, so what if Mickey Mouse is registered do you seriously think that someone can walk in there and vote as Mickey Mouse???? how does that count count as Voter fraud?? and how come there is lots of talk about Obama said this or did that; instead of focusing more on the policies and issues America is now facing and what about what they all can do for us... is that all McCain and company can come up with that Obama is "friends" with radicals from the 60's and that Obama doesn't care for the rich ie: Joe the plumber. One has to wonder what america is really coming to if McCain and Palin are in office.

    October 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. JayT.

    Trust me, Republicans, this is a non-issue. You are wasting your time when you could be pursuing something that may actually help your candidate. But, if you want to follow the scent of that red herring off the path, down the slope and into the ditch, go ahead.

    October 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  21. Darryl

    First time the republicans are complaining about voter registration fraud.

    It's too bad ACORN is getting a bad rap for such a good organization.

    October 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Jocro

    When this is all over the GOP is gong to wake up with an almighty hangover, their reputation in tatters from their record in office and their record on the campaign. But perhaps they're feeling lucky and hope to escape the fangs of public opinion, hope Americans will forget about their lies, distortions and their attempts to dampen voter turnout in swing states. "Are you feeling Lucky? Well, punk, Are you?"

    October 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Dax

    McCain is an old liar who’s watching his sunset. His followers are beginning to get a sense of this and so are turning up the negative heat. I suggest that you read about Obama before you spew ignorant comments.

    I don't think it's over for McCain but it's getting there. Remember Obama supports. In the past the youth vote has been unreliable at best and conservative vote has been a lock. We need to finish strong otherwise Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin might shock the world and Lampoon our political system. Trust me we don't want this.

    October 17, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. Don

    Funny, I thought Obama was not all that close with ACORN. How does he find the time during this point in the campaign to work on things that are not critical to election?

    Or, maybe ACORN is more connected to his campaing than he lets on.

    October 17, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. DSW

    When is the MSM going to drop the Acorn crap and focus on the bigger story???

    October 17, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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