The Real ACORN: Anti-Employee, Anti-Union, Big-Business

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Since it took root in 1970, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has been criticized for its fraud, deception, and radical political agenda. It has been implicated in Teamsters election fraud, government-grant fraud, union busting, and it has sought an exemption from the very minimum wage laws it tries to force on everyone else. This update to the Employment Policies Institute’s May 2003 report exposes the group’s recent widespread pattern of voter fraud as it pushes an extreme agenda and hypocritical wage hikes, state by state.

New Mexico is just one of 11 states in which ACORN employees were accused of submitting blatantly false voter registration forms during the 2004 election cycle. Yet that state is an appropriate microcosm for ACORN’s practice of fraud because it has filed phony documents in two consecutive election cycles.

In 2005, four ACORN employees submitted as many as 3,000 potentially fraudulent signatures—including that of a county commissioner— on the group’s minimum wage ballot initiative for Albuquerque. A local sheriff added: “It’s safe to say the forgery was widespread.”

In 2004, an ACORN employee registered a 13-year-old boy to vote. Citing this and other examples, New Mexico State Representative Joe Thompson stated that ACORN was “manufacturing voters” throughout New Mexico.

ACORN’s widespread practice of fraud was highlighted in Florida’s 2004 election, when the group led a ballot initiative seeking a $6.15 minimum wage (a rate higher than many ACORN employees are paid). A Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman said ACORN was “singled out” among suspected voter registration groups because it was “the common thread” in the agency’s investigations from one end of the state to another.

ACORN’s fraud in Florida was so rampant that it submitted to elections officials a false voter registration card for Charles Schuh. The 68-year-old Schuh is a former Democratic mayor of St. Petersburg, but ACORN registered the notable politician as a 30-year-old female Republican. While one may be tempted to write this off as simple sloppiness (a plausible thought, considering this is the same organization that failed to turn in thousands of voter registration cards on time, resulting in voters being denied the opportunity to participate in the primary), this is clearly another case of voter fraud. When Schuh asked to see his supposed registration card, he found that someone else had signed his name and altered his social security number.

[NOTE: This document has been updated to avoid mentioning former ACORN employee Mac Stuart, who filed but lost a lawsuit against his former employer. However, future updates will focus on ACORN’s ties to voter fraud in more than 10 states in the 2004 election, as well as widespread problems in New Mexico and Virginia in 2005.]