And: A left-wing radical activist group linked to Senator Obama is trying to steal the election? Is that right? We’ll have a special report on the now-widening investigation into the organization called ACORN.
DOBBS: New evidence tonight that the so-called community left-wing activist group, ACORN, is involved in widespread voter registration fraud. And point of fact, ACORN is a left-wing special interest group that’s been under investigation for literally years in various parts of the country for voter fraud and embezzlement.
Tonight, the Lake County, Indiana Board of Elections says ACORN submitted, literally, thousands of fraudulent voter registration cards over the past few days alone.
Drew Griffin has been investigating ACORN. He’s joining us now from our Chicago bureau with the very latest for us — Drew.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Lou, let me just set this up a little bit. Lake County is a very Democratic county in a Republican state of Indiana. Barack Obama wants to turn Indiana this election, and if it turns his way, it will be largely because of the voters in Lake County, who, turn out, again, heavily Democratic.
ACORN, who supports Barack Obama in his presidential campaign, went out and try to register as many new voters in Lake County as they possibly could. The deadline was October 6th. They came in with 5,000 new applications, and when the registrations office began going through them, they found a pattern. Every single one of them was fraudulent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: A lot of them?
RUTHANN HOAGLAND, (R) LAKE COUNTY ELECTIONS BOARD: Fifty 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?
HOAGLAND: Roughly half — correct.
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: Ruthann, fraud?
HOAGLAND: We have no idea what the motive behind it is. It’s just overwhelming to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Lou, I took a look at these registration forms, and indeed, they’re all in the same hand. You can tell. They’re all written by the same person.
They showed us the death certificates of some of these people who are registered there. The workers have been diligently trying to go through all these new ones, but finally, they had to just put them aside. Two thousand one hundred of these applications are fraudulent. The other 2,900 have been placed to the side. They haven’t even looked at them yet. They want to take care of the actual good applications of real new voters who really want to vote in this election, but they’re scared. They scared. They don’t know what’s out there and who or what is going to show up at the polls when voting actually begins in those ballot boxes.
DOBBS: Drew, the woman with whom you were speaking, terrific public servant, you know, and we have got wonderful people like her all over the country. She seemed very sweet, she would not commit to the fact that somebody that writing in the same handwriting for thousands of times to register dead people would be committing fraud.
But this, you’ve been looking into this story for days and days now. We’re seeing it from Vegas to Ohio, to Pennsylvania, and to Indiana, all over the country, and these investigations are opening up. How can there be any doubt about what’s at work here?
GRIFFIN: You know, each individual county, Lou, and that’s what’s happening there — and let me tell you, Lake County, they are so afraid of anybody calling them partisan, for every worker, every job (AUDIO BREAK), one person is a Republican, one is a Democrat. Both Republicans and Democrats are coming to me and saying, “Look, this is fraud. This is registration fraud.”
But each county has to look at it, and usually what happens is, after the fact, after the election, the boards look at it, they file criminal charges. People are charged with these, but it takes years to get these charges filed and for any kind of actual conviction to come through at that’s (INAUDIBLE).
DOBBS: Where is the Justice Department and why is this being permitted to go on?
GRIFFIN: I think that’s a very good question, that I will ask the Justice Department. But, again, it’s the jurisdiction of the local county —
GRIFFIN: — that as we go through the legal process, you know? So that’s what this board will recommend, a decision to the county attorney.
DOBBS: All right. Drew, thank you very much, as always. Outstanding reporting.
Well, new evidence tonight that the Obama campaign is substantially connected to ACORN, despite disavows from both ACORN and the Obama campaign. And new questions tonight as well, about just how much money ACORN receives from the federal government?
As Bill Tucker reports, some members of Congress are now calling for all federal funding of any part of ACORN to be halted.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): House Republican leader, John Boehner, wants all federal funding to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, to end now. He’s joining a course of Republican members who are furious over repeated charges of voter registration fraud against ACORN.
Last month, 39 members of the House sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking the attorney general to investigate ACORN.
REP. TOM FEENEY, (R) FLORIDA: We shouldn’t be funding any political activity with taxpayer dollars. Jefferson said “It was the essence of tyranny to force a man to contribute to a cause he doesn’t believe in.”
TUCKER: But when it comes to cutting off funding, there’s a problem. Nobody has a handle on how much money ACORN receives from federal government sources.
REP. STEVE GARRETT, (R) NEW JERSEY: I would absolutely say no, we do not have a handle on that. And the reason is, as I said a moment ago, is because ACORN is an umbrella organization of 75 different organizations, as I understand it. And so, they have, if you want to use the word tentacles, out into all of these. And in any piece of legislation, you will probably not see the word ACORN in it.
TUCKER: Representative Garrett says that within the federal rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac there’s a $500 million set aside for community organizations like the groups that make up ACORN. Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank says no money goes to ACORN.
And a spokesman for ACORN says, it receives no money from federal sources, calling it self a, quote, “nonprofit, nonpartisan social justice organization” which refuses to accept federal moneys, saying funding comes from donations and membership fees.
Opponents call that laughable, claiming that, at least, 40 percent of ACORN’s funding is supplied by federal sources.
TUCKER: And ACORN has been paid $800,000 by the Obama campaign to register voters. And there’s another connection between ACORN and Democratic presidential candidate Obama, Obama along with the Department of Justice represented the group in a lawsuit to force the state of Illinois to comply with motor-voter legislation law, Lou.
DOBBS: So, again, to be clear, there is no question that the Obama campaign is paying ACORN for voter registration.
TUCKER: That’s correct.
DOBBS: And that now — now that ACORN is being charged with fraudulent registration, voter fraud, in effect, across a number of states all across the country.
TUCKER: That is absolutely correct. DOBBS: And there is no federal investigation at this point. This is absolutely obscene and outrageous. Bill, thank you very much — Bill Tucker.
DOBBS: Well, ACORN is under investigation for embezzlement and voter fraud, among other things, in at least eight states. Authorities are investigating ACORN’s voter registration drives. And ACORN employees, some of them, have been convicted of voter fraud.
Former Ohio secretary of state, Ken Blackwell, is calling for closer scrutiny of Senator Obama’s connections to ACORN.
The Obama campaign Web site, by the way, Fight the Smears, responded by attacking Blackwell, saying, quote, “Blackwell’s attacks against ACORN and community organizers constitute a vile Republican pattern of mockery and viciousness against this noble profession. Community organizers are the very individuals Republicans should be celebrating for helping people help themselves rather than depending on the government.”
That gets a little complicated since ACORN is depending on, obviously, the government and political organizations. And after disavowing a relationship with ACORN, despite all of those investigations across eight states right now into ACORN and voter fraud, the Obama campaign, obviously, supporting ACORN.
Up next: More on ACORN and the Obama campaign’s ties to the radical left-wing group. Three of the best political analysts join me.
And ahead: A dramatic sell-off on Wall Street wiping out trillions of dollars. We’ll talk with three of the best economic thinkers in the country.
And: State and local governments maybe next to receive a taxpayer- funded bailout. That special report is next.