RDR Investigates: ACORN active in Oklahoma
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: October 17, 2008
OKLAHOMA CITY – On the second floor of an old building in South Oklahoma City “Little Mexico” neighborhood, there is a room that until recently, housed a branch of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), a low-income advocacy organization known for left-wing activism, rabble-rousing and – shockingly – voter registration fraud.
Left hurriedly and in a shambles, the small office, coated in a layer of plaster dust, still housed computers, documents, registration forms, I-9 employment info and boxes with an IRS return address and others with a return address for an ACORN office in New Orleans.
The person working at this office, Adam Carter, had reportedly skipped town in June, according to the landlord. and in August, an ACORN representative from Tulsa came down and took more items, leaving behind what was found by Red Dirt Report. ACORN never fulfilled it’s year lease for the property and never paid a dime in rent. The landlord told Red Dirt Report that the ACORN workers seemed to attract trouble and that there was something not quite right about what they were doing. The landlord also said that the aforementioned Tulsa ACORN worker, named “Brittany,” said ACORN didn’t have any money to pay for the rent and that Carter had depleted the South Oklahoma City ACORN account.
A call to the main Oklahoma City ACORN office at 2525 Northwest Expressway revealed that the number had been disconnected. A call to the ACORN office in Tulsa, at 531 E. 36th Street North went unanswered.
Granted, these are bad times for ACORN and calls from the media may have resulted in a siege mentality for the group. Nevertheless, ACORN is active in Oklahoma and while touting itself as non-partisan and accepting federal funds, seems to want to advance the goals of “The Party” (aka Democrats) according to evidence left in the abandoned office.
If you haven’t heard of ACORN before, chances are in the past couple of weeks you can’t escape reference to the group. A little history. ACORN began in Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1970’s as a welfare-rights group working with low-income folks. But over the years, ACORN grew beyond the boundaries of the Natural State and in the process expanded the number of core issues it would address.
But in those intervening years there have been countless examples of fraud, rabble-rousing and even nepotism and embezzlement on the part of the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Then there is the growing scandal related to voter fraud connected to ACORN voter registration drives. With everyone from Mickey Mouse to Jimmy John’s (a restaurant) to the players on the Dallas Cowboys (in Nevada?!?) getting registered across the country, a growing number of states are looking into ACORN and the false voter registration forms. In Ohio alone, 200,000 voter registration forms appear to be fraudulent.
In the past decade, ACORN started ACORN Votes, ACORN’s national political action committee. Not surprisingly, earlier this year they endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president. Obama, as it turns out, represented ACORN on legal issues in 1995. Obama also worked on voter-registration drives in Illinois with Project Vote, an ACORN-allied organization that helped ACORN register over 1 million people to vote. The Obama campaign also gave over $800,000 to an ACORN subsidiary to help augment grassroots efforts in several battleground states.
As noted in a piece by Deroy Murdock at National Review Online, in his November 2007 ACORN address, Obama said: “I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career.”
Then, there is the online news site, World Net Daily, which has reported this week that Obama has not been entirely truthful about his links to the activist organization. As new reports show, he helped train ACORN activists. Why isn’t Obama being entirely truthful about his connection?
Additionally, an MSNBC investigation showed that court documents show ACORN has a troubled history.
According to a source close to the Oklahoma County Election Board, last Friday night, 30 minutes before midnight, Democrat activists brought in a stack of voter registration forms. It was noted, by this source known only to Red Dirt Report, that the activists were going to Oklahoma City area homeless shelters and signing up homeless folks with plans to take them to the polls on election day.
And on Thursday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore) said in a press release that a serious investigation into ACORN is warranted, saying, “Furthermore, those responsible for the fraudulent registrations must be thoroughly investigated, and if found guilty, punished to the full extent of the law.”
Red Dirt Report was allowed exclusive entry into the abandoned South Oklahoma City ACORN office which had been trashed and ransacked. Interestingly, flyers left behind called for people in the low-income neighborhood to come to a meeting to talk about the need for more streetlights in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Was this merely a way to get people worked up about an issue so they would come in and then in turn register as a Democrat? Some evidence appears to point to that. In fact, the evidence discovered in the abandoned office on South Robinson revealed maps of Oklahoma City broken down in House districts. Districts where a Republican won, but just barely, were highlighted. Papers related to the 2006 election results for Oklahoma were also noted.
Red Dirt Report contacted ACORN regional offices in Little Rock and New Orleans seeking comment on ACORN's activities in Oklahoma and ACORN activist Adam Carter. However, those calls were not returned.
It should be noted that a source close to Red Dirt Report has it on good authority that a more serious investigation into ACORN may take place.
In Oklahoma’s First Congressional District, in the Tulsa area, Democrat congressional candidate Georgianna Oliver, running against incumbent Republican John Sullivan, was endorsed by ACORN in a letter that was posted at Oliver’s campaign website. Writes North Tulsa (ACORN) Chapter Chairperson Patricia Walker, “Our members are excited to support you and believe that you are committed to representing our issues in this most-important race.”
The blog Living On Tulsa Time found the ACORN endorsement, on ACORN letterhead, which has since been scrubbed from the campaign site OliverForUSCongress.com. Why wouldn’t Oliver want to note that endorsement?
We may never know. A call to the Oliver campaign office in Tulsa was not returned. Neither was a call to the Sullivan campaign, seeking comment on Oliver accepting the endorsement.
Nevertheless, the investigation continues and Red Dirt Report will bring you more information on ACORN’s ties to Oklahoma as it comes to our attention.
Copyright 2008 West Marie Media
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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more