Ted Olson and the Tip of the ACORN Iceberg

The hot ticket in debate watching parties last night was the Republican National Lawyer’s Association event which included ceremonies honoring former Solicitor General Ted Olson as the RNLA’s Lawyer of the Year. Olson is among a small handful of lawyers who have argued 50 cases before the United States Supreme Court. He has prevailed in over 75 percent of those arguments. The prestigious lineup of heavyweights honoring Olson included former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Given widespread allegations of voter fraud in the upcoming elections and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Tuesday night, it was easy to find a conversation about Ohio and ACORN in this room full of lawyers.

The full 6th Circuit Court on Tuesday night decided in favor of the Ohio Republican Party in their suit requiring the use of government records to verify the identities and validity of the thousands of newly-registered voters by outside groups such as ACORN. Ohio’s Secretary of State, Democrat Jennifer Brunner, had previously refused that standard stating that she didn’t believe it was required by Ohio law. Brunner was also recently required by a federal court to turn over new voter registration data from county boards of elections for identity verification.

Before his speech honoring Olson, I talked to John Ashcroft about the seriousness of these widespread voter fraud allegations. Ashcroft stressed, “We must preserve the integrity of the ballot. I think for people who only care about access, they invite a devaluation of democracy when votes that should not be counted or should not be allowed are welcome. So, it’s very important to have a strategy to limit the kind of contamination that would otherwise appear in an election. It is important because remediation is almost impossible.”

Ashcroft added, “In much of the law you can correct something that’s been done improperly. It’s virtually impossible to set aside an election and probably should be. We should be very careful going in to take the steps necessary to prevent vote fraud. It is very important to have Crawford v Marion County Board of Elections which allows and recognizes the necessity for integrity as well as access. I think it’s a striking decision which was written by [United States Supreme Court] Justice Stevens whose heritage in Chicago may be a reason for his having recognized the need for voter integrity.”

Ted Olson told me, “I read today, I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but they [ACORN] acknowledged having to get rid of a thousand people or more who were participating in voter fraud efforts. If that’s right, it’s unbelievable, and that’s just the ones that got caught. So you know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It appears to be an organization that is incapable of obeying the law. It is incapable of complying with the rules that are so important to our democracy. I hope that this will be investigated very, very thoroughly…

“There are lots of voting fraud statutes — the most significant thing we have is the integrity of our electoral process. There are lots of laws that protect it if the Justice Department is willing to enforce them. The Democrats have intimidated the law enforcement officials because every time they try to enforce voting law statues someone stands up and screams about racism. The enforcers are intimidated. But if they can bring a RICO case against the tobacco companies, they can bring a RICO case against people who involve themselves in systematic voter fraud.”

An ACORN spokesman said in reports on Tuesday that his organization employs around 13,000 employees in 21 states and has had to fire over 1,000 people this year for turning in “questionable and suspicious” documentation.