Documents Reveal Coordination Between ACORN Affiliate and Justice Department Voting Section

Judicial Watch has done it again. It has produced–following a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ)–documents that suggest extensive coordination and communications between the DOJ Voting Section and former ACORN affiliate Project Vote.

Project Vote appears to be directing DOJ resources toward particular states; is having meetings with DOJ staff; and is even recommending lawyers to work in the Justice Department Voting Section that will oversee the 2012 presidential election.

Project Vote also appears to have played a role in the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s administration, which aims to force the state to increase voter registration in welfare agencies and drug treatment offices.

The documents also appear to show that Project Vote receives special access to, and meetings with, DOJ officials. So do other voter fraud-deniers, such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Tova Wang at Demos; and the Brennan Center for Justice. I write about numerous similar instances in my book, Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department.

These activist groups have enjoyed access to the top political appointees at DOJ over voting–including Aaron McCree Lewis, in the Office of the Attorney General; Sam Hirsch, Deputy Associate Attorney General; and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of voting issues, Matthew Colangelo.

Emails obtained by Judicial Watch also suggest that Project Vote was directing complaints to the persons at DOJ responsible for deploying election monitoring resources, urging them to devote resources to races around the country–particularly where Tea Party groups were active in efforts to combat voter fraud.

On February 23, 2010, Estelle Rogers, head of Project Vote and a former ACORN lawyer, also urged Voting Section Chief Chris Herren to hire two particular ACORN-approved attorneys to work in the Justice Department Voting Section. “Now that the application period has closed, I want to heartily recommend two candidates to you,” she wrote.

“Thanks very much Estelle,” Herren wrote back.

Eventually, the Voting Section in fact hired numerous lawyers from left-wing groups, such as those that were dedicated to aggressive enforcement of the welfare agency voter registration provisions of Motor Voter. The relevant emails obtained by Judicial Watch are redacted, so we don’t know if the individuals hired were the same ones suggested by Rogers. However, we do know that DOJ hired attorneys expert in Motor Voter–such as Bradley Heard and Elizabeth Westfall, who brought lawsuits while at the Advancement Project that stopped Colorado and Michigan from purging voter rolls of ineligible voters prior to the 2008 Presidential election.

But that isn’t the worst of it. Other documents suggest that a swarm of left-wing groups is meeting regularly with top DOJ election officials. The documents show these groups urging the DOJ to open investigations into particular people, states and events.

For example, Rogers met with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes to discuss lawsuits under Section 7 of the Motor Voter law. Previously, Fernandes had announced her unwillingness to enforce portions of the same law designed to ensure dead voters or ineligible felons were not on the rolls. Former Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates testified under oath that he had recommended investigations into eight states with possibly corrupted voter rolls, but Fernandes and other Obama appointees had spiked the investigations.

Instead, the documents show pleasing Project Vote was a DOJ priority.

In an October 10, 2010 email, Rogers made clear that she wanted the DOJ to take action against then-Senate candidate Mark Kirk in Illinois (Rogers incorrectly refers to him “Paul” Kirk). Rogers places the words “voter integrity” in quotes, as if fictional. Herren respondes: “Hi Estelle….We are also receiving complaints from various sources. For all these, we are reviewing and taking action as appropriate. If you have any issues that come up that you want us to be aware of, please feel free to shoot us an email (to Brian [Heffernan], Bert and I) – that’s the easiest way to keep track of the many things coming in the door.”

The “many things” include complaints made by left-wing groups about voter integrity and Tea Party efforts.

The documents reveal how left-wing civil rights groups work against Republican or conservative candidates by attempting to leverage law enforcement against them. These groups have a cozy relationship with the Obama Justice Department, and know just who to call if they want something done against someone like Mark Kirk.

The documents that Project Vote sent to the DOJ also include allegations against a client of mine, True the Vote. That might explain why the Justice Department took no action on a complaint that True the Vote sent DOJ in October 2010 documenting that self-professed non-citizens were registering to vote in Houston. We even sent documents showing that applicants marked “no” to questions about whether they were US Citizens.

True the Vote didn’t get the kind responsive emails that Project Vote did. They didn’t get special meetings with Voting Section staff and political appointees like Project Vote did. They didn’t receive any telephone calls, requests for more documents, interview requests, nothing. In fact, they didn’t get any response from Justice. Of course the most obvious difference in how Justice treated Project Vote compared with True the Vote is that DOJ launched a series of enforcement efforts against Rhode Island and Louisiana, just like Project Vote wanted. Against officials in Texas with the corrupted voter rolls, DOJ did nothing.

These emails are just the tip of the iceberg. The emails refer to other emails, not disclosed by DOJ, which involve employees not within the scope of the request. When Judicial Watch expands the FOIA to cast a wider net, and more employees that are named in the emails, more evidence of the coordination between the ACORN affiliate and your Justice Department’s Voting Section is likely to be found.

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