Mike Crites (R)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-The community organizing group ACORN should be investigated under federal and state anti-corruption laws, said Mike Crites, the Republican candidate for Ohio attorney general.
Crites, a former U.S. attorney, said authorities ought to investigate voter fraud allegations against ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The group is accused of generating thousands of bogus voter registration applications.
He said the investigation should be conducted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO.
"I've spent 20 years as a prosecutor so it's not too hard to spot a bad apple - or in this case, a bad ACORN," Crites said in a statement Tuesday. "While all parties are innocent until proven guilty, widespread allegations of voter registration fraud throughout Ohio and across the country present enough evidence to call for a full-blown investigation of the activist group ACORN."
Crites and state Treasurer Richard Cordray, a Democrat, are vying to complete the two years remaining on former Attorney General Marc Dann's term. Dann, a Democrat, resigned in May amid a sexual harassment scandal.
Crites said if elected, on his first day in office he would confer with county and federal prosecutors to begin gathering evidence of possible election fraud by ACORN.
Crites said the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has heard testimony from a voter who said he signed 73 voter registration forms over a five-month period in exchange for cigarettes or cash from ACORN workers.
In Hamilton County, the Board of Elections is investigating an ACORN worker for submitting voter registrations for people who don't exist.
On Tuesday, the the Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, filed a RICO lawsuit against ACORN.
"ACORN appears to be recklessly disregarding Ohio laws and adding thousands of fraudulent voters to the state's roles in the process," Maurice Thompson, Director of the Buckeye Institute's 1851 Center for Constitutional Law said. "Such voter fraud erodes the value of legally cast votes."
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