LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Las Vegas director for a political advocacy group accused of illegally paying canvassers to register voters during last year’s presidential campaign has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and agreed to testify against the group and another employee.
Christopher Edwards pleaded guilty this week to two gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters. He agreed to testify against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, and Amy Busefink, a former regional voter registration director.
The case threatens the group’s ability to operate in Nevada, with the possibility that the group could have its status as a nonprofit corporation revoked, said Conrad Hafen, chief deputy attorney general for Nevada.
Hafen’s said Edwards’ testimony strengthens the state’s case against ACORN and Busefink.
“It adds to the evidence that we already have,” Hafen said Wednesday. “It makes a strong case that much stronger.”
Busefink’s lawyer, Kevin Stolworthy, said she plans to fight the charges. A lawyer for ACORN did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment from The Associated Press.
ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring called the plea deal a “desperate attempt to get publicity and grab headlines.”
“The prosecution is clearly willing to cut a deal with an admitted criminal,” Kettenring said. “Shame on them.”
Prosecutors said in court documents that Edwards, Busefink and ACORN created a bonus incentive program that paid canvassers an extra $5 per shift if they turned in at least 21 voter registration cards at the end of the day. Prosecutors said violates state laws that prevent a system that pays workers based on the number of registrations they turn in.
Stolworthy said Busefink, now living in Seminole, Fla., told Edwards not to use the so-called “blackjack” plan but he did anyway.
“When she found out about it she told him to stop,” Stolworthy said. “This guy was the instigator of this and the person who dreamed it up and they’re giving him a break to go after others who told him not to do it.”
Edwards is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 17. Under the plea deal, prosecutors are recommending that he receive informal probation, pay a $500 fine and perform 16 hours of community service.
The case is the result of an investigation that began last year into the group that works to get low-income people to vote.
In October, the secretary of state’s office raided an ACORN office in Las Vegas after complaints surfaced that the group was turning in bogus voter registration forms. Secretary of State Ross Miller said at the time that some of the registrations included forms for football stars Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys starting lineup.
ACORN officials at the time said they separated and identified registrations that they thought were fraudulent when they turned them into the Clark County registrar. The group said the law prevented them from withholding registrations they thought were fake.
<...So I guess if you believe there has never ever been voter fraud...>
There is a difference between voter fraud and election fraud. Florida was an example of election fraud.
<...that Bush won fair and square and the dems were silly to contest florida....>
The dems did not "contest Florida". They asked for recounts in a few counties that were suspect, as allowed by the law. The Republicans contested the perfectly legal recounts and lost all the court cases until they got to the Supreme Court, where Republicans had appointed 7 of the 9 judges. It's call BUSH vs. Gore for a reason. Bush brought the case, not Gore.
<...ACORN is such a crooked organization and will do anything in their power to get what they want, including cheating, buying votes or whatever it takes....>
Prove it. Prove that even ONE fraudulent vote was cast due to ACORN's get out the vote initiatives. Bush wasted tens of millions of YOUR tax dollars trying to prove what there isn't even a shred of evidence for. He even fired 8 attorneys because they wouldn't bring the false cases before the '06 elections.
So I guess if you believe there has never ever been voter fraud that Bush won fair and square and the dems were silly to contest florida.
ACORN is such a crooked organization and will do anything in their power to get what they want, including cheating, buying votes or whatever it takes.
I guess you can't read, and you didn't answer my question.
Also, one other question- If this hypothetical thing you *suggest* happened,- EVER,- why can't the RNC, with the help of the justice department, FBI etc., and the infinite resources of the government for eight long years - ever prove it?
<...who didn't exist could get a voters card ,why couldn't he get a drivers license or a valid ID...>
I guess you haven't gotten a driver's license or passport anytime in the last couple of decades? It's totally different.
<...Also, I thought acorn had dead people registered to vote...>
No, but it wouldn't matter anyway. It's not a matter of REGISTRATION, it's a matter of VOTES. A registration does NOT equal a vote.
Once again, there has not been even a single invalid vote proven despite tens of millions spent on "voter fraud" cases by the Bush adiministration. A few Bush judges knew the cases were bogus and refused to time the trials to coincide with elections for political purposes. They are the famous 8 fired by Bush at the behest of Karl Rove, despite his denials.
ANSWER - Why aren't you so exercised about intimidation at the polling places? That would actually affect VOTES, not registrations, and Republicants can actually point to ONE such case, in Philly last year. Of course, whites terrorize blacks away from polling places in many parts of the south EVERY election.
If a John Wareham at 444 Republican Ave., who didn't exist, and he showed up to vote, he'd have to show a valid ID.
If a John Wareham who didn't exist could get a voters card ,why couldn't he get a drivers license or a valid ID.?The Mexicans do it all the time.
In which case how would we know ?
Also, I thought acorn had dead people registered to vote.
And not a single fraudulent VOTE has been documented, NOT ONE.
Amazing how much smoke can be thrown out by a smoke generator, but there's no fire, not even a smouldering coal, not a match.
Just a big, humongous, smoke generator called the RNC.