Was ACORN involved with Obama campaign violations during the Democratic primary?

After I reported that Los Angeles NOW president Shelly Mandell endorsed Sarah Palin, I became curious about other prominent Clinton supporters who were crossing Democratic party lines and voting for McCain. One of the more striking endorsers is Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a member of the Democratic Platform Committee.
More digging led me to the PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass) and Just Say No Deal. These are people who worked for Hillary Clinton during the primaries but who have decided not to support Barack Obama in the general election.
One such Hillary supporter is Diane Mantouvalos. Ms. Mantouvalos manages the Just Say No Deal website and related activities. In speaking with her, she outlined some of her reasons she was not going to support Barack Obama.
In ideological terms, Ms. Mantouvalos sees the ascendance of Obama as a move from the center toward the far left. She said, “I do not believe Obama will abandon 20 years of socialist mentoring and govern from the center.” Centrist Democrats such as herself find John McCain more appealing than the liberal Obama.
Regarding the primary campaign, Ms. Mantouvalos pointed out that Obama ran a campaign that led to the Clinton camp filing complaints with state officials. For instance, here is a letter signed by Lyn Utrecht, Clinton campaign lawyer to the Nevada state Democratic party chair detailing multiple unethical tactics during the Nevada caucus.
The letter begins:

Dear Chair Derby:
I write on behalf of Hillary Clinton for President (”the Committee”) in regard to the January 19, 2008 Nevada Democratic Caucus. The Committee is aware of a letter addressed to you today from the Obama for America campaign requesting an inquiry into the conduct of the caucuses. The Committee shares the Obama campaign’s concern that full participation in the democratic process may have been compromised by the substantial number of irregularities occurring at the caucuses, and we fully support a complete inquiry by the Nevada State Democratic Party (the ”Party”) into all caucus improprieties.
This letter is not intended as a response to the Obama campaign’s letter. However, in the interest of a complete record, and in contrast to the alleged minor procedural problems noted by the Obama campaign, the Committee wishes to bring to your attention information we have received evidencing a premeditated and predesigned plan by the Obama campaign to engage in systematic corruption of the Party’s caucus procedures. Compounding this blatant distortion of the caucus rules was an egregious effort by the Obama campaign to manipulate the voter registration process in its own favor, thereby disenfranchising countless voters. Finally, the Committee has received a vast number of reliable reports of voter suppression and intimidation by the Obama campaign or its allies.

Ms. Mantouvalos says there is reason to believe that those allies were sometimes people involved with ACORN.
She noted that the FEC is investigating the $832,598.29 Obama paid to ACORN affiliate, Citizen Services, Inc., for various voter services. She said eyewitnesses saw Obama supporters bussed in to caucus locations from outside the area and that ACORN was often involved in the organizing.
In fact, acting on another tip, I looked for announcements calling for ACORN help in the OBAMA campaign. Here is a February 21, 2008 blog post from Writes Like She Talks which contains a call from ACORN for volunteers to work in the OBAMA campaign. None of this proves ACORN perpetrated any of the abuses listed by Utrecht but it does indicate that supposedly non-partisan ACORN has been involved in the OBAMA campaign.

GOTV for Obama! Ohio ACORN is doing a Get Out The Vote project with the OBAMA Campaign. Ohio ACORN is hiring canvassers to go door to door encouraging voters to vote for Barak Obama.
ACORN is hiring in Cleveland (216)431-3905 , Columbus (614)425-9491, Cincinnati (513)221-1737, for Dayton (call Cincinnati), and for Toledo call Cleveland. Or email polnatoh@acorn.org and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate person in each of these cities. Intake and training will be held daily at local ACORN offices. Canvass begins on Wednesday Feb. 27th and will work through election day. Please, only persons wishing to work all or most of these days (Saturday and Sunday included) should inquire.
Please do not contact the Obama campaign directly regarding this post as they are not the organization doing the hiring and it will only distract their staff and volunteers from the other important work they are doing on behalf of Senator Obama.
Good luck.

Furthermore, Newsmax is reporting that a total of 4 whistleblowers have come forward to claim that federal money given to ACORN’s housing affiliate has ended up supporting the voting initiatives. My understanding is that two new affidavits from former ACORN insiders will go up on the website of the Consumers Rights League today or tomorrow. What is at issue is whether taxpayer money has gone toward partisan political campaigning. There are many loose ends.
The number of states where ACORN is under investigation is now in the double-digits. Ms. Mantouvalos is concerned that what happened in the primaries may happen in some form in the election. One hopes that John Fund is not correct when he worries that election day may again turn into election month. However, if Ms. Mantouvalos and Ms. Utrecht’s concerns are accurate, we may indeed be in for painful process of sorting out who voted and how often they voted.
UPDATE: Another Ohio blog has the same email linking ACORN with the Obama campaign. Gateway Pundit has this link also with lots more on ACORN.

Next – What does "tax cut" mean?

I am shocked that the media has not been reporting this stuff but even more shocked that the McCain camp has not been contesting it at every turn.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama’s tax cut to all working families is not what it appears.
The IRS will become even more of a welfare bureau if Obama has his way.
Commenters, please address the facts and logic in this article and not the fact that it came from the WSJ.

Guilt by participation: New McCain ad

Ok, folks, comment away:

I maintain that the connection to Ayers matters but more from the perspective of what it means for Obama’s education policy and economic policies now. For instance, I would like to know if Obama would appoint someone with Ayers’ ideas about education. I do not dismiss the judgment problems inherent in maintaining the relationships he did but I am also concerned about who he would appoint to various positions in his administration. Presidents often look to long time advisors and mentors. It seems reasonable to examine those who have helped and mentored him along the way.

Obama supporters questioning ACORN?

I am going to write some more on this topic this week, but there are Obama supporters who are questioning the ACORN connections.
Read this exchange and see what you think.
In my conversations with former Hillary supporters, I am hearing that ACORN was active on Obama’s behalf during the primaries, with ACORN busing in outside people to caucuses.
Even if you agree with Obama’s policies, these ACORN issues seem reasonable to explore. I also think they are relevant to the current economic crisis given the lobbying ACORN has done to promote unhealthy mortgages.

Democratic Platform Committee member stumps for McCain in PA, MI

This October 7th article in the (Wilkes-Barre) Times-Leader follows up Shelly Mandell’s endorsement of McCain-Palin.

Dem group backing McCain
Prominent Hillary Clinton supporter helps open Democrats for McCain headquarters in Scranton.
SCRANTON – A major supporter of Hillary Clinton and member of the Democratic National Committee’s
Platform Committee, on Monday said the Democratic Party has nominated “the worst candidate” while
Republicans have nominated the best.
Lynn Forester de Rothschild helped open the Democrats for McCain headquarters on Main Avenue in West Scranton. About 30 supporters turned out to welcome de Rothschild and speak out for the Republican ticket.

Although I read the about the de Rothchild endorsement of McCain, I didn’t post about it at the time. What surprised me was this statement:

One organization – PUMA, which stands for Party Unity My Ass – has more than 5 million members across the country, she said. Jamie Brazil, a longtime friend of the Clintons and the Rodham family, is serving as national director of Citizens for McCain. Brazil accompanied de Rothschild on her Scranton visit.

Five. Million. Members.
Despite the size of this group and these high profile Clinton-Democratic defections, today’s Wall Street Journal minimizes this movement, even as it briefly mentions de Rothschild.
de Rothschild also spoke to veterans in Fenton, MI regarding her support for McCain. What is striking to me is where de Rothschild is going. These are small venues and small media markets, which indicates to me that her support is sincere and strong.

Presidential debate – Mortgages, taxes and Israel

Differences on many issues were clear in the debate tonight.
The three issues which stood out to me involved McCain’s plan to directly assist troubled mortgage holders, tax policy and Israel.
Question 13 on Israel was striking to me. If Israel was attacked, would the candidate commit troops to support Israel? McCain was clear that we would defend Israel. I am not sure what Obama would do based on his answer; he said he would not options off the table but he would also sit down with the Iranian president.
For readers who are keen on how the candidates stand toward Israel, I am interested in your reactions. I was surprised when Obama said this:

Now, it is true, though, that I believe that we should have direct talks — not just with our friends, but also with our enemies — to deliver a tough, direct message to Iran that, if you don’t change your behavior, then there will be dire consequences. If you do change your behavior, then it is possible for you to re-join the community of nations. Now, it may not work. But one of the things we’ve learned is, is that when we take that approach, whether it’s in North Korea or in Iran, then we have a better chance at better outcomes.

In the context of the question of whether Israel could count on US support, I think this answer might raise concerns that an Obama administration would not be a ready ally in the face of aggression toward Israel.

Democrats blocked reform of Freddie and Fannie; Received most money from Freddie and Fannie

The financial crisis is being labeled by all concerned as the most serious crisis since the Great Depression. People on the street, myself included, are scrambling to figure this out. Now Democrats are calling for more regulation of financial institutions. However, in the recent past, they blocked such regulations despite calls from the Bush administration, Alan Greenspan and John McCain. Watch this FOX News report for details.

Now examine the contributions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to politicians. Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd leads the way. He also didn’t want McCain to come to town and mess up the deal he helped construct for the bailout.
The top four receivers of contribution were:

1. Dodd, Christopher J. (D-CT) $133,900
2. Kerry, John (D-MA) $111,000
3. Obama, Barack (D-IL) $105,849
4. Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) $75,550

Now I know John McCain’s campaign manager lobbied for Freddie and Fannie but it is clear that this role by Rick Davis did not prevent Sen. McCain from calling for more oversight. Forgive me if I am less than trusting of a Democratically controlled Congress speeding a rescue package through. I believe the answer has to be a bi-partisan effort but I also am skeptical that the one’s who have been saying everything is fine should be the one’s leading the charge.
See also Bill Clinton’s confirmation that the Democrats stonewalled regulation.