A federal bill that seeks to restore voting rights in national elections to felons released from prison previously was a pet project of the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was briefed on state laws governing voting-rights restoration for former felons encountered during general voter-registration drives.
The information comes as a study released this week by Minnesota Majority, a watchdog group, found the six-month election recount that determined Al Franken won the Minnesota Senate seat may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally.
Last summer, the Democracy Restoration Act was introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. The bill would restore federal voting rights to felons who have served their sentences.
In March, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill, reviewing testimony on the subject from the NAACP’s Washington bureau director as well as the Brennan Center, a liberal activist group at New York University.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, The New York Times published a profile of ACORN agents working to restore voter rights for felons in a number of states. The group also was advising convicted felons on local laws that allowed them to vote.
ACORN, convicted in multiple voter-fraud cases, says it disbanded in March due to falling revenues.
The New York Times noted some felony disenfranchisement laws are held over from exclusionary Jim-Crow-era laws, such as poll taxes and ballot box literacy tests, affecting about 5.3 million former and current felons nationally.
Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a Harvard law professor who served as senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign on criminal-justice issues, said he had briefed campaign officials about felony disenfranchisement, including how to register felons.
The Times noted none of the national felony voter-registration organizations interviewed by the newspaper had contacted Republican Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign for similar briefs on the issue of registering felons.
Ogletree has been involved in pushing legislation to end felony disenfranchisement.
WND previously reported Ogletree was a mentor of both Barack and Michelle Obama. He has been closely linked to the Black Panthers and to radical black ideology. He is a key member of the reparations movement and once pursued the possibility of bringing a class-action lawsuit to win reparations for descendants of African slaves.
Felons gave Franken his seat?
Yesterday, FoxNews.com reported felons who voted illegally may have cast the determining ballots in the Minnesota race that put Franken in office.
An 18-month study by Minnesota Majority found at least 341 convicted felons largely in Minneapolis–St. Paul voted illegally in the 2008 Senate race between Franken, a Democrat, and incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
After a recount, Franken beat Coleman by 312 votes – fewer votes than the number of felons whose illegal ballots were counted, charged the Minnesota Majority, which matched publicly available conviction lists with voting records.
The group claimed state and federal authorities were stonewalling efforts for action on its study.
Amnesty to ensure ‘progressive’ rule
The issue of felony registration is not the only controversy to be attached to Obama’s 2008 campaign.
During the campaign, Obama promised to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority. In exchange for his vote on the health-care bill, Obama reiterated that pledge in June to Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, sponsor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Bill, which seeks to document up to 12 million illegal immigrants inside the U.S.
As WND reported, a recent adviser to Obama whose union group is among the most frequent visitors to the White House, Eliseo Medina, declared granting citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants would expand the “progressive” electorate and help ensure a “progressive” governing coalition for the long term.
Medina, international executive vice president of Service Employees International Union, was referring specifically to Gutierrez’s bill.
“We reform the immigration laws; it puts 12 million people on the path to citizenship and eventually voters,” stated Medina, speaking at a June 2009 Washington conference for America’s Future Now!
Medina said that during the presidential election in November 2008, Latinos and immigrants “voted overwhelmingly for progressive candidates. Barack Obama got two out of every three voters that showed up.
“Can you imagine if we have, even the same ratio, two out of three? Can you imagine 8 million new voters who care about our issues and will be voting?” Medina asked. “We will be creating a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.”
The SEIU is closely linked to ACORN. SEIU’s former president, Andrew Stern, was the most frequently logged White House visitor, according to an official list released in October.
Medina and the SEIU are top supporters of Gutierrez’s comprehensive immigration-reform bill.
During the most recent presidential campaign, Medina and Gutierrez served on Obama’s National Latino Advisory Council. Also on the council was Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., the co-sponsor of Gutierrez’s immigration-reform bill. Medina was a chief lobbyist credited with a change in the longstanding policy of the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the U.S. The union reversed its stance against illegal immigration in February 2000, instead calling for new amnesty for millions of illegals.
The New Zeal blog documented how Medina was honored in 2004 by Chicago’s Democratic Socialists of America for his “vital role in the AFL-CIO’s reassessment of its immigration policy.” That year, Medina became a Democratic Socialists honorary chairman.
The Democratic Socialists also supported Gutierrez’s 1998 bid for Congress. In the mid-1990s, Gutierrez served on the board of Illinois Public Action alongside a number of Democratic Socialists members, including Obama health-care adviser Quentin Young.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott