AP, CNN report that Obama represented ACORN, but not that DOJ was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI & LAUREN AUERBACH

The AP and CNN reported that Sen. Barack Obama represented ACORN in a 1995 lawsuit against the state of Illinois but did not mention that the Justice Department was also a plaintiff in the case, along with the League of Women Voters of Illinois and the League of United Latin American Citizens. The lawsuit sought to require that Illinois implement federal law on voter registration.

In an October 14 article, the Associated Press reported that "[Sen. Barack] Obama and two other lawyers represented ACORN [the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now] in 1995 in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois to make voter registration easier." Similarly, during the October 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, investigative correspondent Drew Griffin stated that "[a]s an attorney, [Obama] represented the ACORN group in a motor voter case in the state of Illinois, a case that he won." But neither the AP nor Griffin pointed out that the Department of Justice, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) joined with ACORN as plaintiffs in the suit.

As an attorney in private practice, Obama was part of a team representing ACORN in seeking to force the state to implement the National Voter Law of 1993, the federal "motor voter" registration law. The June 5, 1995, decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), et al., v. [then-Illinois Gov.] James R. Edgar et al., affirmed with modifications the lower court's judgment in favor of the plaintiff-appellees including ACORN, the United States of America (represented by the Justice Department), the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and LULAC. The 7th Circuit's decision identifies Obama as counsel representing ACORN.

In an October 11 article, the AP also reported that Obama represented ACORN in the 1995 suit, without noting that the Justice Department, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and LULAC were plaintiffs in the case.

From the October 14 Associated Press article:

Obama and two other lawyers represented ACORN in 1995 in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois to make voter registration easier. During this year's primary, Obama hired a firm with ties to the group for a massive get-out-the-vote effort.

Obama told reporters on Tuesday that ACORN was not advising his campaign on voter registration.

From the October 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

GRIFFIN: Barack Obama goes back with this organization. It's a community-organizing organization. He was a community organizer. They crossed paths back in Chicago, worked together. He trained some of them. As an attorney, he represented the ACORN group in a motor voter case in the state of Illinois, a case that he won. And in the primary campaign, Barack Obama's campaign gave $800,000 to a subsidiary of ACORN to go out and register to vote.

Posted In
Elections, Election Law
Network/Outlet
CNN, Associated Press
Person
Drew Griffin
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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