Despite a steady stream of accusations, mostly by Republicans, the anti-poverty group ACORN has never been linked to any actual cases of election fraud.
But that isn’t going to stop Fox News host Bill O’Reilly from asking the Republican governor of Minnesota to engage in a witch-hunt for proof that fraudulent ACORN registrations were behind Senator Al Franken’s narrow victory last fall over a Republican incumbent.
“A published report says that ACORN in Minnesota signed up 43,000 new voters for last November’s election,” O’Reilly began on Thursday. “As you may know, Al Franken won the Senate race in Minnesota by 312 votes — and now some say the fix was in.”
“I despise Al Franken,” O’Reilly continued. “There’s nothing about him I respect. But I think this might be jumping the gun, and I’m a little conflicted about it. … There’s no doubt that ACORN is corrupt. It is. But to make an accusation without any proof that some of the ACORN voters were fraudulent and therefore Franken didn’t really win legitimately … I don’t know if that’s fair.”
It soon became clear, however, that O’Reilly’s idea of fairness has nothing to do with refraining from smearing people without proof and a lot to do with demanding an official investigation to “clean up” an issue he himself has concocted.
Fox contributor Laura Ingraham joined O’Reilly at that point and reeled off a litany of recent charges against ACORN. “I think it’s legitimate to ask all these questions,” she insisted.
“Absolutely,” O’Reilly agreed, suggesting that the state of Minnesota should go over “all 43,000 ACORN-generated ballots and see if these people actually voted, if they are still alive”
Despite his previously-expressed desire not to jump the gun, O’Reilly was willing by that point to speculate on the possible outcome of such an investigation. “I don’t know legally,” he mused, “once an election is certified, whether if voter fraud comes to light, you can do anything.”
“I’m sure there’s a recall provision in Minnesota,” Ingraham suggested helpfully. “What we know now about ACORN, nothing should surprise us.”
“I would just like to see it as an exercise for the state of Minnesota to help clean up the election,” O’Reilly concluded. “You’ve got 43,000 registrations. You can see how many of those people voted and whether those people actually exist. … So let’s ask Governor Pawlenty to do that — and we’ll give the Factor audience on Monday his reply.”
This video is from Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, broadcast Oct. 1, 2009.