ACORN video scandal fallout: Hasner eyes elections law changesby George Bennett | September 20th, 2009
Hasner and other Republicans have long accused the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now of perpetrating voter fraud.But Republican Gov. Charlie Crist pooh-poohed those concerns in Florida last year when John McCain’s presidential campaign tried to make them an issue. And Crist voiced concerns this year when Hasner and other Republicans pushed for heightened restrictions and stiffer penalties for groups like ACORN that specialize in voter-registration and petition drives. The legislation died.
Last week, despite recent fraud charges against 11 Florida ACORN voter registration workers, Crist’s office said there’s “no evidence” bogus voters have actually cast ballots.
The issue was raised by Crist’s 2010 GOP Senate primary rival, Marco Rubio.
Despite Crist’s position, Hasner says the recent videos featuring a faux pimp-and-prostitute duo bolster the case for elections changes because they demonstrate “the web of fraud and deception that organizations like this have been perpetrating to advance their radical left-wing agenda.”
* * *
With U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Boca Raton opposed and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miramar voting “present,” Boca Raton U.S. Rep. Ron Klein was the only Democrat in Palm Beach County’s congressional delegation to support a House measure blocking federal money for ACORN.Most other House Dems joined a unanimous GOP — including U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta — in the 345-75 vote.
Despite his anti-ACORN vote, Klein was restrained in criticizing the group.
“I dealt with ACORN a number of years ago in petition-gathering and other things and I never had a problem with them. I think that, as a community organizer, they’ve done good work over the years,” said Klein, who in March voted against a Republican anti-ACORN amendment in the Financial Services Committee.
Klein continued: “Obviously they have some problems now and they need to deal with them and until those problems are resolved I’m not going to support any federal funding or participation in any project that has federal funding. It’s a wake-up call for them to get their act together.”
* * *
Democratic Palm Beach County commission District 6 candidate Elissa Pearl initially called the commission’s tentative vote for a 14.9 percent property tax rate hike a “tough vote” that she would only consider “as an absolute last resort.”As tonight’s final vote approaches, Pearl has sharpened her position, calling the rate hike “irresponsible” and declaring herself “completely against the tax hike.”
District 6 incumbent Jess Santamaria voted for the rate increase. Santamaria hasn’t said whether he’s running next year, but if he does he’ll face Pearl in a Democratic primary.