ACORN Responds to Palin Attack and More

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 13, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: ACORN's is under fire, but tonight ACORN's national spokesperson is here to respond.

Now the group works to register low income voters and is under investigation for voter fraud in at least 13 states. But what exactly is ACORN's relationship with Senator Obama?

Governor Palin says this in an e-mail to supporters, "ACORN's political action committee has endorsed Barack Obama, and Senator Obama himself said 'I have been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career.' The Obama campaign even paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN affiliate for get out the vote activity.

And now we find out that ACORN is suspected of voter registration fraud. But the Obama-Biden Democrats would rather sweep these facts under the rug and use their mainstream media allies to bury this story.

But we can't let that happen. We can't allow leftist groups like ACORN to steal this election."

Joining us live is Scott Levenson, national spokesperson for ACORN. Welcome, Scott, and let me ask you about Governor Palin's e-mail to find out if you agree with it.

First of all, has the ACORN pack endorsed Senator Obama for president?


VAN SUSTEREN: And has Senator Obama's campaign paid $800,000 or any sum nearly that to any ACORN or ACORN affiliate to get out the vote?

LEVENSON: No--$800,000 was paid to CSI, a private organization. A small portion of that contract was paid to ACORN for get out the vote services in the primary.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you say "small portion"? What's small portion?

LEVENSON: I believe it was $80,000.


All right, here's the problem. In at least Cuyahoga County up in Ohio, and this is a state that's neck and neck--49 Obama, 47 McCain in our polls. ACORN has admitted to county election officials that it can't eliminate fraud from its operation. Did ACORN admit that?


In fact, this is a real important point, so I want to thank you for having me on. But it's important that the viewers I think hear the story of what's actually happened here.

We registered nationwide 1.3 million folks over an 18 month period, employing some 13,000 workers during that process. And during that time on a weekly basis, a by-weekly basis, we identified and tagged potential problem voter registration forms. At that time, we notified local boards of elections of those problematic forms.

What we're hearing about today, Greta, is the accumulation of those forms over an 18-month period that some folks are wrapping in an umbrella of fraud. And that's just not the case.

These are forms that we identified, we brought to the local board's attention, and we know that they might be problems and ask for the local boards to identify them.

But the real story here is how people registered to vote in this election for the first time in record numbers. Poor folks and inner city folks and young folks registered in record numbers, Greta, and we're kind of proud of that work.

Watch Greta's interview

VAN SUSTEREN: And I understand that. And let's leave--let's set aside the issue of the allegation of fraud by some, because that would be a knockdown, drag out fight, and I'm not seeking to have that.

But here's the problem is that when you have Freddie Johnson saying that he registered 73 times--if nothing else, it appears incompetence, inefficiency-

LEVENSON: Greta, please-

VAN SUSTEREN: But even more than that, it makes the integrity of the system so suspect in such an important election.

LEVENSON: Greta, you know what would really be suspect? What would really be suspect is if a group like ACORN determined that one Freddie Johnson was different than another Freddie Johnson.

What's important that the viewers understand is, as a matter of law, ACORN is required to turn over all forms to the local boards of elections. That's a requirement of law. We take a form, Greta, and we give it to the local board. And that's a requirement. That was--

VAN SUSTEREN: Scott, if you flood a local board with defective registrations, you're going to make it virtually impossible to ferret it out in problems.

LEVENSON: Greta, isn't it more important that 1.3 million folks are excited about this election in ways they never were before. Isn't it important--

VAN SUSTEREN: Can I tell you--I'll be the first one to march right alongside of you and say--stop.


VAN SUSTEREN: Wait a second, Scott. You're missing -- you're missing the point--is that I'll be the first one to march alongside of you one person, one vote.

And when I see a battleground state, it's hard for me to celebrate all the possibilities if I'm suspicious of the integrity of the process, that's the problem.

LEVENSON: But Greta, the important thing is that ACORN showed its due diligence, identified the local officials, and we aggressively recruited new voters to the system. That's an exciting thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: I got that. That is very exciting. But what's not exciting is someone who registers 73 times, because the problem it sends to the rest of us a message that the election's going to be a fraud.

LEVENSON: That's why we brought it to the local elector's attention. That's why we did our due diligence.

VAN SUSTEREN: You've got the problem in Nevada.

LEVENSON: That's why we set up a process to identify it.

Every problem that you're racing is a problem that we pointed out. That's important for you viewers to know. We are required to turn over forms. We were required to take forms and turn it over. That's what we were required to do under law.

VAN SUSTEREN: Scott, it's a problem. It's a problem that exists.

And we're approaching a November 4th election. And if we still have the problem, there's nothing we can do about it in terms of trying to correct it. And we're on the eve of a very important election. But it's a problem we have in many other states, and, unfortunately, battleground states.

But, anyway, I've got to go. I'm sorry to cut you off, because I know that this is such a hot topic. Will you come back?

LEVENSON: Thank you for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Will you come back?

LEVENSON: Love to come back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Greta, thank you Scott.

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