Did Fraud Enable Al Franken’s ‘Efficient Campaign’?

Franken photoOver the weekend, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) was a keynote speaker at the NetRoots Nation conference in Las Vegas where he said his 2008 campaign was “the most efficient campaign I think in the history of the Senate. We won by 312 votes. We didn’t waste one bit of effort.”

That’s for sure. In December 2009, NLPC President Peter Flaherty wrote:

After a legal battle and a selective recount, Democrat Al Franken was declared the winner over incumbent Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) by 312 votes. ACORN-endorsed Franken no doubt benefitted from the 43,000 new voters that ACORN and its affiliates claimed to have registered in Minnesota before the election.  Even assuming only half of these people voted, and the level of fraud was only 2%, it is likely Franken would have lost. Of course, ACORN voter-registration fraud rates have been shown to be exponentially higher. For instance, of the 1.3 million new registrations generated by ACORN-affiliate Project Vote last year, 400,000 were thrown out.

Now comes the release of an 18-month study by a group called Minnesota Majority that indicates hundreds of convicted felons, who do not have the right to vote, voted in 2008.
Minnesota Majority compared a list of convicted felons with a list of voters. Statewide, there were 2,803 matches based on first name, middle name, last name and year of birth.

Because the highest concentrations of matches were in Hennepin County that includes Minneapolis, and Ramsey County that includes Saint Paul, a more detailed analysis was conducted. Minnesota Majority identified 341 felons who it believes voted in 2008.

While it is impossible to know how the 341 voted, the fact that they did fuels more questions about the legitimacy of Franken’s victory.

According to Minnesota Majority’s Dan McGrath:

Minnesota Majority isn’t interested in undoing the 2008 election. That’s been decided, and right or wrong, it’s done. Our objective is exposing problems with the past election to prevent their recurrence in the 2010 election coming up in November.

Prosecutors in Hennepin and Ramsey counties are downplaying, discrediting, and misstating Minnesota Majority’s report.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) says the allegations of fraud are credible. “There’s a serious allegation to that effect and if it turns out to be true, it’s quite possible,” Pawlenty said in an interview with Fox News.

On July 15, Minnesota GOP Chairman Tony Sutton sent a letter to 87 county attorneys in Minnesota imploring them to conduct investigations in their counties.

Also on July 15, U.S. Rep. Darryl Issa, (R-CA), asked that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie maintain all records from the election.

Issa, Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was instrumental in exposing ACORN voter fraud last year. In July of 2009, he released an 88-page report detailing a host of ACORN abuses.

At NetRoots, Franken warned of a corporate takeover of the media, asking “how long will it take for these monoliths to buy enough elections…” Franken’s concern about the integrity of elections apparently doesn’t extend to his own.

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