Print media reported that Obama represented ACORN, but not that DOJ was a fellow plaintiff in the lawsuit

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS & MATT GERTZ

Numerous print media outlets reported that Sen. Barack Obama represented the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now in the 1990s in a lawsuit, but they did not report that the Department of Justice was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit with the League of Women Voters and others. The lawsuit sought to require the state of Illinois to implement federal law on voter registration.

In October 10 and 11 articles, numerous print media outlets, including the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, the Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Politico, reported that Sen. Barack Obama represented the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in the 1990s in a lawsuit. But those articles did not note that the Department of Justice joined with ACORN as a plaintiff in the suit, which sought to force the State of Illinois to implement a federal voter registration law. By contrast, in an October 10 article, The New York Times reported: "While Mr. Obama did represent Acorn in a lawsuit in 1995, Acorn was on the same side as the Justice Department." The Times also noted that "other organizations, including the League of Women Voters," were plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

As an attorney in private practice, Obama represented ACORN in a 1995 lawsuit against the State of Illinois 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 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the case, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), et al., v. [then-Illinois Gov.] James R. Edgar, affirmed the lower court's finding for the plaintiff-appellees including ACORN, the United States of America, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and the League of United Latin American Citizens. The decision identifies Obama as counsel representing ACORN.

From the decision (retrieved from the Lexis database):

COUNSEL: For ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS FOR REFORM NOW, (ACORN), EQUIP FOR EQUALITY, INCORPORATED, JACQUELINE ANDRADE, SWENDOLYN COLEMAN, CHINETHA DIXON, JOEY L. WOODEN, Plaintiffs - Appellees (95-1800): Judson H. Miner, Jeffrey Cummings, Barack H. Obama, DAVIS, MINER, BARNHILL & GALLAND, Chicago, IL.

For CATHERINE A. CALDER, RENE D. LUNA, LEAGUE OF WOMAN VOTERS OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiffs - Appellees (95-1801): Thomas R. Meites, Joan H. Burger, Lynn S. Frackman, Paul W. Mollica, MEITES, FRACKMAN, MULDER & BURGER, Chicago, IL.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee (95-1802): Joan C. Laser, AUSA, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Criminal Division, Chicago, IL. Steven H. Rosenbaum, Samuel R. Bagenstos, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Civil Rights Division, Appellate Section, Washington, DC. Thomas P. Walsh, AUSA, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Civil Division, Chicago, IL. Tricia A. Tingle, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, DC.

For LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS, Plaintiff - Appellee (95-1803): Maria G. Valdez, MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE & EDUCATION FUND, Chicago, IL. Arthur Aram Baer, PUERTO RICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, INC., New York, NY.

Network/Outlet
Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, The Politico
Show/Publication
Columbia Daily Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.