The controversial community action group ACORN considered getting involved in the state Senate District 33 race in 2008, the seat held by Tulsa Democratic mayoral candidate Tom Adelson, according to internal documents.
Adelson denied any knowledge of, or participation in, the organization’s plans.
Adelson’s seat was one of five races ACORN was targeting in the 2008 election based on internal state assessments on “how we (ACORN) can take power” in Oklahoma. The overall goal was to affect key state races to change control of the state legislature and “return state senate power to progressives in 2008,” the documents said.
Of the five targeted races, two were considered “low priority” – House District 85 and Adelson’s seat.
“This seat will not help the Democrats take the senate, but it will help them keep it,” the documents said about Adelson’s seat. “It is unlikely that we will get to Tulsa in time to work on this race, but if a cry for help went out to ACORN, we would want to respond.”
In response to questions, Adelson issued a statement saying, "I have never had any association with ACORN. Never have, never will. If anyone with ACORN broke the law, they should be punished. I salute Congress for cutting ACORN’s funding and I believe the entire entity should be disbanded."
At the time, the races targeted by ACORN were all hotly contested in the previous election. Three of the races were won by less than 300 votes, Adelson won his by 910 votes. In what ACORN called their number one priority race, Republican Sen. Jim Reynolds won by about 3,600 votes.
The documents outlined plans to organize independent and low frequency voters “around a progressive agenda” in an effort to remove Republicans from office and help keep Democrats in.
The internal documents were found in abandoned computers left over after ACORN vacated one of its Oklahoma City offices and were obtained by Republican state Rep. Mike Reynolds.
ACORN is heavily involved in voter registration drives and advocates for low- and moderate-income people on fair wage, education and housing issues.
Controversy has surrounded the group. Several states are investigating it for voter fraud and other charges. The U.S. Senate and House have passed bills to deny ACORN any more federal funding in light of various allegations against the group.