WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether the community activist group ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election. A senior law enforcement official confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Thursday.
A second senior law enforcement official says the FBI was looking at results of recent raids on ACORN offices in several states for any evidence of a coordinated national scam.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Justice Department regulations forbid discussing ongoing investigations particularly so close to an election.
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, says it has registered 1.3 million young people, minorities and poor and working-class voters _ most of whom tend to be Democrats.
Republican accusations about the group were raised during Wednesday's presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and GOP candidate John McCain.
Some ACORN employees have been accused of submitting false voter registration forms _ including some signed `Mickey Mouse' or other fictitious characters.
Those voter registration cards have become the focus of fraud investigations in Nevada, Connecticut, Missouri and at least five other states. Election officials in Ohio and North Carolina also recently questioned the group's voter forms.
ACORN has said the "vast majority" of its workers are conscientious, but some might have turned in duplicate applications or provided fake information to pad their pay. Workers caught submitting false information have been fired, ACORN officials say.
ACORN says laws in a number of states require it to submit all registration cards it collects even dubious ones, so its workers segregate applications with missing, suspicious or false information and flag them so state election officials can quickly check them further.