The surprise found in a July 6 Newsmax article by David Patten is not that Patten is trying to smear Al Franken by baselessly linking him to ACORN -- Patten has a long record of making baseless claims about the long post-election Minnesota Senate battle between Franken and Norm Coleman -- it's that the Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum is sticking a little closer to the facts these days.
Like Patten, Vadum has a record of playing fast and loose with the facts, particularly about ACORN. This time, Vadum manages to resist the excesses of Patten's anti-Franken spin: While Patten asserts that Patten "stops just short of saying ACORN grabbed the election away from Coleman," he made it clear that Vadum actually stopped a lot shorter than that by writing, "Vadum says he has no evidence ACORN manipulated the outcome in Minnesota, and Coleman's own attorneys have said the same thing."
Indeed, the only involvement in the Minnesota Senate race Vadum can offer is tangental -- "ACORN helped Minnesota's secretary of state, Mark Ritchie, get elected in 2006." But Patten shoots Vadum down here too:
Vadum blames Coleman's repeated setbacks on "the permissive environment created by the secretary of state who is ACORN's man -- endorsed by them, and ACORN supporters gave money to him."
None of which indicates ACORN has done anything improper, let alone illegal, in Minnesota.
Indeed, despite Patten's article carrying the headline "Experts: Did ACORN Elect Al Franken?" Patten proves that the answer is a definitive no. Later in his article, he's moved to point out again that "None of which, it should be noted again, proves that ACORN did anything wrong in Minnesota."
Patten's "experts," by the way, are all right-wingers -- Vadum, Hans von Spakovsky, a right-wing Minnesota blogger, and the vice president of the Republican National Lawyers Association. As per Newsmax style, only the Republican lawyer is identified by ideology, and that appears to be because it's in the name of her group.