Former ACORN figure sentenced to probation

Christopher Edwards, the brains behind an illegal voter registration incentive program that has ACORN, the grass-roots community organizing group, facing felony charges, was sentenced to three years of probation today.

Edwards pleaded guilty in August to two gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit compensation. As part of the plea deal, the state attorney general's office dropped 13 felony counts of compensation for registration of voters against Edwards and he agreed to testify against ACORN and co-defendant Amy Busefink.

District Judge Donald Mosley ordered Edwards to also pay a $500 fine and work 16 hours a month of community service during his probation period. Mosley also ordered Edwards to get a job. Edwards said he is currently unemployed.

Prosecutors say ACORN and Amy Busefink permitted Edwards, ACORN's Las Vegas field director during the 2008 election cycle, to run an illegal cash incentive program to encourage employees to register voters.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now also had an illegal quota policy that forced employees to register a certain number of people per shift or face termination.

Such an incentive program and quota system are prohibited by Nevada law, which says it is "unlawful for a person to provide compensation for registering voters that is based upon the total number of voters a person registers."