What the entire Republican establishment couldn’t or wouldn’t do two unknown political novice filmmakers have dared and done.
It wasn’t John McCain or anyone else who sought the Republican nomination for president or the Bush White House or the Republican National Committee who knocked ACORN for a loop and forced Congress to vote to terminate federal funds for that clearly corrupt operation.
Americans owe a huge debt of gratitude to 25-five-year-old James O’Keefe and 20-year-old Hannah Giles, who took on the favorite corrupt organization ally of President Obama and the Democratic Party — ACORN — and exposed its corruption with such determination, imagination and skill that this sleazy gang of so-called “community organizers” suddenly found itself first up against the ropes and then knocked down on the mat.
Now here’s the bad news: just because ACORN is down does not mean it is out.
As the images from James and Hannah’s highly effective sting operation begin to fade as do the images of all those Democrats in the Senate and House suddenly flip-flopping and casting votes against funding ACORN, it’s time to put our euphoria on hold and pause for a reality check.
Sure, what conservatives have been warning about ACORN abuse for years is resoundingly vindicated by James and Hannah’s videos showing ACORN workers on camera advocating and offering assistance in such matters as falsifying records, tax fraud, money laundering, setting up a brothel, smuggling girls aged about 14 into the country and using them as sex-slaves to help raise money for a congressional campaign, and threatening to intimidate, ever murder, a man if he exposes them.
To understand just what an impact James and Hannah had, remember that in February the Senate rejected a measure to prohibit money in the economic stimulus bill from going to ACORN and in March rejected blocking ACORN from getting money under the national service legislation.
But let’s be realistic about where things stand right now. The House voted to cut off all federal funds for ACORN. The Senate voted to cut off some federal funds for ACORN. And before President Obama even gets the opportunity to sign or not sign a bill to de-fund ACORN, the Senate and House have to pass an identical bill.
Which means that as of right now the pipeline that transfers massive chunks of our federal tax dollars into the coffers of ACORN is still flowing freely.
This fight is still in the early rounds.
President Obama declined to answer directly when George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s prototype of the hybrid newsman/Democratic Party operative, inquired if he was refusing to commit to cutting off federal funds for ACORN. All that the president would say about defunding ACORN is, “This is not the biggest issue facing the country,” the biggest issue presumably being the need to criminally prosecute CIA agents who may have hurt the feelings of some terrorists.
And as if to discredit those who say he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, Barack Obama got off this great laugh line: “I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.”
Obama, Pelosi and Reid seem to be signaling that they’d like to do all in their power to keep ACORN running on federal dollars. “A few bad apples” — that’s the explanation and excuse we can expect to hear often in the days ahead. They’ll “demand” that their great ally that supposedly already stood for “reform now” put on a nice show by making some phony “reforms” that they can point to and the mainstream media can bless as having solved the problem.
Need another sign that this is a good possibility?
When those videos first surfaced ACORN’s CEO “Chief Organizer” Bertha Lewis pooh-poohed them, boasting that the two young filmmakers had tried what she labeled as their “scam” at other ACORN offices but had been rebuffed — and then day after day James and Hannah released a new video from a different ACORN office proving her wrong.
When the videos were appearing only on the website of www.BigGovernment.com, and on YouTube and FOX News, she claimed they were “doctored” and threatened to sue the two youngsters for making them and also FOX for running them. She also hurled unsubstantiated accusations of “racism.”
But now she says that she is “outraged” by what she saw on those videos. “Everyone should be,” she now says. Now she’s calling ACORN’s performance “indefensible.”
And now she’s putting an offer on the table: “Internally, let’s have some reform.” Sure, internally and some.
Obama, Pelosi, Reed and ACORN are not giving up this fight. They are getting ready for the next round.
One lesson: As President Eisenhower put it, “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.”
Another lesson Republicans should learn and use: “If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” I can still see the smile that was on Ronald Reagan’s face every time he repeated that axiom to me. I loved it. I’d bet James and Hannah would love it, too. They sure understand it. Why can’t today’s Republican leaders come to the realization that simply trying to make Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al see the light just doesn’t work?
To win this ACORN fight, Republicans must be tough as nails and relentless and must keep making ACORN really feel the heat. James and Hannah put the heat on ACORN. Republicans now need to turn it up — way up.
The Republicans should accept nothing short of a thorough investigation of ACORN utilizing the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law (RICO). RICO convictions carry fines of up to $250,000 and/or prison sentences of up to 20-years — per count. It also provides for civil suit that can result in triple damages. And anyone indicted under RICO faces the possibility of being slapped with a pre-trial restraining order or injunction seizing his assets to prevent their being transferred.
To qualify for indictment under RICO members of an entity such as ACORN need only to have committed any two of 35 enumerated crimes within a 10 year period. The list includes: money laundering, dealing in obscene matter, sexual exploitation of children, obstructing justice plus a range of laws regarding fraud and financial and economic crimes.
At last we have found something for which ACORN is well qualified.
One Republican senator has written to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to launch a full scale Justice Department investigation into ACORN. Fat chance.
Every Republican Member of Congress should relentlessly seek out television and radio microphones in Washington and also back in their districts — you know, like Chuck Schumer could do in his sleep — and loudly and relentlessly demand that, given the Obama administration’s close ties to ACORN, a special prosecutor be named to investigate ACORN with the RICO statute in mind.
And they should set up ACORN ALERT squads that travel into the districts of every Democratic Member of Congress to keep the heat on.
And here’s something else Republicans should give some thought to: Fire the fools who created the weak and timid Republican strategies that gave us President Barack Obama and such lopsided Democratic majorities in Congress — and put in their place men and women like James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. Call them. Make them a really good offer.