For James O’Keefe, the sequel has been a blockbuster. As almost everyone knows by now, the investigative journalist and a friend secretly filmed themselves posing as a pimp and prostitute while ACORN workers advised them how to obtain a mortgage for a brothel of Latin American sex slaves.
But lost in the deserved attention to the ACORN sting film has been O’Keefe’s first release, a 2007 expose of the systemic corruption at another liberal activist organization, Planned Parenthood.
ACORN is losing some of its federal funding in part because of O’Keefe’s video. But the Planned Parenthood story, in which O’Keefe and a friend posing as his pregnant minor girlfriend expose the abortion giant’s willingness to cover up alleged statutory rape, is just as incriminating.
Planned Parenthood deserves the same treatment ACORN is getting and should be stripped of the hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars it receives annually. For that to happen, the conservative media must give O’Keefe’s debut film another look.
The similarities between ACORN and Planned Parenthood are hard to ignore. Like ACORN, which seeks to “help those who have historically been locked out become powerful players in our democratic system,” Planned Parenthood has a noble-sounding mission.
“For more than 90 years,” its website informs us, “we’ve worked to improve women’s health and safety… and advance the right and ability of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices.”
But both organizations are marred by a culture of corruption. Employees at ACORN affiliates have been accused of everything from voter registration fraud and embezzlement to aiding and abetting illegal immigration and prostitution.
At Planned Parenthood, besides O’Keefe’s sting, its affiliates have also ignored numerous cases of actual statutory rape and sexual abuse of minors. And workers in seven states were caught on audio tape agreeing to receive donations designated for abortions of black babies.
Like ACORN, which has received $53 million in direct taxpayer funded assistance since 1993, Planned Parenthood has come to view the American taxpayers as a reliable cash cow. Planned Parenthood received more than $349 million in government grants and contracts during Fiscal Year 2007-2008.
We know why Planned Parenthood receives such government largess. Like ACORN, Planned Parenthood is a favored political patron of the Democratic Party. Consider both organizations’ cozy relationship with Barack Obama.
The president is trying to distance himself from ACORN. He acted like he knew little of the organization when asked about it last week on the Sunday talk shows. But, as columnist John Fund pointed out this week, Obama’s association with ACORN goes back almost 20 years.
Fund is the author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, which details the ways in which groups like ACORN manipulate election results. In his recent column he notes that in 1991, Obama took time off from his law firm to run a voter registration drive for an ACORN partner. He later became an ACORN attorney and listed ACORN as a key supporter for his campaign for the Illinois Senate.
Planned Parenthood is also an eager Obama supporter. Last year, Planned Parenthood made only its second ever presidential endorsement when it stated that it was “proud to endorse” Obama for president because he is “a passionate advocate for women’s rights.”
Planned Parenthood is so tight with the president that it can brag about the “unique role” it has in shaping the Obama administration’s health agenda. (Yet more evidence that Obama wants abortion covered in his healthcare reform plan.)
But there is one key difference between ACORN and Planned Parenthood: while both organizations’ crimes have been exposed, only the former is beginning to pay the price. ACORN has rightly been dropped by the Census Bureau as a partner in conducting the nation’s census. And, by a vote of 83-7 in the Senate and 345-75 in the House of Representatives, Congress voted this week to strip ACORN of federal funding it was to receive this year.
But the work isn’t done. The Senate voted to take away only part of ACORN’s funding. On Tuesday, Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging a Justice Department to investigate all of the allegations against ACORN, which could be prosecuted under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes.
Sadly, though amendments to defund Planned Parenthood have been introduced by pro-life stalwart Rep. Mike Pence and others each of the last few years, none has ever passed. In late July, the House defeated (247-183) an amendment to prevent the abortion behemoth from receiving federal funds under the federal government’s family planning program.
But Pence is undeterred, and he is also sponsoring a stand-alone bill, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, HR 614. It would bar Title X funds from going to Planned Parenthood or any other organization that performs abortions.
As it begins its resurgence, the Republican Party is searching for the set of issues that will define it for the next generation. It would do well to harness the anti-corruption theme against a Democratic Party beholden to powerful but irredeemably corrupt interest groups.
Republicans should continue to pursue ACORN, but they shouldn’t stop there. They should highlight the corruption at Planned Parenthood and champion the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. Forcing tax-payers to pay for abortions offends the conscience. Forcing them to underwrite an organization credibly alleged to have been complicit in statutory rape and child abuse is beyond the pale.
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.