The radical left-wing activist group ACORN would have us believe a panel of inquiry consisting of its friends and political allies will help the group fix its internal problems and get a fresh start.
I doubt anyone reading this article is that naïve.
The fact is ACORN will not go away quietly. It’s too big, too powerful, and too important to the progressive movement and the Democratic Party. Power concedes nothing without a fight, so it’s not at all surprising that the group is already trying to whitewash its deep-seated, systemic problems.
The supposedly independent investigatory panel that ACORN boss Bertha Lewis announced is being set up after stunning videos surfaced showing ACORN’s willingness in offices across the country to help undercover reporters establish an illegal alien sex slave ring is a fairy tale.
Among its members are left-wing political hacks including Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, super-liberal Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern, and the much-investigated former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. Former Massachusetts Atty. Gen. Scott Harshbarger will lead the investigation. He’s a former president of the left-leaning group Common Cause.
Both Podesta and Stern have the ear of President Obama.
Podesta helped manage Obama’s presidential transition team and is president of the aggressively left-wing Center for American Progress. The center is heavily funded by George Soros and the subprime mortgage hucksters Herb and Marion Sandler.
Podesta has always been there for ACORN in its time of need. When ACORN got hit with a new wave of election fraud-related charges in May, the Center’s “Progress Action Fund” invited liberal and radical groups — including Harshbarger’s Common Cause — to a meeting in Washington, D.C., to plan how to use rhetorical misdirection to take the focus off ACORN’s increasingly well publicized corruption.
Echoing the left’s oft-repeated smear that Republicans are especially prone to commit election fraud, the crisis-management summit was advertised as “Reframing the Attack on Voter Registration” on the website of Alliance for Justice, one of the participating groups. Stern learned about Saul Alinsky-style political agitation at the feet of the master at the Midwest Academy, a community-organizer training school created by 1960s radicals Paul and Heather Booth. The Booths, who were members of the infamous Students for a Democratic Society, a radical group that give birth to groups including ACORN and Bill Ayers’ Weather Underground, started the facility to teach organizers to spread social chaos and infiltrate labor unions.
Of course, SEIU Local 100 and 880 are part of the ACORN network, a fact that ACORN tried to cover up earlier this year by scrubbing references to the locals on its “affiliated organizations” page.
Both Podesta and Stern are also deeply involved in the Soros-led Democracy Alliance, a club for liberal and radical billionaires who want to pour money into projects that will eventually turn America into a European-style Socialist state.
ACORN hopes that the mainstream media and the public will be fooled by this obvious public relations stunt of an “investigation.”
The group did something similar last year after an embarrassing internal scandal but that make-believe investigation didn’t end so well. When the honest people on ACORN’s internal panel began asking uncomfortable questions, they were promptly shown the door.
That scandal involved ACORN founder and then-chief organizer Wade Rathke and his younger brother Dale. Around 2000, Dale stole close to $1 million from ACORN and Wade orchestrated a years-long cover-up that was finally exposed in June last year. Senior management at ACORN, including Bertha Lewis, participated in the deception that involved cooking the books of an ACORN affiliate in order to represent the stolen money as an employee loan.
After ACORN’s national board fired Wade Rathke, it appointed several board members to an “internal management committee.” That committee was supposed to investigate what happened, but when committee members Marcel Reid and Karen Inman tried to do their jobs by asking questions and requesting documents, ACORN branded them traitors and expelled them, too.
Obama Feigns Ignorance
Reid and Inman created a reform group called “ACORN 8” and they’re still demanding answers.
“We have no idea how an independent, thorough audit of ACORN can be conducted by these people who were not selected by ACORN’s national board but were put in place by the same senior staff who conspired with Wade Rathke to cover up his brother’s embezzlement for eight years and who subsequently silenced any voice that called for truth, transparency and accountability,” said Reid.
ACORN is now suffering for its many transgressions.
In light of the scandalous videos put together by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, the Census Bureau terminated its 2010 contract with ACORN, the Justice Department’s inspector general agreed to probe whether ACORN has sought or received DOJ grant money, and last week both houses of Congress voted to cut off any federal funding of ACORN. Even President Obama, who used to work for ACORN, said an investigation of the embattled group might be a good idea.
The President is, of course, strategically feigning ignorance about what goes on at ACORN, which was instrumental in helping him build his early career as a community organizer.
“Frankly, it’s not really something I’ve followed closely,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.”
In late 2007 Obama bragged to a meeting of ACORN leaders about how important ACORN was to him.
“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career,” Obama said then. “Even before I was an elected official, when I ran [the] Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”
It’s worth noting that if the proposed federal funding cutoff becomes law, it won’t hurt ACORN much.
No one knows how big the total budget of ACORN, with its hundreds of tax-exempt affiliates, actually is. The ACORN network has taken in an estimated $53 million since 1994, a relatively paltry sum that is but a mere fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars it has received from member dues, liberal foundations, and corporate shakedowns.
ACORN and similar left-wing non-profit advocacy groups will be eligible this year for up to $3 billion in federal funding from President Obama’s stimulus package and a separate $5.5 billion set-aside for grants in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fiscal 2010 budget.
Not everyone in Congress now wants to punish ACORN. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D.-N. Y.) came up with a truly original defense of ACORN. The legislation to cut off funds for ACORN is a constitutionally proscribed bill of attainder, he says.
Longtime ACORN ally Nadler was endorsed by ACORN’s political party in New York State, the Working Families Party. That party was co-founded by ACORN’s Bertha Lewis and it endorsed President Obama last year.
Maybe the congressman’s right. Perhaps we should heed his advice and just skip the constitutional concerns altogether and head straight to a criminal prosecution under federal racketeering laws and deal with these people the RICO way we do with other gangsters.