Michael Gaynor
The full scope of the ACORN scandal
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By Michael Gaynor
November 12, 2009

Exposing (legallly or illegally) ACORN's willingness to facilitate prostitution, child prostitution, child abuse, illegal immigration, tax fraud and bank fraud is sensational, but unless the full extent of ACORN's political corruption is exposed, the ACORN political agenda will be enacted and American exceptionalism will be devastatingly impacted.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association that is carried at www.Townhall.com.

Ms. Lopez's September 18, 2009, titled "ACORN Scandal Has Deep Roots," made obvious points, but ignored critical ones.

Ms. Lopez: "ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is a scandal."

This is true, but it's hardly news, and Ms. Lopez neglected to identify the ACORN scandal as a Democrat scandal, which it is.

Ms. Lopez: "This story has become breaking news lately thanks to some recent guerilla journalism."

Again, true, but Ms. Lopez neglected to identify one of the "guerillas" as her fellow Townhall columnist, Hannah Giles, daughter of Townhall columnist Doug Giles, or to note that "guerilla journalism" involved surreptitious recording in states that criminalize surreptitious recording.

Ms. Lopez: "...the problems of ACORN represent a broader, and even more scandalous idea: the conventional acceptance of the left's self-righteous claims to having a monopoly on all politics, policy and lifestyles that are good."

It's much worse than that! ACORN is a subversive organization that was designed to transform America from a capitalist country into a socialist country and it has functioned as an unofficial arm of the Democrat Party for years, avoiding scrutiny by playing the race card.

Ms. Lopez: "ACORN, if you haven't heard, is a radical organization that devotes itself with laser-like intensity to the maxim that all politics is local. The group supposedly exists to find affordable housing and provide social services for low-income families. But when two undercover, enterprising young people equipped with a hidden camera walked into an ACORN office, posing as an over-the-top pimp and prostitute wanting to establish a brothel dealing in enslaved children from other countries, ACORN employees offered the two advice: how to get on welfare; how to cheat the tax system; how to get housing from the government; and how to hide the criminal profit (a tin in your back yard, natch)."

Natch. But ACORN has been a radical organization since its creation in 1970 and it has been corrupting the political process as well as involving itself in "affordable housing abd...social services for low-income families."

Ms. Lopez: "In the wake of the video, the Senate with seven notable exceptions voted to bar new federal funding for ACORN. But beyond the outrageous seven and the video, this is an opportunity for deeper revelations still."

If public attention is focused on ACORN and ACORN is appreciated for what it really is instead of what it pretends to be, then "deeper revelations still" there can be.

Ms. Lopez: "Federally aided counsel to a pimp and prostitute and pervasive allegations of voter fraud aren't the worst of it. The reaction that has greeted the furor has been the most disturbing facet of the whole sorry affair. There is a place, a time and a need for getting to the bottom of the whys and hows of social pathologies. But that time is not while watching an organization that gets federal funding offer help with the sex trafficking of children on YouTube. And yet that was the default position of some on the left to this scandal."

The corruption of the American political process is the worst of it, and "the default position of some on the left to this scandal" was predictable, since ACORN is a subversive organization that has served as an unofficial arm of the Democrat Party for years.

Ms. Lopez: "ACORN's chief executive Bertha Lewis would eventually surrender to the demand for atonement, and issue a statement saying, 'We have all been deeply disturbed by what we've seen in some of these videos. I must say, on behalf of ACORN's Board and our Advisory Council, that we will go to whatever lengths necessary to re-establish the public trust.' But that was only after being on adamant defense."

Of course. What bothered ACORN was not how it operated, but that how it operated had been dramatically exposed and denial would not work.

Ms. Lopez: "...Lewis wasn't alone in self-protection mode. When the first video dropped, a blog on National Public Radio's Web site excused crimes as part and parcel of the plight of the community organizer: 'It's also important to keep in mind that ACORN's workers are coming from the same low-income neighborhoods the organization serves, with all that entails poor schools, high crime and the sorts of social problems that have been documented for decades.' The post continued: 'So the flaws conservatives are pointing out about ACORN are not so much problems associated with that organization per se but more about the problems of being poor and minority in urban America.' Don't blame them, in other words. They can't help themselves, they're poor people."

It's no surprise that a deflection attempt appeared on the NPR website.

Ms. Lopez: "...herein lies the deeper scandal it's not just the denial of what is right in front of your face, it's denial of a bad mode of operating, of a sickness in policy and philosophy. For as much as the right is attacked for being dismissive of the poor and most vulnerable, the left clutches that which continues the plight of government dependence among so many."

True. But the deepest scandal is that ACORN is a subversive criminal enterprise that has corrupted the American political system.

Ms. Lopez: "ACORN is wedded to stale thinking that all too often makes people dependent, crushes responsibility, creativity and our very natures. And the Obama administration only plans to continue to increase welfare spending, ensuring that the system that gave birth to ACORN and its inexcusable conduct will continue to thrive."

True, but Ms. Lopez misses the main point: the biggest problem with ACORN is NOT that it advocates a "stale" political philosophy, but that it is a subversive criminal enterprise that has corrupted the American political system.

Ms. Lopez: "That NPR item began with the announcement that the "'ACORN versus conservatives' contest of wills is beginning to look like some new version of the Cold War with either side claiming the other is evil and vowing to never give in until it prevails.' There's something to that observation, actually. These tea parties, best sellers about liberty and tyranny and liberal fascism, they're about something: they're about ideas. Most of all, they're about preserving that which makes America exceptional."

It is a contest between big government and freedom, or socialism and American exceptionalism. The Obama agenda is the ACORN agenda, and the Obama campaign and ACORN illicitly coordinated to put Obama in the White House and to give Democrats supermajorities in Congress.

The "Pimp and Pro" ACORN story reported by Ms. Lopez is useful to focus public attention on ACORN, but the huge ACORN story is how ACORN helped to put its candidate in the White House.

Too bad Ms. Lopez was not paying attention in October of 2008, when ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief was blowing the whistle on ACORN and the Obama campaign (even as she personally supported Obama).

As I wrote in Why Obama and ACORN Fear Anita MonCrief (October 29, 2008):

"What does Anita know that ACORN does not want the public to know, especially before Election Day 2008?

"Plenty!

"Anita made the following statements (basis or basis set forth in parenthesis at end):

1. Project Vote has violated its 501(c)(3) status by using government and private grants that ultimately go directly or indirectly to ACORN (based on direct knowledge).

2. ACORN, Project Vote and Citizens Services Inc. (CSI) are essentially the same organization with different tax designations that are used to facilitate the transfer of money between them (based on direct and indirect knowledge).

3. ACORN has promoted a culture of dishonesty motivated by reaching target Voter Registration goals and senior staff have portrayed an attitude that allows for some 'bad' cards in order to reach these goals (based on direct and indirect knowledge).

4. Karyn Gillette, Project Vote Development Director, Jeff Robinson, senior Project Vote 'money man' and Nathan Henderson James, Project Vote Research and Political Director are all employed by CSI and may have worked directly with anyone seeking the services of CSI and money paid to CSI would have obvious ACORN ties (based on direct and indirect knowledge and documents).

5. Zach Polett, former Executive Director of Project Vote and former director of ACORN Political Operations mentioned that Obama had worked for us and that he even supervised him during a ACORN Political staff retreat in November 2007 (based on direct knowledge).

"Obama in the last presidential debate: 'My only involvement I've had with ACORN was I represented them alongside the U.S. Justice Department in making Illinois implement a motor voter law that helped people get registered at DMVs.'

"That's a lie, not a fact.

"Yes, Obama represented ACORN in that lawsuit and the Clinton Justice Department predictably sided with ACORN.

"But that was NOT Obama's only involvement with ACORN.

"And Obama looked into the camera during the last presidential debate and flat out lied to the American people about it (in his calm, seemingly non-threatening manner).

"ACORN is the organization with which Obama has been associated throughout his adult life, as organizer, trainer, lawyer, funder and political beneficiary...and Obama's Achilles heel.

"Anita reports revealing connections between ACORN and the Obama campaign based on personal knowledge.

"In late 2007, Anita reports, Anita received a call from the Obama campaign asking if this was the same Project Vote that Obama worked for in the 90's. With the staff retreat fresh in mind, Anita answered yes and sent an email to Zach Polett, Karyn Gillette, Nathan Henderson James, and Kevin Whelan stating that the campaign wanted someone to call them back regarding some media questions that were being asked at the time.

"In late 2007, Anita reports, Karyn Gillette approached Anita to tell her that she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and had obtained their donor lists. This meeting took place sometime in November of 2007 and may have even been a conference call between the campaign and Project Vote. Anita was given an excel spreadsheet to work with for cultivation of new donors. When Anita had trouble because of the duplicates, Karyn stated that she would contact her person at the campaign and see if they had another one.

"Anita reports that Karyn Gillette also provided lists obtained from the Kerry and Clinton campaigns, as well as the 2004 DNC donor lists, and that these lists were shared with the Political directors of roughly 12 ACORN battleground states in order to raise money for a $28 million dollar (number as of 11/2007) voter registration drive (based on direct and indirect knowledge and documents).

"Anita reports that research uncovered after the Radke embezzlement scandal showed that persons demanded a forensic audit and suggested a well-known, credible firm to do it, but Bertha Lewis told them that the auditors came back with a contract that was 'too expensive' and that's what Dale Radke told funders back when they were hoping Arthur Anderson would take over auditing (based on indirect knowledge and documents).

"Anita reports that ACORN and Project Vote used CCI to transfer money between the organizations and may be guilty of violating RICO statues (based on indirect knowledge and documents).

"Anita reports that Sidley Austin, Obama's old law firm, is representing ACORN pro-bono and Mesirow Financial, the firm hired to provide financial advice to ACORN, is headed by a major Obama donor, Richard Mesirow (based on indirect knowledge and documents).

"Anita also notes that questions have been raised about the shredding or destruction of documents by ACORN's own lawyers (based on documents).

"Bottom line: ACORN has been improperly coordinating with and operating as an arm of the Obama campaign, and "the Senator from ACORN"'s involvement with ACORN has been much more than his lawful representation of ACORN in the motor voter case years ago."

Exposing (legally or illegally) ACORN's willingness to facilitate prostitution, child prostitution, child abuse, illegal immigration, tax fraud and bank fraud is sensational, but unless the full extent of ACORN's political corruption is exposed, the ACORN political agenda will be enacted and American exceptionalism will be devastatingly impacted.

© Michael Gaynor

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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