PJ Media

ACORN's Latest Lawbreaking

In October of last year I asked why the Department of Justice had not yet instituted RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) proceedings against ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and I provided examples of its numerous multi-state violations of criminal and election laws.

Since that time no RICO suit has been instituted, and yet even more information of criminal behavior by the organization has come to light.

No apparent reform of ACORN’s operations was undertaken. Instead, in June of this year, the organization simply changed its name to COI (Community Organizations International) in an effort to confuse people into believing that the outrageous behavior of ACORN was not to be attributed to them.

ACORN executives have also changed their organization’s name, which was tarnished by investigations in at least 14 states of allegations of voter registration fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign, and charges by current and former members of financial mismanagement and misrepresentation.

The new name will let ACORN leaders continue their operations without worrying about prior bad publicity, according to Marcel Reid of ACORN 8, a group of present and former members.

“We’ve known for many months now that the name ACORN is going to be retired,” Reid said. “The name has been so damaged to the point where the leadership knows it simply can’t go on as it has with the ACORN label out front and center, especially after all of the reporting.”

In fact, the process has already begun, she noted. Wade Rathke, who founded the organization, announced on his blog that ACORN International has officially changed its name to “Community Organizations International.”

The following month, the Washington Examiner detailed the “muscle for money” tactics of the group and their aims:

ACORN’s so-called “muscle for money” strategy extorts “donations” from targeted government and corporate officials by offering them Mafia-like protection from protests by the group’s own paid thugs, many of them convicted felons. ACORN has also blocked bank mergers until the targeted financial institutions agreed to change their lending policies to ACORN’s satisfaction. …

ACORN’s radical goals to transform the U.S. into a Marxist utopia have not changed in the four decades since Alinsky wrote: “The means-and-ends moralists, constantly obsessed with the ethics of the means used by the Have-Nots against the Haves, should search themselves as to their real political position. In fact, they are passive — but real — allies of the Haves. The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means.”

Translation: Anything goes for those hoping to topple the political and economic system of a nation that has created more wealth and eliminated more poverty than any other in the history of mankind. Which makes their “muscle for money” intimidation tactics not only justified in ACORN’s eyes, but a necessary and even moral means to achieve their desired political ends.

Further, Hot Air suggests that even the well-financed Carlyle Group appears to have knuckled under to these thugs and supported Obama as a result of a combined intimidation campaign by ACORN and SEIU (Service Employees International Union):

It seems that at the beginning of the campaign SEIU wanted a slice of the $6.3 billion that was on the table with the sale of Manor Care. For SEIU and ACORN organizing in poor communities takes a little bit of finesse and a lot of political theater. When SEIU could not muster up the required public outrage they switched tactics. In late 2007 SEIU released a press statement warning of the possible health risks posed by the Carlyle Group. …

On cue enter ACORN and Barack Obama. After staged demonstrations across the county and several changes of tactics, SEIU hires ACORN as a “consultant” to protest the Carlyle Group. ACORN readily accepts the money, but has one problem — how to turn the people out, to make them care about the issue. Using the same tried and true manipulation tactics that Stanley Kurtz detailed in his article about ACORN and the Community Reinvestment Act, ACORN spins the fight against the Carlyle Group as rich (whites) versus poor (blacks).

In the end, Carlyle executives supported Obama and Rahm Emanuel, now his chief of staff, with money and  the policy advice of top officers. Hot Air suggests, not without cause:

If the Sopranos and Obama’s treatment of the ACORN scandals are any indication, “muscle for the money” seems to come with a certain amount of “protection” whether it be silence from the administration, the Justice Department, or the mainstream media, or just a slap on the wrist for one of their cronies.

But just in case these shenanigans are too complicated for voters to bother with, Big Government, Andrew Breitbart’s new website, is running two videos taken on July 24 by James O’Keefe, a 25-year-old independent filmmaker, of an ACORN operation in Baltimore.

In the videos, O’Keefe and a colorfully dressed friend pose as a pimp and his prostitute seeking help in securing  housing from which to operate a brothel. ACORN workers advise them how to file a false tax return, how to describe on federal forms the work (prostitution) as performance art, how to bring  underage girls from El Salvador into the house to work, and how to avoid scrutiny by the authorities. The two-part video must be seen to be believed.

Typically when each such scheme by ACORN workers is uncovered, the officials throw them under the bus by claiming they knew nothing of the wrongdoing.  ACORN biggies would have us believe that thousands of multi-state phony voter registrations are just the work of rogue operators and not, for example, the natural result of hiring thousands of unemployed people (often drug using felons) and paying them piece rate (that is, by number of registrations) to sign up “voters.” (This article details the effort to block ACORN from receiving federal funds after the fraud was revealed.)

At some point even dense voters have to see what this outfit is and wonder how it is that Congress still makes it the beneficiary of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money. As of last October that figure was over $31 million of federal funds:

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today released an analysis showing that the left-wing group ACORN, currently under investigation by the FBI for a “coordinated national scam” of voter registration fraud according to the Associated Press, has received at least $31 million in federal funding from various federal agencies since 1998. This total does not count the untold millions more that ACORN has received indirectly through state and local agencies that receive federal block grants.

And maybe they’ll even join with me in asking Attorney General Holder what in the world he’s waiting for before he takes action against the organization known as ACORN or COI or whatever other names under which they try to hide their dirty deeds after the O’Keefe tape is more widely circulated and viewed .