Cracking ACORN Requires Comprehensive Electoral Reform

James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles have rocked our world like no two twenty-somethings I can recall.

As of when this column was finished on Wednesday afternoon, as chronicled at Andrew Breitbart’s breakout BigGovernment.com site since September 10, multiple ACORN offices had been caught on tape providing guidance to O’Keefe and Giles, who are 25 and 20, respectively(!), on how to obtain home financing for a prostitution business that would include Giles and 13 illegal immigrant girls, with the ultimate purpose of generating funds for a future congressional run by O’Keefe. Helpful instruction from ACORN employees, many of whom are now ex-employees, included how to maximize tax benefits by claiming dependent exemptions and child tax credits for a few of the underage girls (not too many, so as not to raise red flags), how to hide the money (in a tin can, in the backyard, covered with grass), and how to keep the business covert (i.e., never talk about business, because “loose lips sink ships”).

Meanwhile, the establishment media, with the exception of Fox News, has only very belatedly been dragged kicking and screaming into recognizing the story’s existence. On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Charles Gibson, asked why “no one’s covering the story,” stunned a Chicago morning show’s co-hosts when he nervously laughed and said that “I didn’t even know about it” (full audio is accessible here). It seems that even Comedy Central’s left-leaning fake journalist Jon Stewart felt that he had to deal with the story or risk losing his credibility with his youngish audience -- and he is still ahead of most of the media elite.

Lo and behold, on September 11, the Census Bureau ended ACORN’s involvement with the 2010 census. On Monday, despite the establishment media’s near-blackout of O’Keefe and Giles’s relentless barrage, and a mere four days after the persistent pair’s first video debuted, the United States Senate, which usually moves at a pace that would make snails laugh, rushed through a bill to block ACORN from Housing and Urban Development funding by a shocking 83-7 margin. As of Wednesday afternoon, a serious move was afoot in the House to totally deny all federal funding to the organization, and ACORN itself, according to the Washington Times, had “suspended advising new clients.”

Keeping taxpayers’ and unwilling workers’ money entirely away from this monster and its hundreds of related tentacles will be a monumental task -- one I believe that the leftists who dominate Congress and this administration have no intention of permitting to succeed. In addition to the estimated $53 million it has received from the federal government since 1994 (an estimate that I believe is woefully low, because there are so many hard-to-track entities), ACORN has obtained significant funding from state governments, from local governments, from labor unions (probably illegally, based on the Supreme Court’s 1988 Beck ruling), and from shaken-down financial institutions.