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Acorn’s Cash for Hookers

September 18, 2009

Acorn’s Cash For Hookers

IBD: 16 Sept. 09

Oversight: As the Senate votes to de-fund Acorn, add pimping, tax evasion and human trafficking to voter fraud paid for with taxpayer dollars and you have an organized criminal enterprise. It’s time to investigate.

After Acorn workers were caught on tape in three cities allegedly abetting what they believed was a fraudulent-mortgage and sex-trafficking scheme, the Senate has voted overwhelmingly to strip the group of funding in the Transportation/Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.

The amendment, offered by Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, passed by an 83-to-7 margin and marked the third time this year that Republicans have tried to block the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now from feeding at the federal trough.

Seven Democrats refused to do the right thing. The magnificent seven are Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Bob Casey, D-Pa.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; both Vermont Democrats, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, as well as both Illinois Democrats, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Roland Burris.

This vote comes after the release of three hidden-camera videos showing Acorn housing staff in its Baltimore, Washington and New York offices apparently helping a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute evade the IRS and apply for an illegal housing loan to set up a brothel. (Insert stimulus joke here.) The Census Bureau immediately severed ties with Acorn, unconcerned that prostitutes and tax evaders might be undercounted in the 2010 census.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office promptly launched a criminal probe into Acorn after employees of the left-wing activist group got caught on video at its Brooklyn office helping supposed ladies of the night get loans for their dream houses of ill repute.

The tax-exempt New York Acorn Housing Co. reported receiving $226,000 in grants through last June, including $70,000 from federal housing lender Fannie Mae and its New York counterpart, Sonyma. By one estimate, national Acorn has received $53 million in federal funds since 1994.

Unfazed by it all, the office of New York freshman Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand put out a press release saying she found Acorn’s actions “reprehensible” but added, “The truth remains that thousands of New Yorkers who are facing foreclosure depend on charitable organizations like Acorn for assistance.” We are not making this up.

The fact is that this “charitable organization” helped precipitate the mortgage meltdown that shattered the economy. It was Acorn, under the cover of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), that intimidated banks through mob action into making risky loans in the name of “fairness” to people who could not afford them.

The tactics, taken straight from the pages of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” were used by Acorn as early as 1991, when it took over the House Banking Committee room for two days to protest efforts to scale back the CRA.

After the voter-registration fraud stories of 2008, Michigan Democrat John Conyers temporarily bucked party leaders by calling for hearings on accusations that Acorn had committed crimes ranging from voter fraud to a mob-style “protection” racket. He soon changed his mind, saying only that the “powers that be” had demanded he drop the idea.

Well, it’s time to revisit his idea. Topic No. 1 should be who are the “powers that be” that wanted to shield Acorn from federal and public scrutiny. Acorn has also been trying to hide some of its activities under its new official name, Community Organizers International, and has a close working relationship with the foot soldiers of health care reform, the Service Employees International Union.

Fox News’ Glenn Beck revealed on his show that Acorn’s main affiliate was operating out of a former New Orleans funeral home shared with two SEIU locals. Wade Rathke, a New Orleans resident, is founder of Acorn and also SEIU founder and chief organizer.

Were the “powers that be” the House leadership or Acorn’s SEIU friends or both? And the hearings should extend to Acorn’s, and Congress’, role in the mortgage meltdown.

Time to gavel your hearing to order, Rep. Conyers.

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