Posts Tagged ‘ACORN’

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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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Corruption: Billions To Timulate Criminality

July 28, 2009

Billions To Stimulate Criminality

IBD: 24 July 2009

Corruption: A nonprofit group committing a crime conjures up images of terrorist fundraising. But $8.5 billion in taxpayer money may go to specialists in political terror: the tax-exempt scam artists of Acorn.

Did Democrats come to their present dominance of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington thanks in large part to a “syndicate of tax-exempt organizations” that “has coordinated and implemented a nationwide strategy of tax fraud, racketeering, money-laundering and manipulating the American electorate”?

The reams of evidence provided by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Republican Darrell Issa of California and his GOP colleagues on the panel strongly suggest so.

… (Acorn) uses “a complex structure designed to conceal illegal activities” — 361 different entities in 120 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia, amounting to a “shell game” that “diverts taxpayer and tax-exempt monies into partisan political activities.”

The group has over the last 15 years received in excess of $53 million in federal funds. Moreover, as the report warns, “under the Obama administration, Acorn stands to receive a whopping $8.5 billion in available stimulus funds.”

Acorn’s improprieties, of course, are not news. As Issa’s report notes, a third of the 1.3 million voter registration cards the organization solicited and presented in 2008 ended up being null and void; the group has been investigated for voter registration fraud in places such as Connecticut, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.

A decade ago, an Acorn operative in Arkansas was arrested for falsification of voter registration forms. Soon after that, Philadelphia officials discovered hundreds of Acorn’s falsified registration forms. In 2007, the state of Washington filed felony charges against several Acorn employees and supervisors for submitting more than 1,700 fraudulent voter cards.

Just last fall, federal agents raided Acorn’s Nevada offices and in May of this year Nevada officials charged the organization and its state personnel with voter fraud. That was soon followed by seven Acorn officials in Pittsburgh being charged with voter fraud. Acorn has been accused of presenting at least 2,100 fraudulent registration forms in Lake County, Ind.

Superimposed upon these offenses are the alleged embezzlement practices of Dale Rathke, brother of the organization’s founder, Wade Rathke, who apparently used a financial management company to “loan” himself over $948,600 in Acorn funds.

For eight years after the incident, Acorn kept him in its employ and failed to notify its board of the money grab. Acorn board members Marcel Reid and Karen Inman were actually kicked off for trying to investigate the Dale Rathke cover-up, and for seeking financial transparency within Acorn.

Inman’s response to her removal last fall was to ask: “Why would you want us not to clean up things? Why would you not want to do your own investigation instead of bringing in the sheriff?”

Perhaps because a cleaned-up Acorn would not be able to operate effectively. Even the left-friendly National Public Radio has reported that the organization’s financial sleight of hand “essentially gives them a cloak that prevents people from seeing really how they’re spending money that comes, in some cases, from the taxpayers, in other cases, comes from members of their organization who pay dues.”

Yet this corrupt outfit has actually been signed up as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to help recruit the nearly 1.5 million workers who will count and classify our 306 million population for 2010. It’s like getting a car thief to manage a parking garage.

As the Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum has documented, $3 billion from the stimulus package, another billion dollars from HUD, and $4.5 billion in Community Development Block Grants look set to come Acorn’s way for a total of $8.5 billion.

The Issa report further charges Acorn with submitting false filings to the IRS and the Labor Department, and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the ERISA law.

Amidst all this apparent illegality, the campaigns of President Obama, disgraced ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are among the beneficiaries of financial contributions from Acorn and its affiliates.

“These actions are a clear violation of numerous tax and election laws,” the Issa report charges.

Issa called it “outrageous that Acorn will be rewarded for its criminal acts by taxpayer money in the stimulus and is being asked to help with the U.S. census.” He says the organization “cannot and should not be trusted with taxpayer dollars.”

Don’t hold your breath for justice. No doubt Attorney General Eric Holder will soon be too busy hounding former Vice President Dick Cheney — for his forceful effort in waging the global war on terror — to probe the shady outfit that helped elect his boss president.


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Bailout Begins A New Round Of Shakedowns

February 19, 2009

Bailout Begins A New Round Of Shakedowns

By MICHELLE MALKIN | IBD 19 Feb. 09

Fresh off the trillion-dollar porkulus bill signing in Denver, President Obama immediately launched into his next New Raw Deal expansion: a massive mortgage entitlement program forcing lenders to refinance at an initial cost of $50 billion to $100 billion.

That’s in addition to the bipartisan-supported $50 billion in the “stimulus” bill to bail out homeowners underwater on their mortgages and the $2 billion in “neighborhood stabilization” funds to alleviate the foreclosure crisis.

In tandem with the White House Bad Borrowers Bailout, Obama’s old friends at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) are launching a new campaign of their own: the “Home Savers” campaign. What a coinky-dinky, huh?

As with most of the bully tactics of the radical left-wing group, it ain’t gonna be pretty. They are the shock troops on the streets doing the dirty work while the Community Organizer-in-Chief keeps his delicate hands clean.

Trumpets ACORN: “On Feb. 19, ACORN members will launch a new tactic in fighting foreclosures: civil disobedience. Participants in the ACORN Home Savers campaign nationwide will simply refuse to move out of foreclosed homes, or in some cases, will move back in. ACORN homesteaders intend to squat in their homes until a comprehensive, federal solution for people facing foreclosure is put in place.”

ACORN’s foot soldiers, funded with your tax dollars, will scream, pound their fists, chain themselves to buildings, padlock the doors and engage in illegal behavior until they get what they want. It’s a recipe for anarchy. Threatens Baltimore ACORN’s Louis Beverly, who calls himself a “Foreclosure Fighter”:

“After you’ve used all your legal options, your last resort is civil disobedience. We’re talking about families who have been in their homes 20 or 30 years. People who are assets in the community, who look out for the elderly, who have community associations, and these are the people being kicked out of the community.”

We can all sympathize with good folks who can’t pay their bills. But as I’ve said repeatedly in my criticism of the mortgage entitlement mentality embraced by both parties in Washington, home ownership is not a civil right — and neither is home retention.

Artificially propping up the housing market will only result in more of the same costly borrow-spend-panic-repeat cycles that got us into this mess in the first place. Failing corporations need to fail. So do failing home borrowers. This is borrowing from frugal renter Peter to pay profligate Paul’s home loan.

Now that’s the kind of theft that should be the subject of civil disobedience.

Instead, ACORN offices, funded with your tax dollars, are training teams of “Home Savers” — described as “people ready and willing to mobilize on short notice to defend the homesteaders against attempts to evict them.”

Ready, willing and able to mobilize on short notice because they are either unemployed or employed full-time as ACORN shakedown artists.

Guess who’s encouraging them to defy the law. Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, who told them: “Stay in your homes. If the American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed, don’t leave.”

The housing bullies will be assisted by left-wing propaganda documentarians at the Brave New Foundation, headed up by Hollywood lib Robert Greenwald, who will disseminate sob stories to crank up pressure while Obama pushes his housing entitlement plan.

ACORN is targeting the following areas: Tucson, Ariz.; Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles; Contra Costa County, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Baltimore; New York; Houston; San Mateo County, Calif.; Denver; Bridgeport, Conn.; Wilmington, Del.; Broward County, Fla.; Boston; Flint, Mich.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Raleigh, N.C.; Durham, N.C.; Albany, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Pittsburgh; and Dallas.

ACORN has waited three decades for this moment in the sun. And as Obama promised ACORN members at a forum in December 2007, “We’re going to be calling all of you in to help us shape the agenda. We’re gonna be having meetings all across the country . . . so that you have input into the agenda.” The moment is nigh. Prepare for lawlessness.