The criminal case against ACORN
Congressional report demands probe, block of $8.5 billion in stimulus funds
By Jerome R. Corsi
In a move to block designation of $8.5 billion in economic stimulus funds, Republicans on a House committee released a report calling for a criminal investigation of ACORN, the community activist group tied to numerous charges of voter fraud nationwide.
The 88-page report asks whether ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is intentionally structured as a criminal enterprise.
Commissioned by Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the report charges ACORN "hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate."
The report expresses concern that ACORN would channel $8.5 billion in economic stimulus funds through a criminal corporate structure designed to mask the distribution of public money to partisan activities, including voter fraud to advance the campaigns of radical Democratic politicians.
"It is undisputed that ACORN engages in politically partisan activity," the report declared, noting ACORN was paid $832,000 by the Obama 2008 presidential campaign for get-out-the-vote efforts.
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One-third of the 1.3 million voter registration cards turned in by ACORN in 2008 were invalid, the report said, noting a series of criminal actions involving voter fraud have been taken against ACORN in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Nevada since 1998.
"ACORN cannot be receiving government money," Issa told Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel in his first interview after releasing the report. "ACORN should lose its tax-free status."
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Within the last week, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has introduced several amendments to various pieces of legislation to prohibit ACORN from receiving taxpayer funds and to prevent the group from helping carry out the 2010 census.
Congressional Democrats have fought King's efforts, rejecting each amendment he has submitted.
Since 1994, ACORN has received more than $53 million in federal funds, according to the report.
Specifically, the report made the following criminal allegations:
ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in self-dealing, and aided and abetted a cover-up of embezzlement by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke.
ACORN has committed investment fraud, deprived the public of its right to honest services, and engaged in racketeering affecting interstate commerce.
ACORN has committed a conspiracy to defraud the United States by using taxpayer funds for partisan political activities.
ACORN has submitted false filings to the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor, in addition to violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
ACORN falsified and concealed facts concerning an illegal transaction between related parties in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
ACORN's radical socialist origins
WND previously reported ACORN owes its origin to a revolutionary strategy developed in the 1960s by Columbia University's professor of social work Richard A. Cloward and his research associate, Frances Fox Piven.
In what became known as the Cloward-Piven strategy, the two sociologists argued for a revolutionary approach to mobilizing the poor. They advocated a form of class warfare against capitalist forces perceived as exploiters of labor and oppressors of the poor.
David Horowitz, a long-time student of leftist political movements in the United States, characterized the Cloward-Piven strategy as seeking "to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse."
Cloward and Piven argued a "guaranteed annual income" should be established as an entitlement for the poor.
Arguing for massive registration of the poor in existing social welfare programs, Cloward and Piven sought to create a crisis that could be exploited to obtain a fundamental redistribution of power in favor of the "have nots."
Advancing their socialist revolutionary aims, Cloward and Piven explained the crisis they sought "can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest which either generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognized disruption to public attention."
The Cloward-Piven strategy sought to apply the tactics of the revolutionary civil rights movement, including urban riots, to the poor as a whole, transcending interest-group politics defined by race to involve interest group politics defined by class.
Radical black activist George Wiley created the National Welfare Reform Organization, or NWRO, to implement the Cloward-Piven strategy.
Sol Stern, writing in the City Journal, noted that foot soldiers hired by the NWRO were successful in expanding welfare rolls from 4.3 million to 10.8 million by the mid-1970s. The result was that in New York City, where the strategy had been particularly successful, there was one person on the welfare rolls for every two working in the private economy.
James Simpson, a former White House staff economist and budget analyst, writing in American Thinker argued the "vast expansion of welfare in New York City that came of the NWRO's Cloward-Piven tactics sent the city into bankruptcy in 1975."
Obama's close ties to ACORN
WND has also reported that Barack Obama, as a community organizer in 1992 in Chicago, headed the Chicago operations of Project Vote!, an ACORN effort to register voters nationally. In Chicago, Obama had his biggest impact registering African-American voters on the city's South Side.
ACORN also played an instrumental role in urging lenders to extend home mortgages to subprime lenders. In the 1980s, the group pushed charges that the home lending practices of banks amounted to "red-lining" in violation of the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, according to a report by Stan Liebowitz in the New York Post.
In 1994, Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School then fresh from his Project Vote! experience, represented ACORN in the Buycks-Roberson vs. Citibank Federal Savings Bank case in which ACORN pressed for Citibank to make more loans to marginally qualified African-American applicants "in a race neutral way."
After obtaining a settlement in the Citibank litigation, ACORN used its subsidiary organization ACORN Housing, an organization with offices in more than 30 U.S. cities, to push the group's radical agenda to acquire mortgages for subprime home buyers under the most favorable terms possible.
The meltdown in subprime home mortgages has been widely seen as a major cause of the current recession that officially began in December 2008 after two consecutive quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product, or GDP.
During 2008, the Obama presidential campaign attempted to distance the candidate from ACORN voter fraud by arguing that the U.S. Department of Justice was on the same side of the Citibank case as was lawyer Obama, reflecting the Clinton administration's determination to expand homeownership among the poor.
"Barack Obama strongly condemns voter registration fraud or any other breach of election law by any party or group," Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman, said at the time in a statement reported by the New York Times.
Conyers backs off probing ACORN
Last month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., backed off his plan to launch a congressional investigation of ACORN, telling reporters "powers that be put the kibosh on the idea," the Washington Times reported.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele responded to Conyers, asserting the congressman "has a responsibility to explain who is blocking the investigation and why." "Is it Speaker Pelosi?" Steele asked, according to the Washington Post. "Others in the Democratic leadership? Who in Congress is covering up ACORN's corruption?"