(Photo source: 2008 ACORN slideshow presentation)
They thought it would go away. They were wrong. Obama and the Left thought ACORNs scandalous racket was a dead issue. But whistleblowers, investigative bloggers, and talk radio continue to press for transparency and taxpayer accountability. Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King has renewed efforts for congressional hearings into the financial structure of the massive, publicly subsidized activist group and its non-profit affiliates. Judicial Watch sheds light on ACORNs partnership with the Census. Keep an eye on ACORNs propaganda role in the Obama push for a government health care takeover. And Glenn Beck spotlights the left-wing strategy session to rescue ACORN.
My column today returns to one of the Obama campaigns big lies that Barack Obama never organized with ACORN and that ACORN had nothing to do with Project Vote. They were joined at the hip back then and they remain joined at the hip today.
Heres the text of e-mails from ACORN and affiliate staffers patting themselves on the back for their role in Obamas voter registration drive (click here for the original). Note the addressees, including Frances Piven. Yes, that Frances Piven:
From: Kevin Whelan [email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 10:54 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; Sanford Newman; email@example.com; Frances Piven; firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: Sarah Massey; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Michael McDunnah
Subject: RE: Obamas Voter-registration Drive
Follow Up Flag: Follow up
Flag Status: Red
This is great! Good work everyone!
From: Michael Slater [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 8:39 PM
To: Sanford Newman; firstname.lastname@example.org; Kevin Whelan; Frances Piven; email@example.com
Cc: Sarah Massey; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Michael McDunnah
Subject: Obamas Voter-registration Drive
Some fine quotes from liberal lawyer Sandy Newman and academic and activist Francis Fox Piven: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080901/hayes
Find it on news stands now.
Its the coordinated corruption, stupid. And if the GOP doesnt start fighting back, the consequences will be permanent.
The truth about ObamACORN
by Michelle Malkin
Left-wing groups in Washington, D.C., are panicked. The New York Times and other Team Obama whitewashers have tried hard to suppress mounting evidence of legally suspect coordination between the Obama presidential campaign, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and Obamas old employer Project Vote (ACORNs non-profit canvassing arm). Alas, the truth keeps seeping out.
At a closed-door pow-wow hosted Thursday at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, activists discussed how to combat a relentless stream of corruption charges from ACORN/Project Vote whistleblowers. But its too late for a reputation bailout. Former Project Vote official and whistleblower Anita MonCrief has harnessed the Internet to crowd-source a massive cache of documents showing ties between Obama staff and the supposedly non-partisan ACORN operations.
Last fall, the New York Times abandoned an investigation into whether Obama had shared donor lists with Project Vote, a 501(c)(3) organization that is prohibited from engaging in political activity. Public editor Clark Hoyt earlier this month called it the tip that didnt pan out. Critics suggested that the donor lists could have been compiled through public records. But I have obtained the lists not only of Obama donors, but also lists of Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry contributors. The records include small donors to the Obama campaign who are not disclosed in public campaign finance databases. Its information only a campaign could supply.
MonCrief testified under oath last fall that her then-boss, Karyn Gillette, gave her the Obama donor list and told her the campaign had furnished it. Moreover, e-mail between ACORN, Project Vote, and other affiliates, including ACORNs subsidiary, Citizens Services, Inc. (CSI), make explicit references to working on Obama campaign related projects. [Click here for the e-mail.] The list of maxed out Obama donors is explicitly mentioned in staff e-mail. [Click here for the e-mail.] Another message from ACORN/Project Vote official Nathan Henderson-James warns ACORN and affiliated staff to prepare for conservatives
gearing up a major oppo research project on Obama.
Henderson-James wrote obligatorily, Understand Im not suggesting that we gear up to defend a candidates campaign. But that, of course, is exactly what the ACORN enterprise did.
Text of full e-mail [click here for original]:
From: Nathan Henderson-James [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2008 5:09 PM
To: Zach Polett; email@example.com; Kevin Whelan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cc: Karyn Gillette; email@example.com; Nordette Adams
Subject: Oppo Research On Obama
The attached link goes to a story on TPM Muckraker that says that conservatives are gearing up a major oppo research project on Obama.
We should prepare for this information being used to tie Obama to the bogus voter fraud charges leveled against PV and ACORN from the last two election cycles. It may or may not gain traction, it may or may not be chosen as a way of attacking him, but I think we cannot afford to ignore the possibility and plan what our response(s) might be (if any).
Understand Im not suggesting that we gear up to defend a candidateís campaign, but prepare for the scrutiny and possible ancillary attacks that will come our way because of this.
Director, Strategic Writing and Research Department
Citizens Services, Inc.
3655 S. Grand Ave #250
Los Angeles, CA 90007
213-747-7202 phone, 213-747-4221 fax, 510-213-1970 cell
Why does this matter? Transparency, tax dollars, and electoral integrity. ACORNs own lawyer, Elizabeth Kingsley, acknowledged last year that a vast web of tax-exempt ACORN affiliates were shuffling money around making it difficult to impossible to track whether campaign rules and tax regulations were being followed. ACORN receives 40 percent of its revenues from taxpayers. Americans deserve to know whether and how much commingling of public money with political projects has occurred over the last four decades and what role the Obama campaign played in this enterprise.
Remember: Last August, the Obama team admitted its failure to properly disclose $800,000 in payments to ACORNs subsidiary, CSI which works hand-in-hand with Project Vote and the ACORN parent organization. Obama mysteriously re-classified the campaign advance work expenditures as get-out-the-vote activities. Nary a peep from electoral integrity watchdogs.
Despite heated denials from Team Obama, the links between ACORN, Project Vote, and CSI are inextricable. As Obama himself reminded ACORN leaders after its political action committee endorsed his presidential candidacy in February 2008:
I come out of a grassroots organizing background. Thats what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. Thats the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. Ive been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.
As Ive reported before, the Obama campaigns Vote for Change registration drive, running in conjunction with ACORN/Project Vote, was an all-out scramble to scrape up every last unregistered voter sympathetic to Obamas big-government vision.
In an e-mail message to whistleblower MonCrief last summer, New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom told the truth: The real story to all this is how these myriad entities allow them to shuffle money around so much that no one really knows whats getting spent on what. By October 6, 2008, Strom had thrown in the towel in the wake of blistering phone conversations with the Obama campaign. She wrote:
Im calling a halt to my efforts. I just had two unpleasant calls with the Obama campaign, wherein the spokesman was screaming and yelling and cursing me, calling me a rightwing nut and a conspiracy theorist and everything else
Id still like to get that file from you when you have a chance to send it. One of these days, the truth is going to come out.
Its only just begun.
Yesterday, I posted a few of the e-mails between NYTimes Stephanie Strom and ACORN/Project Vote whistleblower Anita MonCrief. You can download the entire series of message by clicking here. Mike Gaynor has transcriptions of several of the message here, including:
1. Im a little miffed with the funders, too. They have to be aware that the grants they make to c(3)s like Project Vote are being funneled to Acorn, which, whether c(4) or simply nonprofit corporation under state law, they arent supposed to give money to. July 10, 2008 8:18:52 PM
2. I really want to see 1024 Elysian Fields in New Orleans. Its the official home of something like 50-plus Acorn related entities. The real story to all this is how these myriad entities allow them to shuffle money around so much that no one really knows whats getting spent on what and for the charities like the housing orgs, thats a problem. Charitable money cannot be spent on political activities. Its a big no-no that can cost organizations their exemptions. July 31, 2008 5:17:49
When you say the DC Local waives the credit report charges if clients sign up for bank drafts with ACORN, do you mean ACORN actually runs a banking services organization? That would be news to me. The rumor Ive heard about the chief organizers fund is that this is what the Rathkes have used to repay Acorn and the two charities that Dale embezzled from. Its a huge slush bucket controlled by Wade and Maude Hurd, no one else. July 31, 2008 5:17:49 PM
3. You are a gold mine! = ). July 31, 2008 6:06:26 PM
4. Thanks so much for this. Im getting a clear picture of what went down last week with the fund raising letter and their scramble to get money somewhere, anyway, in response to my questions. Why not just say theyre having trouble? So are lots of nonprofit groups right now, even those that arent connected to a scandal of any sort. Sometimes the cover up is worse than whats being covered up. August 3, 2008 11:51:15 AM
5. Im a bit worried about reaching out to Amy if shes in the process of rejoining Acorn. Doesnt that mean shes drunkt the Koolaid? August 4, 2008 1:40:52
6. I dont need to out the member who was intimidated. I basically just need her to confirm what Ive been told. I can then recount the incident as if I know it to be fact. September 4, 2008 8:59:59 PM
7. Am also onto the Obama connection, sadly. Would love the donor lists. As for helping the Repubs, theyre already onto this like white on rice. SIGH. September 7, 2008 1:59 PM
8.Separately, Im wondering whether you can give me any more details about the Nov. 2007 meeting with the Obama camp. Where did it take place? Who was involved? Any details would help. September 12, 2008 3:57 PM
9. Youre the best. If we could get the names of two or three people who were either sacked or forced out on suspicion of having passed information to me, that would clearly demonstrate the lie.
What a mess. September 13, 2008 9:43 AM
"I think back to last summer/fall when all our left wing posters were attempting to pooh pooh this whole stinking mess.
We hear this constant diatribe from the Democrats about the fairness in elections. Well, if they really mean it they and we need to put partisanship aside and put ALL organizations like ACORN out of business."
Meanwhile is ACORN already working on Census data ?
"The problem is, I dont think Obama lovers even care what he did or what ACORN did to get him elected; the end (keeping a Bush ally out of office) justified the means for them. As long as The Ones imaginary approval ratings remain high, he can laugh all of his critics."