As negotiations over Congress’s emergency rescue bill continued over the weekend, repeated rumors leaked out that the Democrats were trying to funnel money to a hyper-partisan organization involved in criminal voter fraud. I’m speaking of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — known by its acronym, ACORN. Although ACORN was cut from the final legislation, it’s important to understand this organization and its long history with, of all people, Barack Obama. And it’s important to see how partisan this emergency legislation has become.
As the weekend progressed, reports were constantly emerging of the sticking points preventing a final agreement. One of these reputed points of contention was whether 20 percent of the profit proceedings for asset sales in the future would go to what is called the Housing Trust Fund, subsidizing certain groups for ostensibly nonpartisan activity. One of these groups that this trust supports is ACORN.
ACORN has often been in the news since 2004. Officially, they work to register voters and support housing. In reality, everyone in public life knows that they are hardcore supporters for the Democratic Party, and employ bare-knuckle tactics. Their organization is plagued by repeated investigations of voter fraud and other crimes.
In Ohio, where as secretary of state I oversaw elections for eight years, ACORN has been busy. One ACORN man in Reynoldsburg was indicted on two felony counts of voter fraud, and another was indicted in Columbus. Other such problems surfaced in Cuyahoga County, where criminal investigations are ongoing.
It’s not just Ohio. ACORN personnel are facing criminal charges in over a dozen states. In Washington State, for example, seven ACORN leaders had felony charges filed against them for voter fraud.
And there’s an unexpected twist. One of the organizations accused of pushing banks into making many of the unwise loans at the heart of the current crisis is … ACORN. Now that’s ironic. An organization that possibly contributed to our current financial profits is now being considered to make money off of it. And by “money,” I’m referring to your tax money.
Twice already this year Congress has funneled money to ACORN. Some report that February’s economic stimulus included funds for ACORN, as did the bill to help people struggling with mortgages passed this April.
What deserves closer scrutiny is Barack Obama’s history with ACORN. Obama cites Saul Alinsky, a self-acknowledged radical who advocated extreme acts to achieve social goals, as one of his inspirations.