11/4/08

Charity expert cracks ACORN open

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Vote fraud is just one of union-connected group's many illegal practices

Massive, exhaustively documented electoral fraud is but a line-item on the radical left-wing direct-action group ACORN’s political balance sheet. In fact, the antics of the hyper-aggressive Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — which has taken in at least $126.4 million in donations and tax dollars since 1993 — cry out for a probe under federal racketeering laws.

ACORN and its affiliates are not only reliable cheerleaders for higher taxes, but also longtime tax deadbeats. More than 200 federal, state, and local tax liens adding up to more than $3 million are associated with ACORN’s national headquarters in New Orleans. (See Foundation Watch, November 2008.)

The IRS won’t say what kinds of taxes are owed, but accounting experts say they’re probably payroll taxes. This means ACORN, while aggressively advocating social and wealth-redistribution programs, in practice has been undermining those programs by stiffing Uncle Sam.

ACORN uses a complex system of interlocking directorates to control its far-flung network of affiliates. Well, actually they’re not that far-flung. An intrepid blogger discovered that 294 ACORN affiliates operate out of ACORN’s building on Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.

ACORN lawyer Elizabeth Kingsley raised the alarm about interlocking directorates and the dangerously close ties between ACORN and Project Vote in an internal report, the New York Times reported on October 22. There is so much overlap that “we may not be able to prove that 501(c)3 resources are not being directed to specific regions based on impermissible partisan considerations,” Kingsley wrote in a reference to the tax code provision regulating charities.

Capital Research Center discovered that ACORN moves money around its network with a boldness and agility that Pablo Escobar would have admired.

ACORN affiliate Project Vote paid ACORN $10,861,825 (2000–2006), Citizens Services Inc. (CSI) $1,206,942 (2005–2006), and $1,266,967 to ACORN affiliate Citizens Consulting Inc. (CCI) (2000–2004). Incidentally, Project Vote, ACORN, CSI, and CCI all share the same address in New Orleans.

Other ACORN affiliates with the same Big Easy address swap funds all the time.

Since 2000, the American Institute for Social Justice Inc. (AISJ) has paid ACORN at least $8,563,303. AISJ has paid CCI $362,464, and ACORN Associates Inc. $258,593. Since 2000, ACORN Housing Corp. Inc. paid its roommates, CCI and ACORN affiliate Peoples Equipment Resource Center $1,566,228 and (at least) $58,003, respectively.

In 2002, AISJ gave a $9,637 loan to ACORN affiliate SEIU Local 100. The same year, AISJ received a $50,000 interest-free loan from the Tides Foundation and a $4,000 interest-free loan from liberal mega-funder George Soros’s Open Society Institute.

These examples are just a few of ACORN’s unusual financial transactions. (More are listed in the Foundation Watch article mentioned to above.)

Don’t count on Barack Obama to investigate the ACORN network’s forensic accounting make-work project if he becomes our next president.

Obama’s ties to ACORN go back to at least 1992, when he ran a voter-registration drive for Project Vote. Obama helped train ACORN leaders, and he represented ACORN in a ballot-access case. The socialist “New Party,” which served as ACORN’s electoral arm, endorsed Obama, who was one of its members, when he ran for the Illinois state senate in the mid-1990s.

Last year, Obama promised a meeting of community organizers he would meet with ACORN after winning on Election Day. “Before I even get inaugurated, during the transition, we’re going to be calling all of you in to help us shape the agenda. We’re going to be having meetings all across the country with community organizations so that you have input into the agenda for the next presidency of the United States of America.”

The month before, Obama said: “I’ve 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 drives in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.” And during the primaries, the Obama presidential campaign paid $832,598 to ACORN affiliate CSI for get-out-the-vote activities.

ACORN’s political action committee has endorsed Obama, as has the officially nonpartisan ACORN itself.

In a video posted on YouTube on October 22, ACORN’s interim chief organizer Bertha Lewis thanked “everyone out there for defending ACORN against the scurrilous right-wing attacks and smears.” She told the audience to “vote for the community organizer Barack Obama.” (See the video here.)

Let’s see ACORN try and spin its way out of this one.

- Matthew Vadum

(article.nationalreview.com)

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