ACORN Roundup

By Robert Wallace
America’s Right

Thanks to the work of Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, the spotlight of public attention swiveled to focus on ACORN back in September, and ACORN clearly couldn’t survive the heat of public scrutiny. The reaction from inside ACORN was chaos and panic – vacillating between contrition and feigned outrage – but the reaction from outside organizations was clear: ACORN had become as politically toxic as a mortgage-backed security:

After the videos were made public, ACORN’s partnership in the 2010 United States Census was terminated. The United States House and Senate voted to exclude ACORN from federal funding. The New York Attorney General announced an investigation to ensure that state grants given to ACORN were properly spent. The New York City Council suspended all ACORN grants while Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes conducted an investigation. On September 23, the Internal Revenue Service removed ACORN from its volunteer tax-assistance program. On September 28, Bank of America suspended programs with ACORN Housing pending a bank review of the organization.

It’s approaching three months since the original scandal broke, however, and even the attention of many conservatives has long since turned to other topics. So – back in the safe, cozy darkness of obscurity, how is ACORN doing these days?

For starters they aren’t going to be so hard-up for cash in the immediate future. The New York Times reports that Eric Holder’s Justice Department has ensured that ACORN will be paid for all the contracts put in place before the House and Senate ban. This decision is worse than it sounds.

On Oct. 1, President Obama signed into law a spending bill that included a provision that said no taxpayer money — including money authorized by previous legislation — could be “provided to” the group or its affiliates…

Citing dictionary and thesaurus entries, he said [Mr. Baron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel] “provided to” could be interpreted as meaning only instances in which an official was making “discretionary choices” about whether to give the group money, rather than instances in which the transfer of money to Acorn was required to satisfy contractual obligations.

In other words, Baron cracked open a thesaurus, found synonyms for “provide” that didn’t exactly mean “provide”, and cited these as an excuse to not only pay ACORN for services already provided, but to continue to pay them in full for future services that had already been contracted but not yet performed. There’s also an argument about bills of attainder that – in my non-lawyer opinion – doesn’t hold water. In short: both Houses of Congress passed a law banning all payments to ACORN and the President signed but nothing has changed. This financial lifeline will keep ACORN afloat while their lawsuit against the federal government (to restore access to future funding) is ongoing.

Representative Darrell Issa (the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) blasted the decision in a statement, but I haven’t seen any coverage outside of Drudge.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a California ACORN office has embarked on a document-dumping spree. Except for a mention on Fox, this story is being investigated almost entirely by the folks at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com. Despite the usual suspects leaping to defend ACORN (in this case Media Matters alleged that the 20,000 pages of documents were all irrelevant to the case), BigGovernment.com has provided recovered documents that most certainly relate to the ongoing investigation. When asked about the document-dumping, California Attorney General Jerry Brown gave a weird response in which he seems to disparage the PIs dumpster-diving, cite Supreme Court precedent that people have an expectation of privacy to their own garbage, and even brings up the fact that “52% of Republicans think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama”.


In fact, according to the Orange County Register, ACORN’s chief organizer in San Diego David Lagstein believes “the state’s top law agency is in ACORN’s corner”. The article goes on:

In a recorded speech he gave to the East [San Diego] County Democrat Club last month, Mr. Lagstein said that every bit of the communication he had with Mr. Brown’s office suggests that the fault will be found with the activists who made the videos, not the people with ACORN.

It sounds to me like another powerful friend is getting ready to step in on ACORN’s behalf. Again.

Speaking of investigations, whatever happened to that internal ACORN investigation? BigGovernment is on the case again, pointing out that the report was supposed to be released by the end of October. It’s the end of November and – so far – no report has been released.

Most Americans believed that when the House and Senate voted to stop providing funding for ACORN that the tumor had been removed. Little did they realize how deep the ties between ACORN and the government run at both the state and federal levels. Thanks to powerful friends the milk of federal funds is still flowing, and the ongoing investigations are more interested in protecting ACORN and prosecuting Giles and O’Keefe. Of course ACORN’s own investigation was a joke all along.

When you turn on the light the roaches scurry for cover, but if you just turn the lights back off then the roaches come straight back out of the walls and nothing has changed. Americans thought that cutting off funding and starting investigations meant something had been done, but they were wrong. For ACORN, it’s just business as usual.

—————
Robert Wallace is classical liberal studying economics in graduate school. He and his wife work as business analysis consultants, and they live as undercover conservatives with their two small children in a socialist bastion of a college town. He has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.

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Comments

  1. Gail B says:

    Robert, you are right. And, it's complicated by design.

    Georgia's governor ordered all ACORN contracts terminated by a certain date in September (a Tuesday) and ordered that no more of the state's money be paid to ACORN. It's been quiet here about it since.

    Obama-Soetoro has a lot riding on ACORN and will see to it that the thugs are funded one way or the other, while making himself come out of it smelling like a rose.

    There was something else, but my coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

    Thanks for the update. You're tops!

  2. sharon says:

    Great piece Robert. I guess we know what the "change" is now. Congress makes a law per the constitutional requirement, and the administration says " nope" try again, we are in charge here.

  3. Chuck in San Diego says:

    Robert, AG Brown doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to garbage. He needs a refresher course on the applicable rulings and maybe he should start here:

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=486&invol=35

    Brown is dirty and has no business running for California governor again.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Clearly, on this new San Diego ACORN revelation, California AG Jerry Brown has shown bias and should either act, or resign.

  5. Gail B says:

    Now I remember–

    Re: ACORN and community organizing

    I heard a caller on Neal Boortz say that Obama-Soetoro never refers to America as "this great nation." He calls the United States of America "this American community" or "this great American community." That's marginalizing our sovereignty.

  6. Randy Wills says:

    No matter how many times it gets thrown in our faces, I just cannot believe how stupid the Obama administration thinks that we are. I guess that comes from a long history of dealing with their typical constituents. Apparently Obama thinks that those that he worked with as a community organizer are typical Americans.

    And what a laugh it is for the DOJ to claim that they don't want to get into terminating contracts signed before the congressional ban on funding Acorn. Have they never heard of "terminating for cause"? Anyone who has ever written a contract for future performance and not included that clause would be an imbecile. Oh wait; what am I saying.

    Randy

  7. Bodenzee says:

    This is just more duplicitous behavior on the part of our largely dishonest Congress.

    I believe that they wrote this so that in the end it wouldn't impact ACORN. The authors of the legislation may even have told Mr. Baron where the escape valve was. Let things cool down a bit…the American public has a short attention span…and then turn ACORN back on. I can hear it now.

    "Provide" is not a word I would use to refer to the fund of contracted activity. In government contracting just as "may," "will", "shall," etc. have very specific meaning so do the terms used to describe funding. I've never seen "provide" used. Look through the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) for the word "provide."

  8. HOW DO YOU SAY ADIOS IN KENYAN? says:

    Obama needs a termination memo.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don't understand how this can happen! If ACORN broke the law doesn't that make the contracts null and void? We need to call and write our Senators and make sure ACORN doesn't receive anymore contracts…PERIOD!

    Sally

  10. Commie Blaster says:

    ACORN and SEIU are Communist organizations. See the proof, all the latest news and the deep, deep ties to Obama here: http://www.commieblaster.com/acorn/index.html

  11. Gail B says:

    Vera wasn't fired by ACORN; he was laid off due to restructuring, according to sensitive memos found in that California office's trash dumpster.

  12. CLEAN SLATE 2010 says:

    Here's hoping for a little "restructuring" in 2010 and 2012.

    Verification word: donur
    Someone who eats a lot of Krispy Kreme's and gives away an organ

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