A Blow To Bloviators: ACORN Didn’t Break The Law

by Ben Hoffman

A Congressional Research Service report commissioned by the House Judiciary Committee says ACORN hasn’t violated any federal regulations the past five years.

The report, released by Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers’s (D-Mich.) staff Tuesday evening, also reports that the undercover filmmakers that allegedly caught employees of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now breaking the law may have violated state law in their filming operation.

Separately on Tuesday, a New York federal judge rejected a motion from the Justice Department to reconsider a decision that ruled a bill that stopped funding for ACORN as an unconstitutional bill of attainder.


I’m sure many right-wingers out there would have rather had something else for Christmas, but that’s the way it goes.

Happy Holidays!!! 🙂

14 Comments to “A Blow To Bloviators: ACORN Didn’t Break The Law”

  1. Really Ben, surely you don’t believe that those facts will get in the way of the outrage?

  2. The headline of your post is misleading. The facts about this crooked, crap organization get repeatedly and conveniently spun, or ignored outright, and I think this is an example.

    Rathke embezzled nearly $1m, which was handled internally through the interests of self-preservation rather than externally through law enforcement.


    That should have been the end of that organization, but it wasn’t. Instead we forgive and ignore ACORN’s many offenses from then until now while the right screams bloody murder and the left says, “Show me the body?” It’s not the point – the people ACORN supposedly says they help deserve more from ANY charitable organization that SHOULD BE held to a higher standard, but for some reason in this case, is not.

    I don’t get why liberals support this association so much and are so easily willing to dismiss or ignore the corruption that occurs? Surely liberals can find a far more honest and capable organization to take credit for as their own? There are certainly far more deserving charities and associations out there that can do a better – and cleaner – job.

    • [I don’t get why liberals support this association so much ]

      I never even heard of ACORN until that silly prostitute video surfaced.

      If I have it right, two or three idiots in a regional office of a rather small non-profit government contractor act offensively and possibly aid potential criminal conduct (which actually was just a sting) and the entire organization must pay?? This I don’t get.

      • Based on the embezzlement back then, the sting videos, and their political dodging now, ACORN should at the very least be audited as there is an obvious pattern of poor behavior here. That is a reasonable expectation that I am sure will be politically blocked, with a number of “race cards” being played along the way.

  3. [Rathke embezzled nearly $1m, which was handled internally through the interests of self-preservation rather than externally through law enforcement.

    That should have been the end of that organization, but it wasn’t.]

    What about the fraud related to the military industrial complex? Corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Halliburton, Blackwater, and many others have been FOUND GUILTY of intentionally overcharging the U.S. government and other crimes, yet not only are they still in business — they are still receiving huge government contracts, and still defrauding the U.S. government.

    How about companies such as Diebold that were FOUND GUILTY of rigging elections, yet are still in business?

    Right-wingers hate ACORN because of their political stance — not because of their corruption.

    • I believe right-wingers do hate ACORN’s political stance, which appears to be that they can act above the law.

      Now of course people can easily say that the military industrial complex acts as though it’s above the law, too. I believe it. Politics and government contracts are sleazy business – always has been, always will be. Countries rig/influence elections, deals are made on golf courses, city administrations play favorites when selecting contracts, etc. etc. etc. It may suck and it may not be right, but that’s how it is.

      But are you comparing the actions of a military contractor to a charity, and using one to justify the other? By the nature of their very name, a charity/n4p is supposed to be created out of a higher moral standard, and operate as such. I don’t look for the same moral standard or accountability in a corporation, and I don’t understand why the far left avoids wanting to hold ACORN accountable to that standard, and am repeatedly surprised at their reasons why. (Unless it’s simply more partisan b.s., then I’m not surprised ;))

      • You make some decent points Vern. Often it’s not the offense so much as the reaction. And this one is so out of proportion. Unless I’m wrong, their entire contract with the federal gov’t is about a million dollars.

  4. Wikipedia says they get about $25m a year, about 10% of that coming from the Federal Government. With the recent scandal and pullback, I don’t know what they get, but to me it isn’t the point.

    From one perspective, the American Cancer Society receives far more in donations and support and has a far greater amount of controversy surrounding it (example: http://www.preventcancer.com/losing/acs/wealthiest_links.htm), although perhaps not as public.

    From another perspective, ACORN has a founder that embezzled $1m, obviously believing that lying and deceit is ok. ACORN has a board that felt lying and deceit was ok as well, covering up the embezzlement for eight years and actually rewarding Rathke with not only freedom from prosecution, but finding him another job as well. You’ve got voter registrants who beileve lying and deceit is ok on voter registration forms, and now recently you’ve got employees that believe that lying and deceit is ok to bring in underage alien prostitutes into America and dodge paying taxes on the income.

    ACORN has repeatedly hid behind its 501(c) status, it’s good deeds, and the race card in order to deny accountability or responsibility for almost everything. They claim a few bad apples, but based on fact and history their problems go right to the core.

    Taking Mr. Hoffman’s post in context, the opinion on the left appears to be that people should back off ACORN, that it is simply another Obama witch hunt on behalf of the far right, and that ACORN deserves their privacy. I disagree. For one, the fact that Obama was associated with them somehow has very little relevance to me anymore. For another, ACORN shows a pattern and history of corruption that deserves more scrutiny from the media and the public, not less. If I stashed $100k in my freezer (Jefferson) or took $400k in kickbacks (Stevens), I’d see a member of law enforcement and a courtroom. Rathke saw neither.

    We’ve said that Americans can no longer hide behind tax shelters abroad. Why not extend that to those hiding behind 501(c)’s at home?

    Citizens have demanded more scrutiny of and accountability from financial institutions, health care providers, and the insurance industry, and have even called for audits of Fan & Fred, and trusted institutions like the Fed. Why does ACORN, an organization with such obvious evidence of corruption at its core, seem to deserve (and get) such a free pass from the Left?

    • Vern

      I’m actually not going to disagee with much of what you’re saying here – mainly because I don’t know enough about it all. (Although, I will look around to see if I want to come back here and get all argumentative with you!)

      Now, I cannot really support what I’m about to say; I can only describe to you how it looked and felt to me at the time ACORN was coming to public attention – and, as I said, I’d never heard of them till after the ’08 election.

      This was before the ‘prostitute’ stuff. The brouhaha at the time was a suggestion that ACORN’s registration misdeeds had invalidated the presidential election. In that context, it sounded to me like a new chorus of “OBama’s not really the president” – a very popular tune at the time.

      And THAT was what got liberals defensive on the subject.

      • Hi Moe,

        I did think that the Repubs’ and Dems’ relationship with ACORN was relevant during the race as an indicator of their leadership and politics, but you’ll be happy to know that I never joined the “Obama’s not really the president” chorus line over any of it (besides, I’m a terrible singer!) 🙂

        ACORN’s problems should be ACORN’s alone – not Obama’s, not the right’s, nor the left’s. Like Ben said, he hates that this is political, and so do I. Let’s get the politics out of it and get these crooked players straight again, or shut them down. Otherwise, they will not only remain a corrupt charity, but will remain a corrupt political force as well that will do neither side any good. Right now they just seem to be treating things as an “image problem”, not a culture one.

      • Vern – Nicely said. We should apply that to a lot of what goes on around us. Let there be reason!

    • [Taking Mr. Hoffman’s post in context, the opinion on the left appears to be that people should back off ACORN, that it is simply another Obama witch hunt on behalf of the far right, and that ACORN deserves their privacy.]

      The problem I have with this is, it’s all political. The company Diebold has been involved in REAL election fraud and convicted in California, yet Republicans don’t seem to have a problem with that.

      While there is some corruption in ACORN, they also do a lot of good things for poor people.

      • We’re talking companies vs. charities again, however ANY organization that deliberately commits fraud should be strung up.

        If taking $100,000 in bribes is considered to be serious corruption, then surely $1m in embezzled funds should be considered to be more than just “some” corruption. Yes, ACORN gets up-played, but doesn’t this show how much they get down-played, too?

        I don’t discount what any good and cause-serving people do at ACORN for their published mandate, and I’m sure there’s been some positive work that they’ve done, but we don’t let fraudsters or embezzlers off scott free just because they planted a garden somewhere. There are good charities in ACORN’s space, I’m sure, that are far more deserving of our dollars.

  5. There’s reports here that all the CRS did was a NEXUS search as far as investigating ACORN.


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