Fifty-three million dollars in government funds – that is the sum of money the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has received since its inception in 1970, according to the Washington Examiner.
Started by a self-proclaimed anti-capitalist, ACORN has become a non-profit organization with at least 500,000 constituents, according to Fox News. This entity has 1,200 local chapters in 75 cities, and its supposed mission is to register voters and help provide affordable housing to low-income families. While this may seem like a morally justified agenda, its end game is political.
Fox News reported a video showing two people posing as a prostitute and pimp receiving advice from ACORN employees. The employees gave out tax advice even though the couple said they planned to run a brothel.
ACORN is also under investigation in at least 14 states for voter fraud in the 2008 presidential campaign, where it supported President Barack Obama. What is ridiculous is that Obama claims to have little knowledge of this group for which he was an advocate.
Obama represented ACORN in 1994 when it sued Citibank on behalf of “all persons who were African-American,” so they could receive sub-prime loans, and in 2008 he paid a subsidiary called Citizen Services Inc. $800,000 to help with voter turnout in the presidential primary.
ACORN positions itself as a worker’s advocate, but its actions speak differently.
According to Time magazine, ACORN sued the state of California because it wanted immunity from the state’s minimum wage law. In 1995, the group didn’t pay its own employees minimum wage when it publicly supports that.
ACORN’s sabotage of electoral honesty appears systematic. According to the Wall Street Journal, an Ohio worker for an ACORN affiliate registered fake voters in exchange for drugs in 2004. The worker registered underage and deceased voters with fake names like Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey.
An investigation found that ACORN waited till the submission deadline to turn in thousands of registration forms. What is worrisome is the political connection ACORN has with the Democratic Party and Obama.
Hans Von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation said to the New York Post, “ACORN transfers money between its subsidiaries – and nobody knows for sure how many there are. A lot of these subsidiaries get paid by Democratic campaigns as consultants.”
Both the U.S. House and Senate have voted to cut funding to ACORN, including $8.5 billion as part of the stimulus bill. This does not excuse previous support of the group, and Obama has said nothing of substance.
On ABC’s “This Week” Obama said, “Frankly, it’s not really something I’ve followed closely. I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.”
Obama should have paid more attention to the group, considering his past involvement. At a presidential campaign forum in 2007, Obama told ACORN followers and supporters that “we will be calling all of you in to help us shape the agenda.”
Congress made the right decision to cut funding for this group, but Obama and the Democrats need to be more careful about who they support. Having ties to such a corrupt organization will only cast doubt on the president’s judgment.
Erik Raymond is a graduate student majoring in liberal arts.