Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ACORN Vindicated

Sunshine Behind Chair
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Will apologies from the Right Wing Smear Machines be forthcoming?


(CNN) -- A preliminary probe of now-disbanded community organizing group ACORN has found no sign the group or related organizations mishandled the $40 million in federal money they received in recent years, congressional investigators reported Monday.

A review of grants by nine federal agencies, mostly for housing issues, found problems with only one award -- and in that case, the separately administered ACORN Housing Corporation quickly provided a missing piece of documentation, the Government Accountability Office reported.

Nearly two dozen members of Congress requested an investigation after a series of complaints against ACORN and its affiliates, including an accounting scandal, several cases of voter registration fraud and the release of edited videotapes made by conservative activists that appeared to implicate ACORN workers in facilitating prostitution.

Republicans in Congress have blasted the organization as corrupt and led an effort to strip the group of federal funding in 2009, and the negative publicity forced it to disband earlier this year.

ACORN has said it is the victim of a smear campaign by conservatives, and a federal judge ruled in March that the law barring the group's receipt of federal funds was unconstitutional.


Edwin Drood said...

"appeared to implicate ACORN workers"

I saw the videos, it strait up proves ACORN workers (from several different states) were willing to assist a man who was seeking help with human trafficking, prostitution as well as statutory rape.

Cities included: Baltimore, San Diego, San Bernardino and DC.

But you say they're not corrupt??

How many little girls does one have to assist in selling before you're "corrupt" ?

This post proves more than ever that you will support anything Liberal.

Dan Trabue said...

And so, already it appears that the answer to, "Will there be any apologies forthcoming from the Right?" is "Hell, no."

The videos show that there was a problem with a few workers - workers who were then fired by ACORN for their actions.

The investigation shows, however, that the organization as a whole was not corrupt - AND that an organization who worked to better the lives of poor folk and to empower them has been put out of business due to irresponsible witch-hunting types of "reporting" like you describe.

And yet, you have no shame.

Once again - as in the Gulf Oil disaster - IF those on the Right who call for DBD and who demonized ACORN had even ONE OUNCE of credibility and personal responsibility, they would now step up and offer to pay for the damage they've done.

But no.

And it is the poor who will suffer.

Sleep tight, Edwin. If you can.

Your comment shows you will demonize anything liberal out of blind partisan hatred. Shame on you.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Edwin saw some videos and has the whole thing figured out.

That is the reason why the right is so laughably irrelevant. They are stupid on top of venal and mindless.

Edwin Drood said...

I demonize front groups that aid and abed human trafficking of little girls. I guess you gave them a pass for being liberal.

What that has to do with the oil spill I don't know.

Edwin Drood said...

One more thing, how does the investigation repudiate the videos?

Dan Trabue said...

Wrap your mind around this: If one person from a group misbehaves, that is not evidence of the group misbehaving. If we're going to demonize the whole group based on the behavior of a subset, then clearly all militia groups must be corrupt and condemned, because some militia types HAVE misbehaved.

Geoffrey is right: Your type of partisan "thinker" is laughably irrelevant and it is probably best just to ignore you.

Alan said...

"I saw the videos, it strait up proves ACORN workers (from several different states) were willing to assist a man who was seeking help with human trafficking, prostitution as well as statutory rape. "

No, you saw video that had been edited (and never bothered to follow through to find out that the unedited video was very different.)

Wow. People actually think that what they see in a video is what happened?

Dude, Gilligan was just a TV show, stop calling the Coast Guard to go rescue them, idiot.

Edwin Drood said...

Oh wow the videos were a fake!!

Are you the only one who knows this??

You should really release your findings to the press, because apparently you're the only one who thought to check to see if the videos were doctored.

I don't even know why any of you are looking for vindication of ACORN since you choose what to believe based on political leanings and not evidence.

Dan Trabue said...

I repeat:

THE GAO investigation into "ACORN has found no sign the group or related organizations mishandled the $40 million in federal money"

ACORN had apparently done nothing wrong, according to this investigation. What evidence do you have to the contrary, Edwin?

If you have no evidence and you just want to continue smearing this group with your unsupported lies, you can go away. Your positions are irrelevant, if they are unsupported. I won't abide brainless partisan gossip here.

Put up or shut up.

Dan Trabue said...

"The proportion of fraud is infinitesimal. For example, a half-dozen ACORN workers were charged with registration fraud or other election-related crimes in the 2004 election. They had completed fewer than two dozen false registrations -- out of more than a million new voters registered by ACORN during that cycle..."

"The fans of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck regard ACORN as a criminal enterprise that fosters tax fraud, prostitution, child prostitution and even murder (thanks to a satirical "confession" by an employee filmed surreptitiously in the San Bernardino ACORN office). But ACORN chief organizer and CEO Bertha Lewis swiftly dismissed the employees caught on those videotapes and set about reforming the flawed processes that enabled those individuals to speak for the organization. No overt acts were committed by any of the people caught on those tapes -- and so far nobody has found that any of those theoretical "crimes" ever took place.

To claim that the stupid behavior of a half-dozen employees should discredit a national group with offices in more than 75 cities staffed by many thousands of employees and volunteers is like saying that Mark Sanford or John Ensign have discredited every Republican governor or senator."

The difference between Edwin's view and mine is that Edwin's is partisan and based on brainless and mostly false charges unsupported by any actual evidence in the real world and my side has truth and facts on our side.

If we want to demonize and destroy a group that works to help the poor based on smears and falsehoods, go Edwin's route. Or you can strive for a bit of integrity and truth and helping the poor and outcast.

I think most reasonable folk will want to choose truth and evidence over lies and smears.

How about you, Edwin?

Doug said...

A preliminary probe of now-disbanded community organizing group ACORN...

How preliminary?

Table 4 at p.19 of the report indicates that of the six major federal agencies GAO asked questions of only ONE (!) has provided responses so far. Talk about “preliminary”!

It is amazing that GAO’s lukewarm threshhold-level probe is considered an investigation at all.

The real issues that have yet to be explored are whether ACORN engaged in violations of RICO through money-laundering of taxpayer funds designated for nonpartisan activities, engaged in partisan activities, and violated ERISA (the federal pension statute) by shifting pension funds around in order to conceal a million dollar embezzlement perpetrated by the ACORN founder’s brother (Dale Rathke) — for starters! ACORN’s criminal activities stretch almost all the way back to the group’s founding in 1970 in Arkansas.

Only a proper racketeering investigation will shed light on ACORN’s decades of lawbreaking.

Meanwhile, ACORN hagiographer and radical left-wing community organizer John Atlas, author of Seeds of Change, crows that ACORN has been “vindicated” by a new preliminary threshhold-level report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

How about we wait for just a bit more relevant information before we start asking for apologies?

Dan Trabue said...

Doug, you're citing a source with an agenda.

"Only a proper racketeering investigation will shed light on ACORN’s decades of lawbreaking."

Someone at Big Gov' has appointed themselves judge and jury of ACORN and has apparently decided that GAO is on the take or something and I should believe this source?

Based upon what? I'll have to respectfully ask the same think I asked Edwin: Based on what actual evidence (as opposed to already decided hunches by a group with an agenda)? Evidence, please, not more unsupported accusations.

Alan said...

"Oh wow the videos were a fake!! "

Just to clarify to the people reading who are the owners/operators of a working brain, I did not say they were fake. I said they were edited, and that the unedited videos, which have been everywhere for many months now and which anyone is able to google if they wish, show a different side to the story.

"Put up or shut up."

I vote he shuts up.

Hey Eddie, don't you have a gay pride parade to get to? LOL

Alan said...

Yup, one google search and 2 seconds later:

Enjoy, Eddie.

Alan said...

So, there's my evidence that the videos were indeed edited.

Where's yours Eddie? Put up or shut up. And since you *never* present evidence for your insipid blathering, please, please shut up, you ignorant and pathetic twit.

Or to quote those great philosophers of our time, Motley Crue, "Don't go away mad, just go away."

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks Alan. Here's that link, if anyone wants to see the FACTS of the story, rather than just the smear.

Now, a follow up for those who support these smears: IF it turns out that FOX and others (the conservatives who did the original "investigative" smear) have, in fact, smeared this group, causing them to disband, should they be held accountable? Should they pay for the damage done?

Dan Trabue said...

Or, put another way: Are you (any of our conservative friends out there) an actual conservative that believes in personal responsibility and stepping up and admitting you were wrong when you were wrong and paying for any damages done, or are you just a partisan schmuck willing to spread any manure as long as it stinks?

Dan Trabue said...

How is what Fox and this couple did even legal? Have they been sued? If not, why not?

Where is the Conservative uprising of outrage about how they've been led astray? Are they not even aware of this?

Edwin, Doug - are you aware of the facts in this story? Are you not outraged with the couple that did this bogus smear?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Edwin, I saw a video where a 25 foot tall gorilla, after stealing Naomi Watts in a jungle on a sinking Indian Ocean island, was transported to New York City where he was finally brought down from the top of the Empire State Building by a bunch of airplanes.

Except, really, most of the live action was shot in studios in New Zealand, and the rest was computer generated. It looked real, sure, but it wasn't.

This may sound absurd to Edwin, but that's because he's dumb. Just because I see a video - whether it's a really poorly-planned and executed "sting" of a non-profit that helps the poor or a movie from a major Hollywood studio - I assume from the get-go that it is edited. YouTube, whatever - editing takes place. Precisely because the video comes from a group with an agenda - and that doesn't mean just a right-wing agenda - one has to take what one sees with a grain of salt.

You saw a video and managed to indict an entire organization. I saw a video and saw a bunch of idiots who thought they were clever. Who is using critical thought here, and who is being stupid, obstinate, and mindless? I report, you decide.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

As far as the GAO report is concerned, Edwin, I want to know which places of employment you have worked that received any kind of public grant money. See, I've done that kind of thing, even applied for that kind of funding, and here's how it works, once you get approval.

First, if the grant covers salaries, those so covered have to give daily summaries - usually hourly, but sometimes as little as quarter-hourly reports on activities - phone calls made, meetings held, that kind of thing. Each month, a report is made to the grant administrator, detailing the benefits accrued from the grant in terms of accomplishing the ends toward which the grant was given. The Administrator then files quarterly summaries, with the monthly reports as attachments, to the Federal or State agency overseeing the grant. At any time, any activity that seems fishy, under-reporting, or questionable activities can result in the loss of the grant Furthermore, the Federal or State grantor reserves the right for surprise inspections - and they happen more frequently than someone not involved in this kind of thing realizes.

This is about more than accounting. It is about accountability. If ACORN, or any other non-profit, were involved in a whole lot of illegal stuff, it would have been discovered long before a couple dorks with cameras - who were being played by the ACORN employees for anyone who had eyes to see - came along to blow the whole thing wide open.

Your line about human trafficking is a sorry piece of garbage, Edwin, because I know you don't really care all that much about "human trafficking". If you did you would be concerned that time, money, and manpower was wasted blaming an organization that assisted the poor to get adequate housing instead of targeting organized crime and their sex outlets. Please stop pontificating, because it makes me angry.

David Collins said...

"Please stop pontificating, because it makes me angry."

So since Geoffrey doesn't like it, Edwin can't "pontificate" anymore?

Why should anyone not involved with the (possibly) wayward actions of the videographers apologize?

Dan Trabue said...

Because IF they have deliberately smeared a group and IF Fox's repeated airing of the apparently fake video smear and this bearing of false witness/slander resulted in the group having to disband (which all appear to have been the case), that is a tragedy.

And those not associated with the video have no reason to apologize UNLESS they have also been out there like FOX "news" spreading the lie.

In other words, IF I had heard that Group X had done something wrong and then I started repeating that "fact" on my blog and then I found out that the "fact" was a mistake and not only a mistake, but a deliberate smear, I would apologize for spreading the lie - even unknowingly. AND I would be angry at the group who told the lie in the first place.

That just seems like basic personal responsibility and human decency, wouldn't you agree?

Dan Trabue said...

Oh, and thanks for stopping in, David.

Doug said...

Doug, you're citing a source with an agenda.

Indeed. Especially this part:

Table 4 at p.19 of the report indicates that of the six major federal agencies GAO asked questions of only ONE (!) has provided responses so far. Talk about “preliminary”!

That's clearly agenda-driven opinion, while your pronouncement:

ACORN had apparently done nothing wrong, according to this investigation.

Is obviously a well-thought-out conclusion based on the weighing of all the facts from ... a preliminary report from an investigation that itself doesn't nearly have all its facts in yet.

I think most reasonable folk will want to choose truth and evidence over lies and smears.

Your discernment is impressive, being equipped to pass final judgment on what is true when 1/6th of the evidence is in.

How is what Fox and this couple did even legal? Have they been sued? If not, why not?

I'm not entirely sure. Since this form of journalism is so new, I'm not sure there's a precedent. Really, has anyone ever hidden a portable camera before and recorded incriminating evidence, and then showed excerpts on the evening news of just the incriminating parts? We might be breaking some new judicial ground here.

Or not.

Dan Trabue said...

So Doug, morally, were they wrong? Setting aside the results (complete or not) of this investigation, will you condemn the creation of this fake "news" story that largely caused the investigation in the first place?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

David, people like Edwin won't stop because they are incapable of shame. What angers me is the fake flap and chest beating over human trafficking. I live near a metro area that suffers from a very real problem with prostitution, including Asian "massage parlors" that were actually fronts for Asian organized crime human trafficking. For Edwin to believe the kind of crap he talks about, he would be angry at a bunch of racist nincompoops who thought that African-Americans are so stupid as to believe a couple young white people assumed that an organization dealing with the homeless might be tempted to help them with prostitution.

The entire thing is a farce. While human trafficking isn't the huge problem it is purported to be, it does still happen. Anger and action need to be directed at the real culprits involved, not this kind of thing. That's why the kind of stuff that rolls so glibly off his keyboard makes me angry - this combination of fake moral outrage and ignorance that obscures the real problem under a thin sheen of moral rectitude.

You want to help people trapped in this kind of thing? There are ways to get involved, but shutting down a non-profit that actually assisted poor people isn't one of them.

Doug said...

...will you condemn the creation of this fake "news" story that largely caused the investigation in the first place?

Fake? You make it sound like the video was so heavily edited that, indeed, no one at all really did anything wrong in the slightest. If they did do something illegal, regardless of who didn't, then it's not fake news, it's news.

So no, I will no condemn their actions, as I don't condemn Lila Rose's actions using a hidden camera to expose multiple Planned Parenthood offices offering to cover up statutory rape. As I don't condemn local news organizations from bringing their hidden cameras to catch criminals red-handed.

And when a pattern does emerge (this was not one video but several), and the group's getting federal funds, I think an investigation is warranted. I think PP should be investigated, too, but that's even more of a political football for Democrats; they'll never let that happen if they can help it. But it is warranted, in both cases.

But your use of the word "vindicated" in the title of this post is so far from the reality of the situation as to be laughable. You're like a defense attorney who, after the prosecution has brought up only 1 or 2 witnesses on their long list, jumps up and demands acquittal for his client. Not only that, he then tries to sue for defamation and demands apologies.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Doug, you're kind of not reading the comment thread here, are you. The headline is accurate, ACORN was vindicated, and the whole video flap was so fake and phony, and the right-wing attack on them such a phony, non-story it begs credulity how anyone can not see it for the kabuki theater it really was.

It was probably inevitable that ACORN would take a fall. Far too many powerful people are threatened by poor and minority people being socially, economically, and politically empowered not to have an organization that works with and for them targeted for destruction. Their success was as much part of the problem as anything.

All the rest of it, from the edited video to any questions about allegedly illegal behavior - it's garbage. ACORN had sites set on it because they supported our President, and a whole lot of powerful people can't take him down, so they found a substitute. That's all this is about, really. How is it possible that so many people are unclear on the concept?

Dan Trabue said...


You make it sound like the video was so heavily edited that, indeed, no one at all really did anything wrong in the slightest.

Perhaps we're not communicating well here. WHAT exactly do you think the "investigative" video shows that ACORN did wrong?

Call the police to report someone who was trying to engage in child prostitution? Is that their error? Surely, you're not defending child prostitution? What do you think ACORN did wrong and, again, ON WHAT BASIS do you think they have done anything wrong?

I'm looking for evidence, not rumors, Doug. I'm sure you can agree with me that rumor-mongering and video edited to show something that did not actually happen is not the same as actual evidence?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Dan is right, Doug. No one at ACORN did anything wrong. They strung these guys along, figuring they were attempting to do something illegal - and then they called the cops. That is the real story, well-documented.

Of course, it didn't make the video so it never happened, right? You, like Edwin and the rest, are really the tops. It's like you try hard to be as ignorant as possible.

Dan Trabue said...


And when a pattern does emerge (this was not one video but several), and the group's getting federal funds, I think an investigation is warranted.

Again, I think you have not gone to the website that has been linked to here. The "investigations" were bogus, there's nothing to them, that I see. What "pattern" are you thinking has emerged?

The only pattern I see is a group with an agenda deliberately setting out to slander and malign a group that apparently has not done anything wrong. They may have attempted to do this by entrapment (ie, posing as a prostitute), but when that failed (and it did fail), they simply edited the material to make it look like they had caught them in something.

On top of that, it was fairly amateurishly done and only those who wanted to believe believed them from the beginning, seems to me.

You DO get that this is what has happened, right? If not, I just ask again: What do you think ACORN employees did wrong? What "pattern?"

Dan Trabue said...

Geoffrey, I don't Doug falls into the same category as Edwin. Perhaps he's honestly been duped and just hasn't seen the evidence yet? I think Doug is a reasonable guy and perhaps his answer to my questions will show that.

Edwin, on the other hand, unfortunately, appears to be just a troll. Of course, I could even be wrong about him. All he has to do is step up and respond to the facts.

It's just that he has a track record of ignoring facts and sticking to rumors and innuendo blindly. As you have noted.

Also, Geoffrey, where you say...

No one at ACORN did anything wrong.

I think you are speaking specifically of these fake stories which brought them down and, in that sense, you are right.

However, in the broader sense, ACORN has had some ethical problems. There was that embezzlement charge that I think is an actual real charge.

Of course, the embezzlement was NOT ACORN policy, just a bad egg who has been fired, I believe (although it does not sound like it was handled as well as it ought to have been).

On top of that, I'm pretty sure that they probably have had other incidents of internal fighting and individual employees misbehaving.

But, from all evidence thus far (and I will admit otherwise if this investigation/witch hunt finds any actual evidence of wrong-doing), it appears that the organization itself has done nothing wrong, at least of all the ridiculous charges thrust upon it (supporting child prostitution, voter fraud, etc).

I will say that, based on a purely outsider's view and not being especially up on all that ACORN does, that sometimes, non-profits like this are run by idealists who sometimes are less than professional in running things. I don't know that this is the case for ACORN, but I would not be surprised if it were.

But welcome to the world of non-profits. Some are more professional and responsible than others - and oftentimes, I suspect that lapses are due to over-work and under-pay at jobs that desperately need to be done, but no one is willing to do or pay for.

And, of course, many are VERY professional and responsible AND do a good job. But as someone who's been at the periphery of many non-profits, I know that it's hard work doing good work. I'm willing to cut them some slack.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

In re your comments regarding ACORN, obviously being staffed by human beings, they did stuff that was both wrong and illegal. That is hardly the issue.

The issue, rather, is that an entire organization that, overall, was highly successful as an advocate for and co-worker with the poor was libeled, and people like Edwin, and your friend Doug, bought it, and continue to buy it. What burns me isn't only their ongoing self-delusion concerning the relevance of the video and what it says about an entire organization; it is the mindless, fake outrage, typed most clearly by Edwin, concerning "human trafficking, prostitution as well as statutory rape." As I say, these are real problem and can really be addressed, but Edwin's posturing and the relevance of that issue to the smear campaign against ACORN is what burns me.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm with you, there, Geoffrey. Fake outrage over fake news stories that have been demonstrated to be fake over issues of real importance only takes away from solutions to the actual problems. And responsible adults will want to be held accountable for their words if they have cast false charges.

And people who AREN'T personally responsible and who DON'T admit their mistakes - especially when the result is a despoiled ocean or an apparently good organization doing good work going out of business, there's a special place in hell for that sort of irresponsibility. A hell of their own making and embracing.

Doug said...

OK, I watched the Maddow clip. First off, I do appreciate the irony of dismissing the Big Government site as a "source with agenda", and then directing me to the Huffington Post and a Rachel Maddow clip. Absolutely classic, fellas.

But getting to the clip itself. Her first big reveal is that O'Keefe shirtsleeve was seen when he claimed that, in that particular video, he was dressed as a pimp in fur. I guess she assumed he'd be bare-chested underneath all that. I just figured that he had the shirt on underneath and it poked through the fur or he took off the fur at some point. I'm sure it gets hot. But then I found this refutation at Big Journalism (sorry, another agenda source) where the clip in question, with the shirt sleeve, was introduced showing him in shirtsleeves.

So indeed it looks like Maddow herself engaged in a bit of selective editing.

Regarding the employee in San Diego that appeared to give information on how to smuggle underage girls from Mexico, I agree that if this guy did indeed call the cops after getting the information, then ACORN should have stood by him. If that's what he did, he did the right thing, and shouldn't have been slandered or mistreated. And yet ACORN fired him. Not O'Keefe; ACORN. Not immediately, but when more video came out that contradicted his story, then ACORN let him go. If this guy was absolutely in the right, why did they fire him? Was ACORN more interested in avoiding bad PR than doing the right thing by their own employees?

Jerry Brown's investigation didn't come out with a report on this until after ACORN disbanded. Giles and O'Keefe, as I understand it, were never questioned by San Diego police about this, so it's quite possible that they did not know that there there was even the possibility that a call had been made to report them to the police when they first discussed the video. It would be a tragedy if the employee had called the police and yet got fired, but the tragedy is in the firing, not in the misunderstanding.

Regarding Lavelle Stewart in LA, the fault here is with Sean Hannity. He serves one up for Maddow by misrepresenting one answer to one assumed question. This is not the fault of O'Keefe and Giles. There are 15 minutes of video with accompanying transcript where Ms. Stewart is more than just encouraging of what O'Keefe and Giles say they are doing. Maddow's again doing her own creative editing and not telling the whole story.

And the whole story has been available the whole time. Complete audio, all the video excerpts, and full transcripts have been available. Not the hush-hush endeavor that Maddow would have you believe it is.

Doug said...

In the meantime, ACORN employees were fired from other parts of the country, and former employees and board members have leveled some serious accusation. Should this be investigated? Yes, and it is being investigated.

And thus we get around back to the actual, original topic brought up by Dan. Geoffrey, I've been responding mostly to the post, not the comments, at least originally. The headline is "accurate" only in the sense, as I've already said, that after just a few witnesses have testified in a trial, the defense attorney immediately jumps up and claims his client is "vindicated". But to somehow claim vindication, you fellas have ignored the fact that this is more of a status report than a clean bill of health.

Instead, you've appealed to that paragon of fairness and objectivity, Rachel Maddow, saying that because the videos were (supposedly) faked, that ergo "ACORN had apparently done nothing wrong" (Dan's words) and "No one at ACORN did anything wrong" (Geoffrey's words). Now, you've since backpedalled just a bit from that, with Geoffrey saying, "they did stuff that was both wrong and illegal", but with the wonderful caveat, "That is hardly the issue."

Ah. Indeed.

Actually, the issue that got this all going is an unfinished probe that Dan claims vindicates ACORN. I claim (and have done so from the beginning) we don't have enough information to say that yet. That's basically it.

Dan Trabue said...

The videos in question look so ridiculously faked and farcical and the accusation made seems so flimsy as to be hard to believe. Add in to the fact that it appears to have been produced by amateurs with an agenda and no journalistic integrity, and yes, I'm prepared to give ACORN the benefit of the doubt.

As I have said, should the report finally conclude some misdeeds were actually done and have actual evidence for it, I'll be glad to reverse my position. What I'm asking you is will you do the same?

Also, I repeat my question:

WHAT exactly do you think the "investigative" video shows that ACORN did wrong?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Doug -

First, I did not "backtrack". I have seen the videos and read the follow-up reports done by serious, real journalists (and, no, I do not consider Rachel Maddow either serious or a real journalist; she is as much an entertainer as Sean Hannity and I treat her the same way). Why the person in question was fired, I have no idea. My point, and I shall make it again, is that it is clear to me, watching the video, that the ACORN folks knew what was going on - a bunch of stupid, racist white kids thinking that an organization staffed by and helping African-Americans could be played this way - and were trying to decide if they were proposing actual criminal activity. That is why the police were contacted. If the person in question was, indeed, fired, it might just be a violation of policy, or any number of reasons.

My point in saying that, sure, there will always be people who do bad stuff in organizations is not "backtracking", it is being realistic. Once again, ACORN is vindicated by the GAO report not just because the alleged misdeeds - shouted over and over again by right-wing media types and swallowed whole by people on the right - was this was a systemic problem. If it was such, even a cursory overview by the GAO would have figured that out. This does not mean that bad things didn't happen, no one ever did anything bad, or anything else.

The charge against ACORN was always that the video revealed systemic corruption, a debased policy including assisting in various criminal activities from prostitution to drug dealing. The GAO report found no evidence of any systemic problems.

That is the issue, I stand by everything I have said and have not backtracked, and Dan is correct. Everything else - everything - is smoke and mirrors.

Doug said...

As I have said, should the report finally conclude some misdeeds were actually done and have actual evidence for it, I'll be glad to reverse my position. What I'm asking you is will you do the same?

Well, what you actually said was, and I quote "ACORN Vindicated". Past tense, over and done with, apologies accepted. What you're saying now is you've got an open mind about your position. I appreciate that and I will indeed do the same.

I understand that ACORN has filled a need in many communities and given good help to those who need it. My concern is that they've become more and more political, and for one political party in particular. If there were video of folks from the Salvation Army doing precisely the same thing, the Left, and their lapdogs in the media, would be howling for an investigation of this charity that gets government funds. And I would, while being disappointed with an organization I grew up in, agree with that assessment. Weed out whatever needs weeding.

But the Army has striven to be as non-political as it possibly can, while I believe ACORN has embraced politicization. What the videos did was a) point out a similar problem that indeed existed in half a dozen cities (for starters) and b) thus provide an impetus for a deeper investigation that former employees and board members wanted but were unable to get moving on their own.

ACORN supposedly "disbanded", but in reality is just re-forming which allows the new entity plausible deniability with whatever the GAO and the FBI and HUD come up with against its parent. And with such close ties to Obama and many other Democrats (specifically Democrats; again, this was a highly partisan group), investigation by this Justice Department will be glacial.

John said...

Good for ACORN that it was cleared of financial fraud and mismanagement. The Right should acknowledge this. I am curious why this is a preliminary, rather than summary report, but let's make note that ACORN's reputation should be partially ameliorated.

That said, the prostitution thing is serious, especially given that:

1. Aid was given to the scheme in a majority of the offices in which it was solicited. Not just a few, but most.

2. The full, unedited recordings have been released, and they have not indicated that O'Keefe and Giles misrepresented events.