Getting out the vote has never been such a racket.
When Sir Walter Scott wrote in 1808, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive,” he wasn’t writing about ACORN, but he might as well have been.
In 2008, the activities of the radical, corrupt left-wing Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has tangled itself up in an infinitely complex web of deceit, thuggery, and questionable financial dealings, is long overdue for a RICO probe.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act,
which was created to prosecute organized crime, allows the
federal government to go after individuals who commit any two
RICO-related crimes over a decade. The law allows courts to
convict persons if it can be shown that they committed those
crimes as part of an illegal enterprise and can order
disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains from the enterprise.
The Ohio-based Buckeye Institute isn’t waiting for the feds to act. It filed a civil action under a state racketeering law, arguing ACORN has engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity that amounts to organized crime. It seeks ACORN’s dissolution as a legal entity, the revocation of any licenses it holds in Ohio, and an injunction against fraudulent voter registration and other illegal activities.
The Buckeye Institute said in a press release that the suit, filed on behalf of two voters, alleges that “ACORN’s actions deprive them of the right to participate in an honest and effective elections process.” The voters “allege fraudulent voter registrations submitted by ACORN dilute the votes of legally registered voters.”
The suit also alleges that ACORN’s voter-mobilization arm, Project Vote, “regularly advises Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner on election strategy, even recently issuing a news release that claims credit for Brunner’s directive restricting challenges to suspected fraudulent voter registrations.”
Brunner, a Democrat, has declined to enforce the provisions of the Help America Vote Act that requires her to use a database to allow the verification of 600,000-plus registrations from new Ohio voters. Brunner admits there are “discrepancies” on about 200,000 of the new registrations, but won’t give local election officials the registration data they need to verify the validity of the registrations.
It’s a recipe for disaster, but that’s exactly the way her allies at ACORN like it.
That’s because ACORN thrives on confusion. Its nebulous legal status and opaque corporate structure allow it to keep its activities largely hidden from public view.
The social justice entrepreneurs of ACORN sit on the boards of ACORN and of ACORN affiliates.
These “interlocking directorates” create an appearance of conflict of interest. Such arrangements may be widespread and lawful, but they always raise legitimate questions about the quality and independence of board decision-making. The ACORN network claims to be a “family” of organizations embodying the ethos of community organizing, which stresses local action and decentralized authority.
In fact, ACORN is tightly controlled from the top. One intrepid blogger discovered that 294 ACORN affiliates operate out of ACORN’s building on Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.
ACORN’s many affiliates have extraordinarily sophisticated financial arrangements that are largely hidden from public view. ACORN uses its system of interlocking boards of directors to oversee its affiliates and make financial mischief.
As Jim Terry of the Consumers Rights League has noted, “ACORN has a long and sordid history of employing convoluted Enron-style accounting to illegally use taxpayer funds for their own political gain.”
Look at a person named Donna Pharr. Pharr sits on the boards of at least 22 ACORN affiliates. She’s also deputy treasurer of the Minnesota ACORN Political Action Committee and is listed by Michigan as the contact person for Communities Voting Together, a “527” pressure group.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?