Some defenders of ACORN are blind. Some like Joe Conason are something else again.
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the ACORN Tax & Benefit Access Center and the ACORN Financial Justice Center.
In other words, ACORN was created not to help people, but to get people on welfare in order to bring change to society.
ACORN created a new kind of tax preparation service based on the assumption that Americans have a “right” to welfare. Think of it as H&R Block for subversives. ACORN helps people claim the EITC, a make-believe tax credit that functions more as a welfare benefit. The goal is not primarily to help Americans in need but to pack the welfare rolls in order to expand the size and scope of government. It even strong-armed banks into counting food stamps as income on mortgage applications.
The Cloward-Piven Strategy remains relevant today especially because — in a move that just about nobody noticed — the spectacularly successful Clinton era welfare reforms were erased in language buried deep within the February stimulus package signed into law by President Obama. As Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has documented, federal law has been changed to offer new financial incentives to states to increase their welfare caseloads.
ACORN, with its hundreds of tax-exempt nonprofit affiliates, has always operated on the fringes of the law. It contributed in its own way to the subprime mortgage crisis. Its history of lawbreaking, including poor treatment of its own workers and criminal trespass and squatting aimed at forcibly preventing lawful foreclosures, has been extensively documented.
The undercover videos by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles merely showed Americans what ACORN really is: a crime syndicate.
Meanwhile, Conason presses on, defending a criminal group that has long been essential to Democratic Party electoral victories.
He tries to “dispel some of the wild mythology promoted by right-wing media outlets,” including tales of election fraud and corruption, but he selectively cites only evidence that furthers his deceptive argument.
One of “the most popular canards on the right, repeated constantly by conservative pundits and politicians, is that ACORN has been found guilty of engaging in deliberate voter fraud, using federal funds,” Conason writes. “In reality, ACORN has registered close to 2 million low-income citizens across the country over the past five years — a laudable record with a very low incidence of fraud of any kind.”
In fact, last year more than 400,000 of the 1.3 million voter registrations the group claimed to have collected were thrown out as invalid. ACORN is under indictment in Nevada for conspiracy to commit election fraud and under investigation in Cleveland, Ohio. In Ohio, a person named Darnell Nash was indicted by a grand jury for casting a fraudulent ballot. Nash was registered multiple times by ACORN. ACORN remains under investigation in Cleveland by the local prosecutor, a Democrat.
That’s one heck of a canard.
It is unclear if federal funds were involved in ACORN’s electoral crime spree because ACORN’s finances are so incredibly convoluted. ACORN’s affiliates routinely write each other huge checks, moving money around like a South American drug lord.
In Conason’s view, ACORN is such a wonderful, honest, organization that when its officials discovered cases of voter registration fraud, “they informed the state authorities and turned in the miscreants.” He left out the fact that ACORN officials routinely encourage and turn a blind eye to such fraud and throw their own workers under the bus whenever there’s trouble.
And then there’s the nearly $1 million embezzlement of ACORN funds by Dale Rathke, the founder Wade Rathke’s brother. ACORN never called the police.
The Rathkes and ACORN management covered up the circa 2000 swindle for eight years. It was only revealed by whistleblowers and the news media. Rathke friend Drummond Pike of the Tides Foundation rushed in to pay the remaining debt that had not yet been repaid by the Rathke family. It appears Pike, who is treasurer of George Soros’s Democracy Alliance funders’ group, did so out of his own pocket, in order to keep the identity of donors secret.