ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis’s recent appearance at the National Press Club was an exercise in denial — and worse.
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The conviction of Nash, a cross-dressing prostitute known by several aliases, is hugely significant for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that ACORN has long maintained that vote fraud, as opposed to the lesser crime of voter registration fraud, essentially .
LIE #2: Lewis claimed ACORN has “500,000 member families.”
ACORN’s own website claims the group has “over 400,000 member families.” Of course, 500,000 is more than 400,000, but you can’t just round up from 400,000. Moreover, ACORN national president Maude Hurd reported in the ACORN entry of Erica Payne’s reference manual for left-wing activists, The Practical Progressive, “more than 400,000 members.”
LIE #3: Lewis deceptively understated her group’s influence in creating the subprime mortgage bubble and argued that ACORN was a voice in the wilderness demanding that banks adhere to sensible underwriting guidelines.
“We had to negotiate with banks, force them — force them — to adhere to the Community Reinvestment Act which said, you needed to make sound loans in these low income neighborhoods, sound loans. I dare say, if some of our biggest financial institution[s] had followed the underwriting guidelines that ACORN put out for sound loans, we would not be in this foreclosure crisis right now.”
Whatever nebulous, perfunctory calls ACORN put out for banks to be financially responsible are outweighed by ACORN’s decades of demands through in-your-face direct-action techniques that banks lend money to homebuyers who had no business trying to buy homes. ACORN has long considered sit-ins at banks and having angry mobs surround bank executives’ homes fair play.
ACORN periodically feigns shock that lenders dare to charge higher interest rates to riskier borrowers as in a 2004 report titled “Separate and Unequal 2004: Predatory Lending in America,” which found that low-income borrowers were “disproportionately plague[d]” by subprime loans.
LIE #4: Lewis claimed ACORN had an “average budget” between “$20 [million] and $25 million a year for everything, all of the offices combined.”
ACORN national president Maude Hurd reported in the ACORN entry of The Practical Progressive that ACORN’s annual budget last year was $50 million. That’s double the figure quoted by Lewis, and even $50 million is probably an understatement.
LIE #5: Lewis claimed that after news of the nearly $1 million embezzlement by the founder’s brother broke last year, ACORN “immediately hired outside professionals, no organizers. We may be brilliant organizers, but we needed real financial professionals, real legal professionals, to come in.”
If ACORN actually hired such people, it has kept evidence of those hirings under wraps. My ACORN sources aren’t aware of such professionals being brought aboard.
Surely Lewis isn’t referring to Elizabeth Kingsley, an attorney with Harmon, Curran, Spielberg Eisenberg LLP, who issued a prophetic legal memo to ACORN on June 19, 2008, the day before ACORN’s national board ousted ACORN founder organizer Wade Rathke.
Spurred on by Kingsley, the national board appointed a panel to investigate the embezzlement and the cover-up to which Lewis herself is a party. When members of the panel, including ACORN 8 founders Marcel Reid and Karen Inman, began demanding to see documents related to the embezzlement, Lewis branded them traitors and threw them off the national board.
LIE #6: In the question-and-answer session following the speech, Lewis pooh-poohed Sen. Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) statement that ACORN appears to be “a shell game perpetrated by the ACORN tax-exempt entities [that] appears to be no different than that conducted by the charities involved in the Jack Abramoff scandal.”
“So again, you know, without a shred of proof, no documentation,” Lewis said. “We have audits. We turn in our paperwork to the proper authority. Again, Senator Grassley’s report was just that — another stretch of allegations of how to pound on ACORN and just paint a picture that, ‘You must be doing that. If you’re getting money, there’s no way that you could keep it separately.’ And it’s just false.”
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