Special Report

ACORN’s Big Spender

New evidence of White House political director Patrick Gaspard's ties to the radical group.

By 11.6.09

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More proof has emerged of White House political director Patrick Gaspard's ties to the radical advocacy group ACORN.

Gaspard, a longtime operative for ACORN and one of its partisan arms, New York's Working Families Party, currently holds the title of White House political affairs director, the same title Karl Rove held in President Bush's White House.

Internal ACORN documents show that Gaspard gave ACORN $40,000 over the past two years. Specifically, while Gaspard worked as an executive vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 1199 in New York he gave ACORN $15,000 in 2007 and $25,000 in 2008.

That's an awfully large tithe for someone who made $111,894 in 2007 and who has a wife and two children. The $111,894 figure comes from SEIU 1199's most recent publicly available tax return. (If salary and deferred benefits are combined the total is $151,869.)

Moreover, Gaspard hails from New York which has a crushing tax burden, especially for individuals earning six-figure salaries -- and he lived in the upscale neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn. It was unclear at press time if Gaspard's wife contributes to the family fisc.

It is also entirely possible that the $40,000 Gaspard handed over to ACORN was SEIU money.

And in the scheme of things it really doesn't matter whether the lefty lucre belonged to Gaspard or SEIU. What matters is the fact that Gaspard handed over the money to ACORN. This is yet more proof of his closeness to the radical group.

Gaspard was previously revealed to be political director for ACORN's New York operation. Although the source of this information, ACORN founder Wade Rathke, has since feigned senility and claimed he was mistaken, evidence of Gaspard's ties to ACORN remains plentiful, as demonstrated by Stanley Kurtz, Trevor Loudon, Erick Erickson, and Moe Lane.

When I reported Sept. 28 that Gaspard was ACORN's man in the White House, the Obama administration promptly went into damage control mode and reflexively denied the report. Although the White House lied, various gullible reporters accepted the denial at face value, doing little or no research on their own.

Particularly risible was the research done by PolitiFact. Its attempt at debunking the story included information provided by less than credible Alinskyite sources for whom truth is a relative concept: ACORN spokesmen Brian Kettenring and Scott Levenson and disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke who covered up his brother's million-dollar embezzlement from the group for eight years.

Incidentally, one thing that journalists don't get about ACORN, which used to employ President Obama himself, is that it is a strange, complex creature with tentacles that reach into the highest levels of the United States government, the Democratic Party, corporate America, the labor movement, the nonprofit world, the media, foreign governments, and academia.

ACORN has a confusing structure with its network of who-knows-how-many taxpayer-funded tax-exempt nonprofit affiliates. As I've written ad nauseam, this is deliberate. ACORN identifies its affiliates as ACORN affiliates when it is convenient and claims the same entities are not ACORN affiliates when it is not. This game of nonprofit musical chairs is standard operating procedure at ACORN whenever things get hot.

Gaspard previously worked for the Working Families Party, which is an integral part of ACORN's far-flung empire of radical activism -- as is SEIU, although the left-wing union is now trying to distance itself from ACORN. ACORN's chief organizer Bertha Lewis co-founded the Working Families Party. ACORN notes on its website that in 1998 "ACORN members spearhead[ed] formation of the Working Families Party, the first community-labor party with official ballot status in New York state in more than 50 years." ACORN and the party share office space in Brooklyn.

Even though he's working in the White House now, Gaspard can't tear himself away from New York politics. He reportedly helped persuade leftist Republican Dede Scozzafava, who had been endorsed by the Working Families Party in previous elections, to endorse the Democratic candidate in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district after she dropped out of the race. On Tuesday Democrat Bill Owens beat Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.

Given Gaspard's longstanding links to ACORN, it's not at all surprising that Scott Levenson, a lobbyist and spokesman for ACORN, dropped by the White House in March to visit with his former co-worker. The purpose of the meeting was not disclosed.

Levenson is the obnoxious chap Glenn Beck gave the bum's rush to on May 6 for calling the TV host a racist off-camera, a standard calumny ACORN hurls at critics. "You're just afraid of black people," he reportedly said to Beck.

Levenson's been helping to coordinate ACORN's public disinformation strategy which relies heavily on lies and misdirection. Gaspard's brother Michael works alongside Levenson at the Advance Group, ACORN's lobbying and PR shop in New York City.

Internal ACORN documents also revealed that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who heads a congressional subcommittee that may be investigating ACORN in the not-too-distant future, gave ACORN $6,000 in 2008.

Under New York's "fusion" system, ACORN ally Nadler has run on the tickets of both the Democratic Party and of ACORN's Working Families Party.

Not surprisingly, Nadler has been most reluctant to have his House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights, and civil liberties investigate ACORN. He's even been providing advice to ACORN's New York-based lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz on how to defend his favorite activist group.

Another ACORN figure in the news, Peter Colavito, gave $15,000 to ACORN in 2008, according to internal ACORN documents.

Colavito, a former New York ACORN official and a board member of the Working Families Party, is now political director of SEIU Local 32BJ, which was active in the recent gubernatorial race in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Congress has extended the ban on federal funding for ACORN that lapsed at the end of October.

The ban, part of stopgap spending legislation, runs out Dec. 18.The ACORN Institute, a part of ACORN's radical advocacy network, remains eligible for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), despite the protests of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).CFC refers to the Combined Federal Campaign, which bills itself as "the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign." CFC is a federally administered program that channels donations from federal civilian, postal and military employees into causes deemed worthwhile. It is unclear how much money the ACORN network receives through CFC.

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About the Author

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist at a conservative watchdog group in Washington, D.C. Vadum is also author of Subversion Inc: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.