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ACORN at the White House

President Obama's claim he's been barely aware of ACORN's activities just got harder to sustain.

By 11.2.09

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The newly released list of visitors to the Obama White House makes the president's claim he's clueless about his former employer ACORN -- and its election fraud trials and tribulations -- especially difficult to believe.

Of particular significance is the visit by ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson who met with White House political director Patrick Gaspard in March. The purpose of the meeting with Gaspard, a former ACORN employee himself, was not disclosed.

Levenson, who is also a registered lobbyist for New York ACORN, is the charming fellow whom Glenn Beck threw off his set May 6 for calling the TV host a racist. He's been helping to coordinate ACORN's public disinformation strategy which relies heavily on lies and misdirection.

It is worth noting that Levenson's visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wouldn't in itself be untoward except that Obama claims -- unconvincingly -- to be out of the loop regarding ACORN.

After the undercover prostitution sting videos first surfaced in September the American public began to realize that ACORN is a vast criminal conspiracy whose reach extends to the highest levels of the U.S. government. Obama said at the time he was barely aware of ACORN's problems. "This is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

After the undercover prostitution sting videos surfaced in September, Levenson helped to spread ACORN's official lie that the videos had been dishonestly altered to make law-abiding ACORN employees seem willing to facilitate criminal behavior. Almost two weeks ago after the latest video from ACORN's Philadelphia office debuted, Levenson tried to change the subject by blaming Fox News for carrying on a vendetta against his poor, persecuted radical group.

"This is another example of Fox Entertainment treating concocted video as if it's actually news," Levenson said, echoing the Obama administration's current line that Fox News isn't real journalism.

Gaspard, who came to the White House after a stint as executive vice president of SEIU Local 1199, has ties to ACORN that go way back.

Years before he joined the Obama administration, Gaspard was ACORN boss Bertha Lewis's political director in New York. Current "chief organizer" or CEO of ACORN, Lewis was head of New York ACORN before she took over as national leader of ACORN. (Erick Erickson of the website RedState did an excellent job explaining the relationship of Gaspard to Lewis and President Obama.)

Gaspard also worked for New York's Working Families Party, which is an appendage of ACORN. Lewis is a co-founder of that party -- which endorsed Obama last year -- and has close ties to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) who has been most reluctant to have the House Judiciary subcommittee he chairs investigate ACORN.

Nadler is even providing advice to ACORN through its lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz but he refuses to address this huge conflict of interest. The congressman's press office won't return my calls.

Now that ACORN is public relations poison, the White House and ACORN deny Gaspard ever worked for ACORN even though his employment was acknowledged by no less an authority than ACORN founder Wade Rathke himself. Pretending to be a senile old man, Rathke now says he was mistaken about Gaspard working for ACORN. Only some Democrats and a few gullible journalists believe him.

It's always been easy for ACORN to disavow ties to someone working for an affiliate within the ACORN network. ACORN has a confusing structure and 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.

MEANWHILE, A PARADE of leftists, Big Government capitalists, and favor seekers were shown to have visited the White House, according to the data dump executed by the Obama administration on Friday.

All these luminaries dropped by the executive mansion between Jan. 20 and Sept. 15: Al Gore; Center for American Progress president John Podesta (17 times!); Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards; AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka (7 times); National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy (15 times!); Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton; Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson visited card-carrying socialist climate change czarina Carol Browner at the White House on Feb. 12 for an undisclosed purpose.

Andy Stern, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), visited the White House 20 times. As Stephen Spruiell notes at NRO, "Stern has openly bragged about the SEIU's $61 million investment in Barack Obama. It certainly bought him a lot of access."

SEIU has strong, longstanding ties to ACORN but has recently tried to distance itself from the group.

Two of ACORN's most important financial backers also visited the White House.

Radical billionaire George Soros, who funds ACORN through his Open Society Institute, visited the White House four times this year.

Soros acolyte Gara LaMarche, president of the Atlantic Philanthropies, dropped by the executive mansion twice. LaMarche's Bermuda-based charity has pumped $25 million into an ACORN front group called Health Care for America Now (HCAN) that is pushing for socialist healthcare.

A post on LaMarche's blog dated Sept. 18, which is after the first round of ACORN undercover sting videos were released, suggests he doesn't give a farthing's cuss about ACORN corruption and criminality.

The attacks on ACORN are part of "a deliberate and sustained strategy to hobble a political movement to improve the lives of poor and working people at a moment when it has finally gained some larger public traction," wrote LaMarche, formerly vice president and director of U.S. Programs at Soros's Open Society Institute.

The Obama administration probably feels the same way, but it doesn't have the cojones to admit it.

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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.