Special Report

ACORN Endorses Obama

The nonpartisan group that always seems to support Democrats.

By 11.4.08

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The embattled left-wing activist group ACORN prides itself on being a strictly nonpartisan group of idealistic community organizers but its in-your-face actions belie its words.

To protect the 501(c)(3) tax status of some of its affiliates ACORN loudly claims to be community-oriented and officially nonpartisan. But it celebrates the most left-wing urban politicians and endorses Democratic Party candidates. If it's ever endorsed a Republican, that endorsement is well-hidden. (See Foundation Watch, November 2008.)

Let's look at just a few examples of the evidence of the group's partisan proclivities that is piling up on Mount Democrat.

The most dramatic recent example of ACORN's deeply partisan bent came Oct. 22 when the group's interim chief organizer, Bertha Lewis, appeared in a YouTube video in front of a banner reading "Working Families Party: Fighting for Jobs and Justice." (The Working Families Party, a minor New York party, is of course an ACORN affiliate, one of more than 100 throughout the nation.)

An impassioned Lewis said:

I want to thank everyone out there for defending ACORN against the scurrilous right-wing attacks and smears. That'll teach them to attack a community organizer. [...] Look, when organizers get attacked we do what we do best: we organize and we vote. And if you live in New York there's one more simple thing you can all do to help ACORN: vote for the community organizer Barack Obama on the Working Families Party ballot line. [...] Voting for Barack is good but voting for him on the Working Families Party line is better. Vote change like you mean it, people. Don't get lost in the Democratic sauce. [...]

This plea to voters should eliminate any doubts that the most diehard benefit-of-the-doubt-giving ACORN supporters may have been harboring that ACORN's voter-registration and get-out-the-vote drives are aimed at getting conservatives and Republicans to the polls.

I can just picture new millionaires being created in the legal firmament as attorneys fill man-years of billable hours arguing about whether Lewis was speaking for ACORN (registered in Arkansas and Louisiana), ACORN Inc. (which shares its New Orleans address with 300 other groups), ACORN the political action committee (which formally endorsed Obama), ACORN the fictitious business name, the Working Families Party, or on behalf of the whole ACORN network? Perhaps ACORN's legal eagles will say she was speaking on behalf of ACORN the union of squirrel trainers or ACORN the Association of California Onion Ranchers in Napa.

White shoe law firms will rise or fall if they use contingent-fee arrangements while debating Lewis's statement and its ramifications, niceties, and interstices at the intersection of nonprofit, campaign finance, and elections law.

In today's ferociously partisan environment, ACORN thrives on the confusion and uses it as a smokescreen to get away with stunts that other tax-exempt groups wouldn't dream of. Accuse ACORN of corruption and you're vilified as a vote-suppressing, racist, top hat-wearing McCarthyite who beats his transgendered, differently-abled, minority, illegal alien help.

Below are a few more examples of ACORN's 100% record in backing Democrats.

When ACORN's Jerry Kellman was asked months ago if the officially nonpartisan ACORN had assisted Barack Obama's presidential campaign in any way, he replied that its 501(c)(3) status prevented ACORN from helping as an organization, but that "lots of grassroots members" were assisting. Kellman hired Obama in 1985 to run an effort called the Developing Communities Project. (Foundation Watch, June 2008)

In February, ACORN Votes, which is the group's national political action committee, endorsed Obama for president. ACORN's senior officials lavished praise on the Democratic candidate. Maude Hurd, ACORN's national president, said the senator "is the candidate who best understands and can affect change on the issues ACORN cares about like stopping foreclosures, enacting fair and comprehensive immigration reform, and building stronger and safer communities across America."

Obama understands the issues facing low- and moderate-income people, said Alicia Russell, ACORN's western regional representative. "He's on the same level as we are, and sees our issues as we do." Texas ACORN president Toni McElroy lauded Obama, embracing his call for "fundamental change in our economy to protect homeowners and neighborhoods from the scourge of foreclosures that is sweeping communities across Texas."

ACORN's California branch endorsed Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) when he sought the 2004 presidential nomination. This year Minnesota ACORN endorsed Democrat Al Franken in his 2008 U.S. Senate campaign against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. ACORN endorsed Democrat Kweisi Mfume in his unsuccessful 2006 primary run in Maryland for the U.S. Senate, and ACORN's PAC endorsed Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pennsylvania) when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Philadelphia against Michael Nutter in 2007. ACORN's 2005 annual report identifies as allies Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villagairosa, a Democrat, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California).

Another recent YouTube video by ACORN didn't even bother to show a single Republican lawmaker. The video called "ACORN Grassroots Democracy Campaign,"  showcases a parade of Capitol Hill Democrats as its allies, including strategist Paul Begala, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pennsylvania), and Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Donna Edwards (D-Maryland), Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), and Brad Miller (D-North Carolina).

The socialist New Party, a now-defunct party that served as ACORN's electoral arm, endorsed Obama, who was one of its members, when he ran for the Illinois state senate in 1996.

Does anyone anywhere need any more proof?

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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.