Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Corruption, ACORN & The NYT

Though you wouldn't know it from daily scans of the MSM, the left has, as the WSJ puts it, a "corruption problem." In Congress, Chris Dodd still sits as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. In the House, Charlie Rangel still holds his post as the Chairmen of the Ways and Means Committee. John Murtha, Jim Moran and Peter Visclosk still hold their seats and committee asignments. And is there any need to mention the bevy of tax cheats appointed to positions of power in the Obama administration. The media has gone silent on all of this, but it sure appears that there is a burgeoning culture of corruption going on in the left.

Indeed, Jonah Goldberg goes one further, surveying the facts and charging that the left is "wallowing in corruption." If there is any doubt about that, there is the left's continuing support and public funding for the Association of Community Organizers Now - ACORN - as corrupt an organization as we have seen in American politics since the days of Boss Tweed and "Tammany Hall Machine."

ACORN has played a very malignant roll in our recent history. For example, at Volokh Conspiracy, there are two posts on the origins of the mortgage meltdown at the heart of our current recession. One discusses how laws were changed by the Clinton Administration to force a lowering of lending standards - ostensibly to combat racist lending policies (only they weren't racist). A second post discusses the central roll played by ACORN - and one of their lawyers, Obama - who used these laws, along with claims of racism and intimidation, to force banks to adopt much looser lending standards. Indeed, it is an arguable point that we would not be eyeball deep in recession without the involvement of ACORN.

But though incredibly destructive, the above described acts of ACORN were not illegal. Where ACORN transgresses into corruption and illegality has been in its efforts to insure the election of left wing democrats, including Obama. This has primarily taken two forms - voter fraud and felony collusion in violation of campaign finance laws. As to the former, in 2008, ACORN registered over 1.3 million new voters in 17 states. As of today, they are under investigation and/or have been prosecuted in at least twelve of those states for voter registration fraud.

The second corrupt practice with which ACORN is suspected is collusion with the Obama campaign to approach donors who had already reached the legal limit of their contributions to his campaign. The story is, according to ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief, that the Obama camp supplied ACORN with a donor list for this purpose. If true, this would be a clear violation of campaign finance laws. That is a criminal matter that deserves - but likely will not get - a federal investigation.

But there is another twist. It appears now that, on the eve of the Presidential election, the NYT spiked this story. Michelle Malkin covers it today, as did Powerline the other day. If this is true, and it seems likely, then it is one of the more blatantly unethical acts of a major newspaper in recent history.

Despite blatant corruption, ACORN continues to be protected by the far left in Congress, the left continues to funnel taxpayer money to it, and the Census Bureau has contracted with ACORN to help in the 2010 Census. As to protection, following the story of John Conyers on all of this is instructive. In Oct, 2008, as reported by HuffPo:

In response to news last week that the F.B.I. has launched a secret investigation of alleged voter registration fraud by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now ("ACORN"), John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has issued a hotly worded press release questioning the professionalism of the F.B.I. and questioning whether the investigation is politically motivated.

That was Conyers's knee jerk reaction to an ACORN investigation on the eve of the election. But, as reported by the American Spectator, Conyers in fact held a hearing in March of this year that touched on ACORN, and "after hearing the testimony of GOP lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh about ACORN's many misdeeds, Conyers said the allegations were "a pretty serious matter."' Indeed, so serious were the bill of particulars that Conyer's scheduled hearings to further investigate ACORN's corrupt practices.

Someone on the far left apparently read Conyers the riot act about protecting ACORN because, just recently, Conyers announced that he was cancelling the hearings, stating: "Based on my review of the information regarding the complaints against ACORN, I have concluded that a hearing on this matter appears unwarranted at this time." He did so on the same day that Nevada charged Acorn and two ACORN employees with 39 felony counts relating to to fraud in voter registration. Conyers now refuses to answer questions about his decision to cancel the hearings. The bottom line of all this, the far left are quite content with ACORN's corrupt practices and they are protecting ACORN to the limit of their ability.

That is horrendous, but it pales when one considers that the far left is not only protecting ACORN, but funnelling vast amounts of taxpayer money to it. During his campaign, Obama transferred almost one million dollars to ACORN to fund its voter registration drive on his behalf. But that was from merely donated funds. The real money comes from tax dollars that the far left has been funnelling to ACORN since 1994. Now that Obama is in power, the left are looking at transferring our tax dollars to ACORN on a massive scale. According to the Washington Examiner:

At least $53 million in federal funds have gone to ACORN activists since 1994, and the controversial group could get up to $8.5 billion more tax dollars despite being under investigation for voter registration fraud in a dozen states.

The economic stimulus bill enacted in February contains $3 billion that the non-profit activist group known more formally as the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now could receive, and 2010 federal budget contains another $5.5 billion that could also find its way into the group’s coffers. . . .

Indeed, to make this even more nausea inducing, do note that $3 billion dollars is the same amount of funding that Obama cut from our Missile Defense program. This is nothing more than Obama and the far left in Congress inviting ACORN, with our money, to ramp up its corrupt activities to keep the far left in power.

Likewise is the otherwise unexplainable decision to have the Census Bureau team up with ACORN for the 2010 census. The politicization of the 2010 Census began almost as soon as the Obama administration took office. You will recall that when Obama announced that Republican Senator Judd Gregg would be his first choice for the Secretary of Commerce post, Obama simultaneously transferred control of the US Census from the Commerce Department and put it under the direct control of White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. And one of the first acts of this newly politicized Census Bureau was to sign up ACORN to assist with the 2010 census.

It is critical that the 2010 Census be conducted accurately. The results of that Census will be used to determine the makeup of the House of Representatives as well as, in some cases, the allocation of federal resources and funds. Does anyone believe that this will happen with ACORN involvement? If you do, you need to get it from the horse's mouth - or more specifically, former organizer Greg Hall who, writing at the Washington Examiner, predicts massive fraud in the census by ACORN.

Having said all of that, if you're waiting for the Republican chorus to start harping on this daily to get and keep it in the news, don't hold your breath. The right is doing nowhere near enough on that front, thus allowing Obama and the left a pass - or, if you like, a "get out of jail free" card - while actually exploiting ACORN even more.

A culture of corruption indeed. We may not be hearing anything about it, but the stench is permeating the air.

No comments: