THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMACORN

September 17, 2009

They thought it would go away.  They saw FOX's reports and Glenn Beck's investigative crew as merely a "bump in the road."  They were wrong!

Obama and the Left thought ACORN's scandalous racket was a dead issue. But whistleblowers, investigative bloggers, and talk radio continue to press for transparency and taxpayer accountability. Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King has renewed efforts for congressional hearings into the financial structure of the massive, publicly subsidized activist group and its non-profit affiliates. Judicial Watch sheds light on ACORN's partnership with the Census.

In her column yesterday, Michelle Malkin noted that undercover journalism is only acceptable when it fits a liberal agenda. That is the message from "professional" reporters and left-wing activists outraged about three successful video stings targeting President Obama's old friends at the left-wing tax-subsidized outfit ACORN. 

The far left has stated over and over again that that Barack Obama "never organized with ACORN" and that ACORN had nothing to do with Project Vote.  The fact of the matter is that they are joined at the hip!  Consider these facts:

While most press accounts imply that Obama just happened to be at the sort of public-interest law firm that would take ACORN's "motor voter" case, Toni Foulkes, claims that ACORN specifically sought out Obama's representation in the motor voter case, remembering Obama from the days when he worked with Talbot.  Foulkes authored an article in the journal Social Policy entitled "Case Study: Chicago — The Barack Obama Campaign," in which she noted that there were many reports which speak of Obama's post-law school role organizing "Project VOTE" in 1992. But Foulkes makes it clear that this project was undertaken in direct partnership with ACORN. Foulkes then stresses Obama's yearly service as a key figure in ACORN's leadership-training seminars.

At least a few news reports have briefly mentioned Obama's role in training ACORN's leaders, but none that I know of have said what Foulkes reports next: that Obama's long service with ACORN led many members to serve as the volunteer shock troops of Obama's early political campaigns — his initial 1996 State Senate campaign, and his failed bid for Congress in 2000 (Foulkes confuses the dates of these two campaigns.) With Obama having personally helped train a new cadre of Chicago ACORN leaders, by the time of Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama and ACORN were "old friends," says Foulkes.

So along with the reservoir of political support that came to Obama through his close ties with Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, and other Chicago black churches, Chicago ACORN appears to have played a major role in Obama's political advance. Sure enough, a bit of digging into Obama's years in the Illinois State Senate indicates strong concern with ACORN's signature issues, as well as meetings with ACORN and the introduction by Obama of ACORN-friendly legislation on the living wage and banking practices. You begin to wonder whether, in his Springfield days, Obama might have best been characterized as "the Senator from ACORN."

Although it's been noted in an important story by John Fund, and in a long Obama background piece in the New York Times, more attention needs to be paid to possible links between Obama and ACORN during the period of Obama's service on the boards of two charitable foundations, the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation.

According to the New York Times, Obama's memberships on those foundation boards, "allowed him to help direct tens of millions of dollars in grants" to various liberal organizations, including Chicago ACORN, "whose endorsement Obama sought and won in his State Senate race." As best as I can tell (and this needs to be checked out more fully), ACORN maintains both political and "non-partisan" arms. Obama not only sought and received the endorsement of ACORN's political arm in his local campaigns, he recently accepted ACORN's endorsement for the presidency, in pursuit of which he reminded ACORN officials of his long-standing ties to the group.

Supposedly, ACORN's political arm is segregated from its "non-partisan" registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, but after reading Foulkes' case study, this non-partisanship is exceedingly difficult to discern. As I understand, it would be illegal for Obama to sit on a foundation board and direct money to an organization that openly served as his key get-out-the-vote volunteers on Election Day. I'm not saying Obama crossed a legal line here: Based on Foulkes' account, ACORN's get-out-the-vote drive most likely observed the technicalities of "non-partisanship."

Nevertheless, the possibilities suggested by a combined reading of the New York Times piece and the Foulkes article are disturbing. While keeping within the technicalities of the law, Obama may have been able to direct substantial foundation money to his organized political supporters. I offer no settled conclusion, but the matter certainly warrants further investigation and discussion. Obama is supposed to be the man who transcends partisanship. Has he instead used his post at an allegedly non-partisan foundation to direct money to a supposedly non-partisan group, in pursuit of what are in fact nakedly partisan and personal ends? I have no final answer, but the question needs to be pursued further.

In fact, the broader set of practices by which activist groups pursue intensely partisan ends under the guise of non-partisanship merits further scrutiny. Consider the 2006 report by Jonathan Bechtle, "Voter Turnout or Voter Fraud?" which includes a discussion of the nexus between Project Vote and ACORN, a nexus where Obama himself once resided. According to Bechtle, "It's clear that groups that claimed to be nonpartisan wanted a partisan outcome," and reading Foulkes's case study of ACORN's role in Obama's U.S. Senate campaign, one can't help but agree.

Important as these questions of funding and partisanship are, the larger point is that Obama's ties to ACORN — arguably the most politically radical large-scale activist group in the country — are wide, deep, and longstanding. If ACORN is adept at creating a non-partisan, inside-game veneer for what is in fact an intensely radical, leftist, and politically partisan reality, so is Obama himself. This is hardly a coincidence: Obama helped train ACORN's leaders in how to play this game. For the most part, Obama seems to have favored the political-insider strategy, yet it's clear that he knew how to play the in-your-face "direct action" game as well. And surely during his many years of close association with ACORN, Obama had to know what the group was all about.

The shame of it is that when the L. A. Times returned to Obama's stomping grounds, it found the park he'd helped renovate reclaimed by drug dealers and thugs. The community organizer strategy may generate feel-good moments and best-selling books, but I suspect a Wal-Mart as the seed-bed of a larger shopping complex would have done far more to save the neighborhood where Obama worked to organize in the "progressive" fashion. Unfortunately, Obama's ACORN cronies have blocked that solution.

In any case, if you're looking for the piece of the puzzle that confirms and explains Obama's network of radical ties, gather your Acorns this fall. Or next spring, you may just be left watching the "President from ACORN" at his feast.

Also, we all need to keep an eye on ACORN's propaganda role in the Obama push for a government health care takeover.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.