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Can ACORN Survive the Storm?

ACORN, short for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, began in Little Rock, Ak., in 1970 as the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Founded by community organizer Wade Rathke, ACORN’s goal was to merge the interests of the economically disenfranchised, from those on welfare to the common working man, regardless of race. The association quickly went national with a mission so potent and focused that a number of schools are branded with its name, two radio stations are affiliated with the organization and it even has close personal ties with the president of the United States.

Oh right, and how could I forget, its also the new talk of the town for a video featuring a couple dressed as a prostitute and her pimp, and if you thought that was their biggest problem, then you would be sadly mistaken.

The organization had been praised for it’s community involvement and has been called a valuable public resource by federal, state and local governments.

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However, it still has had nearly $1 million embezzled by its founder’s brother, who is supposedly linked with SEIU, a rather large labor union, also with strong ties to the president.

Dale Rathke stole around $950,000 from the organization in between 1999 and 2000. It wasn’t reported to law enforcement, but an anonymous donor compensated ACORN for the missing money. The openly Democratic group has also seen its employees accused of voter registration fraud time and time again.

As if ACORN volunteers signing up a cartoon, Mickey Mouse, to vote did not give ACORN enough bad press, the new videos appearing on the Internet and TV news showing ACORN employees in Brooklyn, NY, advising “a prostitute and pimp” to lie to get housing aid, counseling the pair on tax, banking and immigration issues, all of which sound harmless until the illegality of their specific cases seemed to leak through.

James O’Keefe, the lead filmmaker in the ACORN tapes, said he went after ACORN because it registers minorities who are likely to vote against Republicans. “Politicians are getting elected single-handedly due to this organization,” claims O’Keefe. “No one was holding this organization accountable.”

The group is confident it can ride out its troubles. Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s chief executive pledged to do whatever is necessary “to re-establish the public trust.”

She spoke out against the actions of the two employees who appeared in the Brooklyn footage, but ACORN still believes that segments of the video were cut to make ACORN look bad. “We understand that the Republican Party is upset, and the right wing is upset because they are out of power now,” Lewis said.

Many Democrats used to advertise their ACORN connections. Now, however, the Senate majority has voted to cut off ACORN’s grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the House majority doesn’t want it to get any federal money, period.

“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career,” Obama told ACORN leaders in 2007, according to a posting on Obama’s campaign site.

My question to you is, does corruption of community and your tax dollars, i.e. ACORN, go hand-in-hand with the corruption of your country and your tax dollars, i.e. the Obama administration?