Tuesday, 15 September 2009

ACORN Losing Support

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acornIt appears that ACORN's venture into prostitution was deeper than the organization's top officials first thought. Two more videos document amusing sting operations in which ACORN employees offer advice on opening brothels.

Unsurprisingly, this news was not welcome given the fallout after last week's disclosures. On Friday, the Census Bureau, which asked ACORN to help conduct the 2010 census mandated by the Constitution, cut off ties with the group. ACORN's involvement in counting households was a matter of some consternation because of the group's notorious voter-registration fraud. On Monday, the Senate cut off funds for the group from the House and Urban Development department.

Last week, BigGovernment.com posted two videos, each of which featured independent filmmaker James O'Keefe and his assistant, Hanna Giles, who posed as a prostitute, in wide-ranging discussions with ACORN employees about opening brothels. In the first, conducted at ACORN's office in Baltimore, employees advised the pair in detail about lying to the Internal Revenue Service. As well, the employees offered tax advice on how to claim 13 underage Salvadoran girls as tax deductions. The pair told the ACORN employees the Salvadorans would be used as prostitutes. After the video surfaced, ACORN complained about, it but fired those employees. The employees may face criminal charges.

The second, posted on Friday, featured a similar sting in Washington, D.C., which prompted ACORN to fire two more employees. After the second video appeared, ACORN's Bertha Lewis said the videotapes are fraudulent and threatened to sue Fox News for airing the sting, calling the sting a crime: "A crime it was — our lawyers believe a felony — and we will be taking legal action against Fox and their co-conspirators."

Lewis claimed a similar string operation in Brooklyn, N.Y., failed. It didn't. O'Keefe and Giles conducted the same operation. ACORN employees there explained to O'Keefe and Giles, the latter posing as the prostitute "Eden," how to procure subsidized housing for a prostitution venture without getting caught.

"She's gonna have this business in the house with a bunch of girls coming and doing these things, you know, performing tricks and she's gonna give me the money so I can pay the mortgage," O'Keefe said. "That's how we want to work it potentially. But no one has to know where the money is coming from."

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"No," the employee replied. "You know, what goes on in the house, we don't care.... We just help you with the mortgage." As well, another employee advised, "Don't get caught. Cause it's against the law what you're doing, and there's a chance you'll get caught." As well, she says, "Honesty is not going to get you the house."

Piling these revelations on top of ACORN's widely known penchant for voter-registration fraud that is national in scope did nothing for the group's reputation, even though its good friend in Congress, Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, has refused to investigate it.

Still, House Republicans have moved to end all federal funding for the group. And, again, the Senate voted 83-7 to cut off funding for ACORN.

In New York, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office is investigating, but not Fox and not for a felony. ACORN is the target.

In Baltimore, the city attorney is considering charges against O'Keefe and Giles. Apparently, Maryland law prohibits secret videotaping.