Remember the "When E F. Hutton speaks, people listen" commercial? When Ms. MonCrief speaks or writes about ACORN, we should listen or read carefully and demand the truth.
The 2008 presidential election is over, but the battle between ACORN idealists and the ACORN control group is not and the whole truth about ACORN is still not public knowledge.
Surely the people still controlling ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) deeply regret that ACORN ever enticed an idealistic, young, black, female with exceptional computer skills named Anita MonCrief to relocate from Alabama to the District of Columbia to do ACORN work.
The day before last Halloween, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund called attention to Ms. MonCrief in an article titled "An ACORN Whistleblower Testifies in Court" and subtitled "The group's ties to Obama are extensive."
The article was NOT a treat for the ACORN insiders.
Ms. MonCrief was the ACORN whistleblower who had testified in court.
Mr. Fund reported: "...yesterday, a former employee of Acorn testified in a Pennsylvania state court that the group's quality-control efforts were 'minimal or nonexistent' and largely window dressing. Anita MonCrief also says that Acorn was given lists of potential donors by several Democratic presidential campaigns, including that of Barack Obama, to troll for contributions."
Mr. Fund then pointed out that now President-Elect Obama had been campaigning on a false claim.
"The Obama campaign denies it 'has any ties' to Acorn, but Mr. Obama's ties are extensive. In 1992 he headed a registration effort for Project Vote, an Acorn partner at the time. He did so well that he was made a top trainer for Acorn's Chicago conferences. In 1995, he represented Acorn in a key case upholding the constitutionality of the new Motor Voter Act -- the first law passed by the Clinton administration -- which created the mandated, nationwide postcard voter registration system that Acorn workers are using to flood election offices with bogus registrations.
"Ms. MonCrief testified that in November 2007 Project Vote development director Karyn Gillette told her she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and had obtained their donor lists. Ms. MonCrief also testified she was given a spreadsheet to use in cultivating Obama donors who had maxed out on donations to the candidate, but who could contribute to voter registration efforts. Project Vote calls the allegation 'absolutely false.'
"[Ms. MonCrief] says that when she had trouble with what appeared to be duplicate names on the list, Ms. Gillette told her she would talk with the Obama campaign and get a better version. Ms. MonCrief has given me copies of the donor lists she says were obtained from other Democratic campaigns, as well as the 2004 DNC donor lists.
"In her testimony, Ms. MonCrief says she was upset by Acorn's 'Muscle for Money' program, which she said intimidated businesses Acorn opposed into paying 'protection' money in the form of grants...."
The election is over, the presidential candidate for whom Ms. MonCrief voted won, and Ms. MonCrief is still idealistic and still upset with ACORN's sinister machinations.
No longer torn between her desires to see now President-Elect Obama elected and to share the whole truth about ACORN with the public, Ms. MonCrief is revealing more.
On December 1, 2008, Ms. MonCrief posted her first article since the day after the election, titled "The Great ACORN Bank Heist: Part Two."
Those running ACORN and their allies cannot be pleased.
"While most of America was preparing for Thanksgiving and contemplating an Obama administration, ACORN and SEIU [Service Employees International Union] were once again planning a way to rob America's banks. Of course, they could not go in the front door-guns drawn- so they devised a particular strategy that has always worked well in the past.
"The headline on ACORN's webpage read 'ACORN to Present "Turkey of the Year 2008" Awards to Foreclosure Forces Preventing the Change We Need ' and the article below it detailed that:
'ACORN chapters across the country will stage events on Tuesday, Nov. 25, presenting ACORN "Turkey of the Year 2008" awards to companies and politicians whose inaction is preventing the kind of serious, structural changes needed to solve the enormous foreclosure crisis we face.'
"What the article failed to mention is that this so called protest was actually a shakedown engineered by SEIU. During the 2006-2007 cycle SEIU has given ACORN over 54 million dollars and in an November 12th email a representative of SEIU wrote ACORN the following:
'Hopefully you’ve come down a little bit from the election of President-elect Obama to focus and get work done. I’m just starting to be able to!
'We are starting to think about what possibilities there are in organizing bank workers, since the banking industry is now being infused with billions of taxpayer dollars. We need to get a handle on who these workers are, working conditions, etc.
'Do you have ACORN members who work for banks or Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae? Is there anyway you could check?
'The banks we’re most concerned about are:
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Chevy Chase/B.F. Saul, BB&T, SunTrust, Bank of America/Countrywide, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, PNC, Bank/National City, Citigroup
'Please let me know and if you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
"Since ACORN and SEIU operate as the same organization in some states, these type of tactics are not surprising. Here is a copy of the ACORN/SEIU draft agreement from 2004.
"SEIU and ACORN want to form a partnership to help family providers of childcare to establish collective bargaining vehicle for childcare workers. SEIU will be the union for childcare workers and ACORN the community organization.
". 1. SEIU will pay ACORN: 97,800 for lost dues, 368,000 for initial investment, 465,800 total
"ACORN will conduct an affiliation vote with the members and do whatever is necessary to transfer the members and membership dues to SEIU. A transition plan and timeline for the transfer of members will be agreed to in the state planning meetings.
"A transition process will be agreed to which includes state meetings attended by SEIU and ACORN to plan a joint approach to member signups, transfer of members and dues, and community and political organizing. In some cases, ACORN will continue to assist in organizing new family provider members. ACORN will support the family provider organizing through community organizing strategies and helping to build the political support for the collective bargaining vehicle. Whatever joint plans are developed will beappropriately resourced.
"As SEIU and ACORN develop joint plans, the appropriate resources will be negotiated to open new states and cities, which may include San Diego and other cities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts as well as other states.
"When there is a collective bargaining vehicle established, the local representing the child care members will pay ACORN an annual affiliation rate.
"I testified about ACORN's Muscle for the Money program and the bank protests are classic ACORN fundraising tactics. ACORN has always been for hire and during my tenure I saw ACORN go after the Carlyle group at the behest of SEIU (I do have proof of this transaction) because the Carlyle group refused to hire union workers. ACORN's objectives were to intimidate, threaten and the exhort money from the group. Andy Stern and SEIU's mob-like tactics were ignored because the dirty work was being done by low income protesters.
"Moreover, ACORN's history with the banks dates back decades and began with ACORN abusing the provisions of the CRA. Stanley Kurtz in his National Review Online article Planting Seeds of Disaster ACORN, Barack Obama, and the Democratic party explains the process:
'At first, ACORN’s anti-bank actions were relatively few in number. However, under a provision of the 1989 savings and loan bailout pushed by liberal Democratic legislators, like Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy, lenders were required to compile public records of mortgage applicants by race, gender, and income. Although the statistics produced by these studies were presented in highly misleading ways, groups like ACORN were able to use them to embarrass banks into lowering credit standards. At the same time, a wave of banking mergers in the early 1990's provided an opening for ACORN to use CRA to force lending changes. Any merger could be blocked under CRA, and once ACORN began systematically filing protests over minority lending...'
"ACORN's own archives describe the process as:
'The ACORN convention in New York in 1992, the "ACORN-Bank Summit," was organized to hammer out deals with giant banks like Continental, First Fidelity, Mellon, PriMerit, and Chemical. Representatives signed agreements to establish programs for low- and moderate- income people to qualify for mortgages in their communities. Citibank, the nation's largest bank, did not participate. In response, the conventioneers held a lively action at Citibank's downtown Manhattan headquarters, and won a meeting to negotiate for similar programs. The meeting also led to increased Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac funding from the secondary mortgage market to ACORN neighborhoods. These efforts led to billions of dollars of primary and secondary mortgage money flowing into ACORN communities over a period of several years.”
"Once again, the ACORN website failed to mention that according the the Capital Research Center, ACORN also became the recipient of sizable donations from organizations like:
JPMorgan Chase Foundation ($5,007,500 plus at least $300,000 to separate state-level ACORN-affiliated housing nonprofits), Bank of America Charitable Foundation Inc. ($1,405,000), US Bancorp Foundation ($285,000, plus $470,000 to ACORN Housing Corp. of Illinois), PNC Foundation ($95,000), Wachovia Foundation ($5,000), Provident Bank Foundation Inc. ($5,000 to 'New Jersey ACORN')
"ACORN has an interesting habit of going after the enemies of their coalition partners. For example ACORN formed a partnership with Bank of America in 1990 and has seemingly attacked Bank of America's competitors including Countrywide, which was acquired by Bank of America this year.
"On the other side of the coin are the unlikely alliances formed after ACORN strikes a deal with a former adversary. Such was the case with H&R Block. ACORN sent protesters out into the streets against H&R Blocks practices and this year after several generous donations by H&R block ACORN will utilize H&R Block's extensive tax preparation resources at their tax sites. Is this social change or muscling out the competition?
"ACORN has made other famous shady deals and alliances such as the Atlantic Yards debacle in NYC. This agreement orchestrated by new Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis called for Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner to promise that his $3.5-billion arena and residential project would be linked to 600-1,000 below-market-rate condo units. However, community members and leaders cried foul at this deal because of the enormous benefit to ACORN and what some say is the 'ghettoization of Brooklyn'.
"What is really intriguing about this whole Atlantic Yards mess is that Forest City Ratner has begun layoffs while at the same time bailing out their old friends Bertha Lewis and ACORN. I wonder if those unemployed workers know about the $1.5 Million bailout loan to ACORN by the company. At the East Regional Meeting in August of this year, ACORN leadership stated that
'Big NY ally Forest City Ratner agreed to loan us $1M at 2% and grant us $500k to pay back health fund and to use for other transition costs. Board will decide how much to allocate to IRS payment and how much to allocate to lawyers.'
"ACORN must be stopped, it is not okay to use the mortgage crisis and government bailouts as an excuse to extort money from banks. The banks themselves must be willing to stand up and tell ACORN that they will not pay them off this time and will report any offers for a side deal to the Justice Department. Also, it might be time for the Department of Labor to look into some of SEIU's activities regarding their association with ACORN."
Note: SEIU President Stern has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of Labor in the Obama administration.
Perhaps he should be investigated rather than investigating.
Mr. Fund on Ms. MonCrief and her disillusionment with ACORN:
"Ms. MonCrief, 29, never expected to testify in a case brought by the state's Republican Party seeking the local Acorn affiliate's voter registration lists. An idealistic graduate of the University of Alabama, she joined Project Vote in 2005 because she thought it was empowering poor people. A strategic consultant for Acorn and a development associate with its Project Vote voter registration affiliate, Ms. MonCrief sat in on policy-making meetings with the national staff. She was fired early this year over personal expenses she had put on the group's credit card.
"She says she became disillusioned because she saw that Acorn was run as the personal fiefdom of Wade Rathke, who founded the group in 1970 and ran it until he stepped down to take over its international operations this summer. Mr. Rathke's departure as head of Acorn came after revelations he'd employed his brother Dale for a decade while keeping from almost all of Acorn's board members the fact that Dale had embezzled over $1 million from the group a decade ago. (The embezzlement was confirmed to me by an Acorn official.)
"'Anyone who questioned what was going on was viewed as the enemy,' Ms. MonCrief told me. 'Just like the mob, no one leaves Acorn happily.' She believes the organization does some good but hopes its current leadership is replaced. She may not be alone.
"Last August two of Acorn's eight dissident board members, Marcel Reed and Karen Inman, filed suit demanding access to financial records of Citizens Consulting Inc., the umbrella group through which most of Acorn's money flows. Ms. Inman told a news conference this month Mr. Rathke still exercises power over CCI and Acorn against the board's wishes. Bertha Lewis, the interim head of Acorn, told me Mr. Rathke has no ties to Acorn and that the dissident board members were 'obsessed' and 'confused.'"
What really went on between ACORN and the Obama campaign this year?
Much more than is yet generally appreciated.
"...this spring, CCI was paid $832,000 by the Obama campaign for get-out-the-vote efforts in key primary states. In filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Obama campaign listed the payments as 'staging, sound, lighting,' only correcting the filings after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review revealed their true nature.
"'Acorn needs a full forensic audit,' Ms. MonCrief says, though she doesn't think that's likely. 'Everyone wants to paper things over until later,' she says. 'But it may be too late to reform Acorn then."'She strongly supports Barack Obama and hopes his allies can be helpful in cleaning up the group 'after the heat of the election is gone.'
"Acorn's Mr. Kettering says the GOP lawsuit 'is designed to suppress legitimate voters,' and he says Ms. MonCrief isn't credible, given that she was fired for cause. Ms. MonCrief admits that she left after she began paying back some $3,000 in personal expenses she charged on an Acorn credit card. 'I was very sorry, and I was paying it back,' she says, but 'suddenly Acorn decided that . . . I had to go. Since then I have gotten warnings to "back off" from people at Acorn.'"
But brave Ms. MonCrief is not "backing off" and she was (and perhaps still is) in a position to know what was (and is) going on inside ACORN.
Mr. Fund further reported: "Ms. MonCrief says it is longstanding practice to blame bogus registrations on lower-level employees who then often face criminal charges, a practice she says Acorn internally calls 'throwing folks under the bus.'"
Mr. Fund concluded his article:
"Gregory Hall, a former Acorn employee, says he was told on his very first day in 2006 to engage in deceptive fund-raising tactics. Mr. Hall has founded a group called Speaking Truth to Power to push for a full airing of Acorn's problems 'so the group can heal itself from within.'
"To date, Mr. Obama has declined to criticize Acorn, telling reporters this month he is happy with his own get-out-the-vote efforts and that 'we don't need Acorn's help.' That may be true. But there is no denying his ties with Acorn helped turbocharge his political career."
There's much more than needs to be told.
Ms. MonCrief was a source for New York Times reporting on ACORN this year, but, predictably, the whole story was not deemed fit to print and still remains and needs to be told.
Tragically, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gave millions of dollars to ACORN before the New York Times finally reported the Rathke embezzlement and cover up and contributions were suspended.
The USCCB pleaded prior ignorance of any significant ACORN wrongdoing, but even assuming such ignorance, whether that ignorance was excusable or"culpable" demands to be answered.
After all, as I wrote in an article posted on October 24, 2008:
"'Margy the Teacher' knew what ACORN (Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now) was about back in the 1970’s.
"Born in 1940, Margy is now a retired teacher and the owner and operator of a bed and breakfast.
"Margy served on a local school board in Texas from 1978 to 1985 and took her responsibilities seriously.
"In 1980, Margy testified before the Texas State Board of Education, objecting to a page about ACORN in a book titled 'Comparing Political Behavior,' published by Prentice-Hall.
"Margy had read the Houston Post, now defunct, and kept a copy of an article about ACORN published in the May 6, 1979 edition.
"That article is titled 'Group hopes to gain control of U.S. power' and begins with the ACORN recruiting song: 'Aren’t you tired of seein’ the way that your own country’s being run? For the sake of Monster Profit, they would even steal your son. And if you think it’s bad, well, buster, you can bet it will grow worse. So you better start to organize, or empty out your purse!'
"The lead sentence of the article reported: 'ACORN organizers are taught to be ever aware their goal is to create a massive political pressure group which ultimately will take over the full operation of this country—for the benefit of ‘low-to-moderate-income’ Americans.'
"The article quoted from a 40-page booklet, Community Organizing: Handbook 2,” issued in 1977 by the Arkansas Institute for Social Justice and drawn 'particularly from the ACORN model.'
"The ACORN philosophy is stated unambiguously: 'Behind the organization’s concern with these issues is a basic understanding which says that all these issues are mere manifestations of a much more fundamental issue: The distribution of power in this country.'
"The article describes issues as 'vehicle[s] toward th[e] goal,' and the goal as 'building power through the organization of a low-to-moderate income majority.'
'One of the more candid discussions of ACORN’s involvement in electoral politics is found in the reminscence of John Beam who coordinated the efforts of the justices of the peace ACORN was instrumental in electing to the Pulaski County Arkansas Quorum Court, the budget-making body the handbook calls the country’s largest legislative body.
'Beam noted that the 175 ACORN endorsees who were elected had the potential for real power as the court—whose membership has since been shrunk considerably—frequently had trouble assembling a quorum of 234 members.
'"The task for the members, leaders and staff of ACORN was to translate this potential into some sort of change…The ACORN members elected to the court were not experienced politicians. Their legislative skills ranged from minimal PTA sophistication to functional illiteracy. What they shared in common was a loyalty to ACORN and its version of a fairer deal for low to moderate income people.'
"In April 1979, ACORN advertised for organizers in 'Mother Jones,' a magazine named after '[p]ioneer socialist Mary Harris "Mother" Jones,' on the same page as the Marxist Guardian, the Anarchist Cookbook and 'readable radical scholarship' were advertised.
"That textbook to which 'Margy the Teacher' objected had a full 'ACORN and Citizenship' page lauding ACORN, deeming 1970 'memorable' because Wade Rathke and others organized ACORN, and concluding: 'Does your community have an organization similar to ACORN? If it does, briefly describe the organization and what it has accomplished. If there is no such organization in your community, think about whether one is needed and the kinds of concerns it could tackle.'"
Was the USCCB gulled by ACORN and, if so, why?
Did the USCCB deliberately funnel millions of dollars (and the appearance of respectability that comes with being a USCCB donee) to an unofficial arm of the Democrat Party?
Remember the "When E F. Hutton speaks, people listen" commercial? When Ms. MonCrief speaks or writes about ACORN, we should listen or read carefully and demand the truth.
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.