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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  September 30, 2009
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Topic category:  Government/Politics

Examine the Obama/ACORN/ACORN 8 Ties to Kelleher and Talbott

Gaspard's relationships with ACORN and now ACORN Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis are notable, but not as important as the relationships of Kelleher and Ms. Talbott to Obama, ACORN and even the ACORN 8. Go there, Mr. Vadum, and Mr. Smith won't be able to distract or to dispute effectively.

The dispute between Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum and's Ben Smith over whether White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard was ACORN Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis's political director in New York is a distraction from which important lessons can be learned.

On September 28, 2009, Vadum posted an article titled "ACORN's Man in the White House" that begins, "Newly discovered evidence shows the radical advocacy group ACORN has a man in the Obama White House."

I loved that title as soon as I saw it but wondered what was the newly discovered evidence.

After all, President Obama himself is ACORN's Man in the White House and the evidence of that was available long ago to those who looked for it.

But Vadum was referring to a "power behind the throne...longtime ACORN operative Patrick Gaspard."

Vadum identified Gaspard as Lewis's political director in New York and warned, "With Gaspard at work in the White House, Lewis might as well be speaking to President Obama through an earpiece as he goes about his daily business ruining the country."

To those wondering how "we actually know...Gaspard...was Lewis's right hand man," Vadum answered: "Because Gaspard's employment with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is acknowledged by no less an authority than ACORN founder Wade Rathke himself" and quoted Rathke's blog statement "that [SEIU] 1199's former political director, Patrick Gaspard...was ACORN New York's political director before that...."

No doubt about it: that's what's in Rathke's blog.

But should Rathke be trusted?

Vadum incidentally noted that "the lines between ACORN and radical left-wing SEIU...become fuzzy in places," "SEIU Local 880 in Chicago is headed by longtime ACORN insider Keith Kelleher" and the ACORN "website has been receiving a thorough scrubbing in recent months" and "two SEIU locals mysteriously disappeared" from the list of affiliated organizations.

Two named defendants "mysteriously disappeared" when the final version of the complaint that the ACORN 8 filed with the United States Justice Department just before it was filed.

Those two named defendants were Keith Kelleher and his wife, Madeleine Talbot.

Kelleher and Ms. Talbot are ACORN leaders who were based in Illinois even before now President Obama.

Ms. Talbott was President Obama's mentor and beneficiary back in Illinois when he turned to community organizing.

Vadum wrote that "the American public is beginning to realize that ACORN is a vast criminal conspiracy whose reach extends to the highest levels of the U.S. government" and "Obama's statement that he's barely aware of ACORN's problems is nothing short of ridiculous...."


But it's ridiculous that Vadum has not written about the drafting of that ACORN 8 complaint and the implications of the decision to drop Kelleher and Ms. Talbott as named defendants.

Vadum: "As the old Washington saying goes, politics is personnel. Who knows how many administration officials were put in place by Gaspard with direct input from ACORN's Bertha Lewis. It boggles the mind."

It does.

As does the drafting and filing of that ACORN 8 complaint.


"We also now know the Obama administration was lying about ACORN's high level involvement in the 2010 Census. The coordination between ACORN and the Census was revealed as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the relentless investigator Tegan Millspaw of Judicial Watch....

"We have to wonder: when it comes to ACORN, what else is the Obama administration lying about?"

PLENTY! After all, then candidate Obama lied about the extent of his relationship with ACORN in the last presidential debate and the liberal media establishment either was complicit in covering up the truth up or oblivious. The plan to "fundamentally transform" America to suit ACORN needed that to succeed.

Smith, in "ACORN attack misses mark" (September 29, 2009), tried "to put a damper on the day's firestorm on the right" (Vadum's report on Gaspard), dismissing Vadum's claim that Gaspard had worked for ACORN in New York as not true.

Smith acknowledged that Vadum had quoted Rathke accurately, then used that fact as "evidence of how totally decentralized and disorganized -- contrary to the claims of both fans and detractors -- the group is"!

That does not follow and does not comport with reality.

Vadum responded that day in a piece titled "The Politico Gets Played By ACORN."

Vadum understands ACORN well and helpfully explained:

"One thing that journalists donít seem to get about ACORN is that it is a strange, complex creature with tentacles that reach into the highest levels of the United States government, the Democratic Party, corporate America, the labor movement, the nonprofit world, the media, foreign governments, and academia.

"ACORN has a confusing structure and its network of who-knows-how-many taxpayer-funded tax-exempt nonprofit affiliates. As Iíve written ad nause[u]m, this is deliberate."


Vadum continued:

"Understandably, given the complexity of the ACORN network, it is a constant struggle to educate my fellow journalists about ACORN.

"The Politicoís Ben Smith is a living case study showing what happens when sincere, well-meaning journalists write about something they do not understand.

"ACORN, quite predictably, claims Patrick Gaspard who is now an extremely close advisor to President Obama, didnít work for it.

"Smith just got played by ACORN - big time.

"I didnít publish all the evidence I have of Gaspardís ties to ACORN."

Upon reading that, I expected irrefutable proof that Gaspard had been ACORN's political director in New York.

Instead, Vadum set forth a letter to the editor of the Nation magazine (dated July 2, 2001) on behalf of ACORN affiliate the Working Families Party of New York signed by "BERTHA LEWIS, ACORN, WFP" and "PATRICK GASPARD, SEIU STATE COUNCIL, WFP."

While Ms. Lewis clearly signed for ACORN and the Working Families Party, Gaspard did NOT claim to be signing for ACORN but for the SEIU State Council and that political party.

Vadum insisted that his report was right because The Working Families Party of New York is an affiliate of both ACORN and SEIU Local 1199 and SEIU Local 1199 is an ACORN affiliate.

But such affiliations did not make Gaspard ACORN's political director in New York, if he was.

Vadum may be right, but his evidence does not proof it.

Vadum added, rightly:

"ACORN identifies its affiliates as ACORN affiliates when it is convenient and claims the same entities are not ACORN affiliates when it is not. This game of nonprofit musical chairs is standard operating procedure at ACORN whenever things get hot. ACORNís friends at the Huffington Post and Media Matters for America have done the same thing with Project Vote, which Obama worked for. They say Project Vote may be an ACORN affiliate now but it wasnít way back when President Obama worked for it.

"This is what ACORN does. Itís good at it. Whenever ACORN gets in trouble it cries 'racism' and 'voter suppression' and its critics run away with their tails between their legs. This sort of subterfuge isnít working anymore now that the American public saw how ACORN really operates in the undercover illegal alien sex slave sting operation videos so brilliantly conceived and executed by James OíKeefe and Hannah Giles."

But that does not proof Vadum's claim either.

Significantly, Vadum continued:

"ACORN has been engaged in a campaign of deception about its SEIU affiliates, Local 100 headed by ACORN founder Wade Rathke and Local 880 headed by ACORN bigwig Keith Kelleher who happens to the husband of Madeline Talbott. Talbott, you may recall, is a radical agitator whose close personal ties to President Obama are extensively documented. Hereís just one tidbit from National Review Online.

"ACORN scrubbed its website of references to SEIU 100 and 880 earlier this year. Why would ACORN do that?"

Perhaps ACORN did that for the same reason that the ACORN 8 apparently dropped Kelleher and Ms. Talbott from their complaint--because those persons are so closely tied to President Obama!

Rathke issued this statement:

"My 'friends' on the right seem to be using me as a source for an attack at yet another new target: Patrick Gaspard, political director at the White House.

"I have huge admiration for Patrick and have enjoyed my dealings with him over the years. In almost 1400 blogs Iíve done, sometimes I donít get it right, call it a senior moment or whatever it might be, but reading the blogsphere with me as a source took me back searching for whether or not I could be causing a problem here inadvertently. Patrick was never on the staff of ACORN. I double checked with people I still know there, and it appears that I dropped a stitch there. Hopefully my misstatement wonít lead to the White House throwing him in front of the bus in this rush to neo-McCarthyism that has become so prominent. In this case, my memory tricked me. Iím glad to carry the weight and simply say I made a mistake, and damned if Iím not sorry and hope no damage is done to a good man doing a hard job.

"Let me quickly add, since I read Google alerts and have noticed that there is a attack squad at all manner of friends and associates I have had over the years, that for the formal record, I have NO friends. If thereís a problem with me, then bring it on, but for the rest of you, if you see me on the street, just nod and pass on by, if you are worried about it. Until we learn to all stand together and oppose this kind of blood sport political targeting, itís going to be like this for a while. Iím just not sure how long it will take."

Vadum roundly rejected the "correction," claiming that Rathke is too "brilliant" to have been mistaken and is "[p]retending to be a senile old man" and helping friends and family.


"Pretending to be a senile old man, the ACORN founder just issued a 'correctionĒ' of an old blog post that raises more questions than it answers. After all the trouble he caused for the ACORN network, it was the least he could for the network that still employs his wife, Beth Butler, and reportedly his two children.

"Ya gotta help your friends - and your family."

Perhaps that does explains Rathke, but shouldn't the dropping of Kelleher and Ms. Talbott by the ACORN 8 as named defendants in their complaint be reported?

Smith, in "Acorn's 'tentacles,' cont'd," quickly posted that day, conceded that Vadum had reasonably quoted Rathke, but continued to assert that Gaspard had not been ACORN's political director in New York.


"I emailed Vadum to see whether he had other evidence, and he responded, 'I have more,' but declined to share it because, he said, I'd impugned his integrity.

"I do agree that there's a wide misunderstanding of ACORN, that it's a complex group whose culture promotes the view that the ends justify the means. But I tend to get leery when the talk turns to tentacles and secret evidence."

Ironically, Vadum, not Smith, appreciates the nature of ACORN and the danger it poses, but Vadum has not proved his specific claim as to Gaspard and Smith successfully shifted the focus from the nature of ACORN and the danger it poses, which Vadum had buttressed by reporting on Gaspard, to a specific matter of very limited significance.

Gaspard is a radical recruited by Obama to implement the radical agenda promoted by ACORN and its affiliates, especially SEIU.

THAT is significant.

Whether Gaspard was officially or unofficially ACORN's political director in New York a few years ago is a distracting detail.

Better that Vadum focus on the political corruption in which ACORN has been involved, especially its illicit coordination with the Obama presidential campaign, and let Smith try to refute that.

Gaspard's relationships with ACORN and now ACORN Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis are notable, but not as important as the relationships of Kelleher and Ms. Talbott to Obama, ACORN and even the ACORN 8.

Go there, Mr. Vadum, and Mr. Smith won't be able to distract or to dispute effectively.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

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,,, and 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.

Gaynor's email address is

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