This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GLENN BECK, HOST: This week, I learned an awful lot about the "ACORN 8," eight members of the group that joined because they wanted to help people. They said when they learned about some of the fraud and corruption; they just couldn't take it anymore. They tried to blow the whistle but it seems like nobody would listen to them.
I want to introduce you to two women that were in my office this afternoon and we had about a 45-minute conversation. We're going to try to break it down here in the next few minutes. They are — they were once national board — once national board members of ACORN. They ran an organization after the CEO and CFO of the group were fired over a million-dollar embezzlement scandal. Then, when they tried to get the books opened to find out about the corruption, one of them was fired from the board.
Right, Karen, you were fired?
KAREN INMAN, FIRED ACORN BOARD MEMBER: Terminated.
BECK: Terminated, yes, OK.
And Marcel Reid is joining me as well. This is Karen — I want to introduce to Karen and also Marcel Reid.
Marcel is actually still working with ACORN. She is the chair of ACORN in Washington, D.C. Her board refuses to allow her to be removed even though the national board wants her gone.
Karen is, on the other hand, completely kicked out of the — as she said, terminated. She ran the legal arm of ACORN.
Also with us today, later on in the program, is from The Washington Examiner, reporter Kevin Mooney.
OK, ladies, let me start with — well, let me just start with what we — what we just saw. I just saw two people that said, "Hey, I just — I signed a bunch of registration forms, because the guy said to me that he was just trying to keep his job."
Is this — is this the kind of thing that is happening? Are they — are the people who are going out and registered — are they threatened by the organization that you're going to lose your job unless you hit a certain quota?
INMAN: Certainly. Certainly that happens, yes. Not only that, but they're not really paid a living wage. So, yes, that happens and there are other things that we're very concerned about.
BECK: OK. I was told by the national spokesperson that there is no national policy of paying people for quotas. There is no — anything like that. You just raised your eyebrows. There's that — you represented them legally, right? I mean, is there any kind of...
INMAN: No, I did not represent them legally. I was part of a legal kind of situation.
INMAN: I did not represent any of the union members or any of the members of ACORN or anything.
INMAN: I just was legal representative on the reorganization plan.
INMAN: So, I'm not...
BECK: OK. When you guys — when you guys got in, I mean, Marcel, I have to tell you, you are one brave woman. I can't — I mean, I don't even have all, you know, the Washington politics nonsense, you know? Well, actually I do at this job. But, you know, at other jobs I've held, and there are times that I just can't get up, because I'm like — oh, I hate going in because of all the backstabbing and everything else.
Here you are alone refusing — and your board is protecting you, too, right? Your board is saying, "Nope, we're not firing her." You've got the national ACORN breathing down your neck. You got weasels in Washington breathing down your neck and you ain't going anywhere.
MARCEL REID, WWW.ACORN-8.NET: Well, you know, I have to thank my board. I mean, these are very courageous people. And not only did I sign the complaint against ACORN, but the previous chair of ACORN in D.C., Pocahontas Outlaw, also signed the very same complaint.
BECK: I love that name.
REID: It's a great name.
REID: The members of the board in D.C. have been stalwart in backing us, because we have asked for three years to have the books opened, for three solid years...
BECK: What kind of organization can't look — where the chair and the board can't look at their own books?
REID: Well, primarily it's because the boards aren't functional. They're ceremonial. And once they understood that they had a board formed that would not serve in that position, to be ceremonial, then there was a huge problem.
BECK: What is a ceremonial board? Why...
REID: A ceremonial board is a board that sits but has no actual authority.
BECK: Why would anyone do that? Why — I mean — maybe I'm coming as a cynic and I am, but maybe I'm coming — but that seems like a front organization.
REID: I don't think that people that sit on the board thought it was a front organization. I think everyone came to this organization with the purist of intentions.
BECK: No, no, no. I'm not saying that the people on the board or you felt that way. Do you feel that way now at all? Like, you're, "Wait a minute, am I just being used here?" What kind — Are you are providing cover?
INMAN: Yes. It's kind of a rubber stamp thing. We're going to tell you what to think and you're going to say "Yes, that's a good idea," and go along with it. And when the meetings are only half a day and you bring in 51 people, they're not doing the kinds of work that they should be doing.
BECK: Tell me, you had — you were sent to Capitol Hill in 2008. And you...
REID: There was a group of us that convened on Capitol Hill when the stimulus package was first introduced. This was under the Bush administration. I believe it was in September. And I can go back into my notes and give you the exact dates. And at that time, we were there to talk about the fact that we wanted the stimulus package to go forward, and I was just concerned about that, because at that time, Karen and I had served on the IMC, which was the Intra-Management Committee for ACORN.
But you know, there's just — what we want to say very quickly or what I want to say very quickly is: We wanted an audit — just an audit. And when we didn't have an audit or couldn't get an audit and asked for an audit, we were removed and we want to know why we were removed.
If everything is above board and we ask for an audit and we're members of the organization and supposedly directors of that organization, why would you remove us?
BECK: What's the answer they've given you?
INMAN: We haven't gotten an answer. We've asked for the reasons. We've asked for their minutes. We've asked for all of those things. You've asked for minutes for the last three years. We get nothing and we are stonewalled and not even responded to.
BECK: It started with the "ACORN 8." How many are there now?
REID: We have far more than eight. We — I don't know how many, because we gain people every day.
BECK: People in ACORN that say I want my organization back.
BECK: So, what is it? I said to Marcel, I think I said to you earlier, that this is all about votes and you said, "No, this is all about the money."
REID: This is all about the money. This isn't — well, you can do it, Karen.
INMAN: Right. Basically, what happens is the organization, I think, had a good message to begin with and then they looked to see how much money they generated and how much power they got. And so, instead of having it trickle down — trickle up from the membership, which is what it is supposed to be, they've looked and said, "Hmm, we can get X amount of dollars here. We'll convince our membership that this is what we should be working on."
BECK: It seems to me that they are using me, and people like me, by calling racists and everything else, to generate outrage to help raise money.
And then, also, they are using the lowest of our society, using them, and then throwing them to the lions and saying, "You know, well, it was a rogue employee," which also helps them, too, doesn't it? How?
REID: Of course. Because it gives them cover, you know? It says consistently that the very same people they were supposed to be enabling are the same people that we sacrificed. So, we can't have that kind of divisiveness there. If we're out to help people, who works for $9 an hour all day long or less? Who works for that kind of money? If you're empowered and if you're not an idealist student or retiree who has a very cushy life, you can't afford to work for that kind of money. So, you already know where you're gathering people from like this.
Remember I was talking to you before about the J-curve? People who have always been entitled to things in life know very quickly when they're being used. People who have never experienced anything in life except being used don't know when to blow the whistle. And why should they? Who's ever listened to them before when they told the truth and blown the whistle?
BECK: This is why you guys, because when we talked this afternoon in my office, I mean, I just want the truth. I don't really care. It's great to help people, but it seems like everybody — this is dirty. This is really dirty.
Is this why you guys are doing this and staying in, because somebody has to?
INMAN: Yes. We want it corrected. We want it — for example, when the embezzlement happened, we asked for the books. We asked for that to be taken care of. If there is nothing to hide, why can't they open up the books?
BECK: Is it Conyers, Gresh, that said today that there is reason — did you hear this? He said that there was absolutely no reason that we're going to do an investigation. I mean, they'll do steroids on baseball but — we have a statement? Where is it?
OK. Here it is: "Based on my review of the information regarding the complaints against ACORN, I have concluded that a hearing on this matter appears to be unwarranted at this time."
REID: Well, you know, I was actually sitting in Congress when I heard Representative Conyers really push Jerrold Nadler to have an investigation of ACORN. I heard him do it. It wasn't something that I think he was doing for the community.
BECK: Why this? Why now? Why is he backing off?
REID: Well, because Nadler was very resistant to there being an investigation of ACORN. He was very resistant. He showed it at that time, and I think what has happened — and I have no way of proving it — is that I think that there was just a lot of pressure put on Conyers not to have this investigation.
BECK: OK. The spider web is very, very deep. We're going to spend a few more minutes with the two ladies here and talk a little bit about that.
And, also, I've asked them to make a plea to somebody in Washington. I know people watch us in Washington, D.C. Somebody is watching us that is just going to say, "You know what, I don't care, the truth is the most important." They'll make that plea — coming up in just a second. Stand by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many registrations I filled out? I can't — I can't even count how many registrations I filled out. Sometimes I feel bad, you know, like how many — I'd register over and over if it helps my — you know, of course, I'm trying to do something for myself and the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: There's so much to cover. We are with two heroines who are speaking up for what is right and some of the things that are wrong with our country.
Former ACORN national board members Marcel Reid and Karen Inman and Marcel is still in Washington — she is president of ACORN in Washington, D.C. They are part of the group, the "ACORN 8" — this is a splinter group formed to fight the corruption inside ACORN.
Also with us is — from the Washington Examiner, reporter Kevin Mooney, we're going to bring him in in just a second.
First Karen, let me go to you. There was an embezzlement. Two brothers worked for ACORN. There was almost $1 million embezzled. Nobody went to prison on that. Can you give me a little bit on this?
INMAN: Certainly. What happened is that Wade was the founder and his brother was working for ACORN and he worked for the financial agency. And he embezzled about a million dollars.
It was found out. They covered it up, and he continued on the payroll for ACORN for the next almost eight years until it was divulged, and then he was forced to resign. But it was, like, what happened to the money? Where is the accountability? And not only that, but the people who knew about it, the management, staff, the head staff and the president, all knew about it and they're still there.
BECK: Why aren't there more people, Marcel, like the two of you and all the people that are standing with you and your board — how come we don't see you on television? Why aren't there more people standing up?
REID: I think because the mission — the mission, the stated mission of ACORN is a wonderful mission. Who doesn't want to help people out of poverty? Who doesn't want to make the playing field more level? Who can walk down the street in a major city and not see homeless people?
BECK: But is it — does it — is it apparent when you're inside ACORN? You're being used. It seems to me you're taking people up off the street, the lowest, and chewing them up, using them and then throwing them and saying, "Well, he's a rogue employee" and discarding them.
I mean, Karen, you said earlier, it's abuse what's happening.
INMAN: It isn't just the employees. It's the members who were being used.
BECK: Well, I'm saying you guys are, too, yes. But I...
INMAN: What I mean, Glenn...
BECK: Yes, I know.
INMAN: ...that they are forced to work, that they come up and say, this was, what, our mission is — they don't even know what's their mission. They don't realize that ACORN is getting big bucks for sending them out as a shock troop.
BECK: So, Marcel, is it just the mission? Is it just that they want to do good? Are they aware when you're inside? Are you aware?
REID: You know, you have to understand what I've perceived as a mentality and I might be wrong. But in war, there are always casualties. There are always casualties in war. And so, for many of these people, they perceived this almost as though this is a war, and in war.
BECK: Is it about — you know, we saw these videos and it was like, "You know, we're going to have Obama." That's how a lot of people perceive ACORN, as just a movement for Obama. Do you think it's being used for that or abused just for money at some higher spider web sort of level?
REID: You know, in Washington, D.C., we had a meeting — I had a regular monthly meeting, the first Thursday (ph) of each month, and I asked them to endorse candidates and we selected to endorse Barack Obama on the Democratic side. But on the Republican side, we endorsed John McCain.
And yet for some reason, it was never reported out. But my members will tell you that in Washington, D.C., we not only supported Barack Obama, but we supported John McCain on the Republican side.
BECK: I said to you, guys, earlier in my office, while we're sitting on my office. I said, "You know what, forget about the listener here or the viewer, put your attention on to the one person that doesn't care about getting credit isn't trying to make a political point, isn't left, isn't right, just is, and is there to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and its people."
Which one of you guys is going to address that one person that might be watching in Congress or some place and just say help.
INMAN: Help. We need — we need your support. We need you to help us figure out how to stop the abuse, how to empower people and to look at the situation as it is, and not look at it as a miniscule voter fraud thing. It's much larger than that.
BECK: Wow. Ladies, thank you very much. I appreciate it. And if you don't mind...
REID: And I would just like to say one thing.
REID: I'm sorry. Excuse me. I would just like to say that ACORN doesn't need to be funded with any more taxpayer dollars until we find out what happened to the last taxpayer dollars that ACORN was funded with. That is what we're calling for.
We want the organization to survive. We want the organization to flourish.
BECK: Has it ever — has it ever occurred to you that you're in danger for saying things like that? Do you realize how much money is at stake? I said to you earlier, they say — ACORN says we're not going to take any stimulus dollars. You two laughed. Why, Karen?
INMAN: Well, because there are more than 300 organizations under the ACORN umbrella and they might be getting it under another umbrella organization.
REID: And we don't want to hold with the exact number of organizations under the umbrella, but because we know that that is fungible. So, you know, we can say 300 and they'll say 199, so they can say everything else we said was wrong. We don't want to be caught in the minutiae of making an absolute account of how many organizations there are, because the truth of the matter is we don't know, and if we don't know it is highly unlikely anyone else knows.
BECK: Wow. Holy cow. Ladies, thank you and I appreciate it.
REID: Thank you.
INMAN: Thank you.
BECK: All right. Also with us is — from The Washington Examiner, reporter Kevin Mooney.
Kevin, what did we miss here?
KEVIN MOONEY, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Hi. Thanks so much for having me.
MOONEY: Well, they should not look to Congress for salvation, because while we have current ACORN members or former ACORN members who don't want the organization to be funded, Congress is actually making it easier for ACORN to be funded.
Just yesterday, on the House floor, Representative Barney Frank passed an amendment that would actually dilute and eviscerate an earlier amendment offered by his colleague, Representative Michele Bachmann...
MOONEY: ...that would preclude organizations like ACORN under criminal investigation from getting federal funds.
BECK: So, what happened with Conyers today? Why would Conyers come out and say, "You know, there's no reason to investigate"? I mean, again, these guys investigated the cameras and the playbooks of the Patriots' games. They were going after steroids for months and months and months. ACORN, voter — steroids is important. Voter fraud and embezzlement and tax dollars being flushed down the toilet, that's not worth an investigation?
MOONEY: What's interesting is that both of those members of Congress are changing their position while new indictments are coming down. There were new indictments in Nevada on Monday, there's one in Pennsylvania just the other day while the Frank amendment was actually moving on the House floor. So, if there wasn't so much money involved, that would actually be comical.
Barney Frank, for several hours, unknowingly, almost became a teabagger, because he initially voted in favor of that amendment on a voice vote and then reversed his position. He accidentally became a taxpayer advocate until he was reminded what his actual role was.
BECK: Hang on just a second. Marcel, this just reminded me, tell me the story of Freddie and Fannie being in your office the week that ACORN and SEIU were protesting AIG.
REID: I don't know if it was that week, but they were definitely in my office meeting and I was definitely told that by someone in my office and I believe it to be true.
BECK: What were they — what...
REID: I don't know the content of the meeting. Obviously, I was not allowed. You know, of course, that once they removed us off the board of directors, I was banned from entering my own office. I cannot enter my office in D.C. I went to enter it with several of my members, mostly male. We were kicked out.
BECK: Kevin, any idea what would Freddie and Fannie — because this goes back to, you know, Freddie and Fannie, when they gave the bonuses to those guys just a week later after all of the marches and everything else, bigger bonuses went to Freddie and Fannie.
I said the week before — I said why is ACORN and SEIU protesting? Why are they busting people? What's going on? This is misdirection. Something else is going on. As it turns out, it was the bonuses of Freddie and Fannie.
Now, we find out that they were in the offices of ACORN around the same time, whether they were connected or not, I mean, do you know anything about this?
MOONEY: I don't know about that, in particular. Unfortunately, some of this is water under the bridge. ACORN already has access to billions of dollars of taxpayer money as a result of stimulus package passed earlier this year.
I think the critical battle is going to be over the HUD budget where there is billions more available to ACORN. And you now have over 200 members of Congress on record saying despite all the criminal investigations, ACORN should have access to taxpayer money.
BECK: OK. All of you guys, stay in touch with me and we'll stay in touch with you. We will keep you informed.
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