The Collapse of ACORN

By

Published September 16, 2009

| FoxNews.com

Let's take the story step by step.

ACORN is a nationwide activist organization that has reportedly received $53 million in federal tax money since 1994 and millions more in state and local grants. ACORN is set up to help poor Americans buy homes, and it also registers folks to vote, almost always for the Democratic Party.

As of September 10, nine states have charged ACORN employees with crimes. There have been at least 30 convictions.

In the year 2000, ACORN discovered that one of its members, Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN leader Wade Rathke, had embezzled close to $1 million from the organization. ACORN declined to press charges, an incredible occurrence.

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"The Factor" and the Glenn Beck program traced millions in ACORN donations and grants to an abandoned funeral home in New Orleans. Based on information we provided to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, a state investigation is now underway.

That's the background. Now for the latest scandal.

Because federal authorities have not done much policing of ACORN, two private citizens, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, launched an undercover sting operation themselves. The two posed as a prostitute and a pimp and asked a number of ACORN officials to help them get housing for a prostitution enterprise. The latest sting was in California, where an ACORN employee engaged the young woman posing as a prostitute:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ACORN WORKER: How long have you been doing it? Can I ask?

HANNAH GILES, UNDERCOVER "PROSTITUTE": Since I was 14.

ACORN WORKER: And how old are you?

GILES: 20.

ACORN WORKER: OK, so that's some background.

GILES: Yeah.

ACORN WORKER: So do you know how you want to run it?

JAMES O'KEEFE, UNDERCOVER "PIMP": Yes.

ACORN WORKER: If you had a place, if you had a building?

GILES: I was thinking — I mean, OK, first I'll say that I would maybe want to do it under the cover of a spa.

ACORN WORKER: Yeah.

GILES: The guy that I'm supposed to be working for here just got a shipment of 12 El Salvadoran girls.

ACORN WORKER: Oh, really?

GILES: They're between the ages of 12 years old and 15.

O'KEEFE: So basically we want a house to put them in and we — we've been trying to go through the other authorities, but they have been unhelpful with us because of, you know, they don't want to deal with these…

ACORN WORKER: No.

O'KEEFE: ...sex girls coming in…

ACORN WORKER: Right.

O'KEEFE: …performing sex. They think we don't want to have anything to do with them.

ACORN WORKER: Well, they'll be a client, but they don't want to set you up.

GILES: Right.

O'KEEFE: Yeah, isn't that ridiculous? I mean.

ACORN WORKER: Yeah, it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

So there you have an ACORN employee having a conversation about setting up a house full of child prostitutes. It doesn't get much worse than that.

Similar stings have been conducted in New York, D.C. and Maryland, and a few ACORN employees have been fired. But ACORN officials don't seem very repentant:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT LEVENSON, ACORN SPOKESMAN: It says to me that a multinational entertainment agency that disguises itself as a news agency, FOX, has spent millions of dollars of resources, time to go after an organization that they don't like. It's clearly an individual who collaborated and cooperated with FOX entertainment under the guise of creating news. This is "Borat"-like journalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Levenson is correct in directing his ire toward FOX News. According to information developed by the Beck program, as of last night, FOX News has done more than 300 reports on ACORN over the past 20 months. CNN did 90, MSNBC 10, NBC and ABC News two, and CBS News just one.

ABC anchor Charles Gibson was asked about ACORN on the radio:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON WADE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We have the embarrassing video of ACORN staffers giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel with 13-year old hookers. It has everything you could want: corruption and sleazy action at tax-funded organizations. It's got government ties. But nobody is covering that story? Why?

CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS: I don't even know about it, so you've got me at a loss. I don't know. But my goodness, if it's got everything including sleaziness in it, we should talk about it this morning.

ROMA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is the American way.

GIBSON: Or maybe that's one you just leave to the cables.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But why would you do that? Political corruption should be a major story in America. Taxpayer money should be protected. Or am I wrong?

Over at NBC they are actually making excuses for ACORN:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it should be noted, to be fair though, that this might be viewed as entrapment, that some conservative activists used hidden cameras in order to get this stuff on camera. You might see this too as sort of a larger effort to undermine the biography of President Obama. Now here's what I'm saying here. Obama does not have any direct relationship with ACORN, but it is the association of community organizers. And I think by demeaning community organizers, it's once again an effort to demean part of President Obama's biography.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Well as long as she brought it up, let's take a look at the ACORN-Obama connection.

Shortly before ACORN endorsed him, Barack Obama issued this statement:

"I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran the Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work."

But now ACORN has been badly damaged and most politicians, even very liberal ones, are running for the hills.

Monday night the Senate voted 83 to 7 to deny ACORN federal funding. The seven senators supporting ACORN are Leahy and Sanders of Vermont, Durbin and Burris of Illinois, Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Gillibrand of New York and Casey of Pennsylvania.

Do these senators understand that an ACORN employee was caught on tape discussing child prostitution? Do these senators understand ACORN is in big financial trouble and at least 30 of its employees have been convicted of crimes?

Wednesday we will report on the senators supporting ACORN, because it is unbelievable.

Finally, ACORN is a tax-exempt organization that should immediately lose that status, and Attorney General Holder should begin an intense investigation. It should be noted that ACORN openly operated under the Bush administration as well and little was done to rein them in. But now their cover has been blown and the feds must act.

Political corruption on this scale cannot be tolerated in the United States of America.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

As you may know, 19-year-old singer Taylor Swift was embarrassed by hip-hop guy Kanye West at the MTV Awards. Here's what Ms. Swift said about it on "The View":

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: I think my overall thought process went something like wow, I can't believe I won. This is awesome. Don't trip and fall. I'm going to get to thank the fans. This is so cool. Oh, Kanye West is here.

You know, I'm not going to say that I wasn't rattled by it. I had to perform live five minutes later, so I had to get myself back to the place where I could perform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

For handling this very well, Ms. Swift is a patriot.

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On the pinhead front, Mr. West showed up on Leno Monday night and Jay asked him what his mother, who recently passed away, would have thought of his behavior:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": What do you think she would have said about this?

KANYE WEST, RAPPER: Um...

LENO: Would she be disappointed in this? Would she give you a lecture?

WEST: Yes, you know, obviously, you know, I deal with hurt and, you know, so many, you know, celebrities, they never take the time off. I have never taken the time off to really, you know, just music after music and tour after tour and tour. I'm just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Of course, the hurt from his mother's death should have had nothing to do with his intrusion on Ms. Swift, so West remains a pinhead.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

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