Days after the release of hidden-camera videos led to the firing of four ACORN workers in Baltimore and Washington who assisted an independent filmmaker posing as a pimp to apply for an illegal housing loan for a brothel, a third video has surfaced showing ACORN workers offering the same kind of assistance at the organization's office in Brooklyn, N.Y.
As in their previous undercover stings, filmmaker James O'Keefe, 25, and partner Hannah Giles, 20, who posed as a prostitute, received advice from ACORN workers on how to launder their earnings and avoid detection from law enforcement officials while running a prostitution business.
"You have to find another name for it," an ACORN employee tells the pair seeking a mortgage in the Brooklyn office. "Honesty is not going to get you the house. You can't say what you do for a living."
In the video posted on BigGovernment.com, which was shot on Aug. 4, O'Keefe tells two ACORN workers that Giles — scantily dressed as a prostitute named "Eden" with partially-exposed undergarments — earns up to $10,000 a month "performing tricks" and tries to obtain housing in the purportedly 18-year-old woman's name.
"This is going to be her business, it's all cash," O'Keefe says. "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. That's how we want to work it potentially. But no one has to know where the money is coming from."
"No," an ACORN employee responds as another shakes her head in approval.
The ACORN employees suggest that the purpose of "Eden's" business remain a secret as they seek to obtain financing.
"You know, what goes on in the house, we don't care," an ACORN worker says on the video. "We just help you with the mortgage."
Later on the video, an ACORN worker tells Giles that she needs to say she is a "freelancer" to establish a legitimate line of credit, and she advises the woman to open multiple bank accounts in which she should deposit no more than $500 a week to avoid raising suspicion.
"Don't say that you're a prostitute thing or whatever," the woman says on the tape, later suggesting that Giles hide her money in a tin buried beneath the home. " … And you don't tell a single soul but yourself where it is."
Another ACORN worker reminds the pair that prostitution is illegal, but stops well short of showing the duo the door.
"Don't get caught," the ACORN staffer says on the tape. "It's against the law what you're doing and there's a chance you'll get caught."
Earlier videos taken at ACORN offices in Washington and Baltimore led to the firing of two employees at each office, and on Friday the U.S. Census Bureau severed ties with the group in the wake of the controversy.
ACORN — Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now — has been accused of widespread voter fraud during the 2008 presidential election by assisting unqualified voters to register.
The organization's chief organizer, Bertha Lewis, released a statement on Saturday saying that while she could not defend the actions of the terminated workers, O'Keefe may have committed a felony during the sting operation. She also threatened legal action against FOX News, which has aired the videos.
"It is clear that the videos are doctored, edited, and in no way the result of the fabricated story being portrayed by conservative activist 'filmmaker' O'Keefe and his partner in crime," Lewis said. "And, in fact, a crime it was — our lawyers believe a felony — and we will be taking legal action against Fox and their co-conspirators," she said.
O'Keefe, meanwhile, told FOX News he wants an apology from media outlets "covering for ACORN" and the organization itself.
"They don't have any leg to stand on, so they're saying I dubbed in my voice, which is completely absurd," he said. "When the truth comes out in the end, they're going to be apologizing to us."
O'Keefe said he was merely trying to hold the ACORN offices accountable.
In O'Keefe's earlier videos, which were released on BigGovernment.com, the filmmaker and Giles received much of the same advice from ACORN staffers.
In Baltimore, Giles, while posing as a prostitute named "Kenya," could be seen telling an ACORN staffer that she earned roughly $8,000 a month. The ACORN employee then suggested to "Kenya" that ACORN could submit a tax return for 2008 showing that she made $9,600 for the entire year — instead of $96,000 — and that ACORN would charge "Kenya" $50 instead of the usual $150 fee for preparing her taxes.
The ACORN staffer also suggested that "Kenya" list her occupation as a freelance "performing artist."
"It's not dancing, trust me," O'Keefe said on the video.
"But dancing is considered an art," the ACORN staffer replied. "[Exotic dancers] usually go under performing artists, or yeah, they usually go under performing arts, which will be what you are — a performing artist."
The "pimp" later said that he and "Kenya" planned to bring as many as 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador to work as prostitutes. Although an ACORN staffer pointed out that their plans were illegal, she also suggested that the girls could be claimed as dependents.
"What if they are going to be making money because they are performing tricks too?" the pimp asked.
"If they making money and they are underage, then you shouldn't be letting anybody know anyway," the ACORN staffer said, and laughed. "It's illegal. So I am not hearing this, I am not hearing this. You talk too much. Don't give up no information you're not asked."
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., saying the videos suggest multiple incidents of tax fraud, has called for a hearing to investigate ACORN's tax filing assistance programs.
"In light of the apparent flagrant and willful attempts to suborn tax fraud, I ... (am seeking) a hearing of the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee as soon as practicable to investigate ACORN’s activities," he said Friday.