Archive for the ‘Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now’ Category

Catholics probe aid directed to ACORN

November 4, 2008

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has hired forensic accounting specialists to investigate more than $1 million in church funding to voter-registration group ACORN, fearing the money may have been spent in partisan or fraudulent ways that could jeopardize the church’s tax-exempt status.

The investigation is “thorough, serious and ongoing,” according to a July 11 letter to more than 200 bishops from New Orleans Bishop Robert Morin, chairman of the committee that oversees the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

By Julia Duin
The Washington Times

The CCHD sent $1,037,000 to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in 2007, including a $40,000 grant to an ACORN affiliate in Las Vegas that was raided last month by the Nevada attorney general’s office in a voter-fraud probe.

An investigator enters the ACORN office in Las Vegas, Tuesday, ...
An investigator enters the ACORN office in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008. A Nevada secretary of state’s office spokesman said Tuesday that investigators are looking for evidence of voter fraud at the office.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Catholic aid agency has given more than $7.3 million to ACORN over the past decade for about 320 projects, according to the Catholic News Service.

In June, the Catholic Church froze a $1.2 million grant for 38 ACORN chapters after the community-organizing group was accused of voter fraud in 15 states.

State elections officials and the FBI are questioning ACORN workers who submitted voter registration forms signed by Mickey Mouse and members of the Dallas Cowboys football team in their efforts to register voters in low-income neighborhoods, many of whom tend to favor Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama once worked with ACORN as a community organizer and lawyer in Chicago.

“While there is value in registering low-income voters, I am concerned that the whole ban on partisanship has been violated,” Ralph McCloud, the new executive director for the CCHD, said Monday.

Mr. McCloud said he could not reassure Catholics that the funds donated before 2008 were not used in voter fraud.

“There is no way we can tell,” he said. “All our applications go through a rigorous screening, and we ask each organization to commit to being nonpartisan. The overwhelming reality is most of the groups we fund do tremendous work.”

The CCHD draws $9,439,000 a year in “second collections” from Catholic churches, the next one slated for Nov. 23. CCHD funds go to groups that fight poverty, interfaith….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/04/catholics-probe-aid-directed-to-acorn/

Court Testimony on ACORN is Troubling

October 30, 2008

A former employee of an affiliate of ACORN testified yesterday that the community group now in the national spotlight knew that most new voter registration forms it had gathered were fraudulent.

By Mario F. Cattabiani
The Philadelphia Enquirer

“Forty percent was OK,” said Anita Moncrief, referring to the number of bona fide registrations that officials at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now believed was acceptable.

Moncrief was the star witness yesterday in a Commonwealth Court case brought by the state Republican Party and others who are asking a judge to step in and prevent voter fraud on Election Day.

For nearly two hours, Moncrief, 29, gave a scathing, though at times vague, assessment of ACORN and its efforts to go into battleground states and help mostly minorities and the poor register to vote for the first time.

The group, she said, barely trained its workers in how to register voters properly, and would fire employees if they did not meet a quota of 20 new voter applicants daily. And, if they were caught committing fraud, the group “threw them under the bus” as scapegoats to take all the legal blame, Moncrief said.

Moncrief said she worked as a development associate for Project Vote in Washington from 2005 until early this year, but that the group was so closely aligned with its sister organization, ACORN, that they were one and the same.

Moncrief was fired in January after using a Project Vote credit card to pay for personal items. On the stand, she acknowledged the incident and called it “a bad mistake.” She is unemployed after short stints in two jobs since she was fired.

ACORN Board of Directors Meet Amid Internal Lawsuit, $1M Embezzlement Caper, Leadership Struggle

October 17, 2008

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS – ACORN, the national activist group dogged by a high-profile voter registration fraud scandal, has another bruising item on its agenda when its board of directors meets here this weekend.

Leaders of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now are locked in a legal dispute stemming from allegations that the brother of the group’s founder misappropriated nearly $1 million of the nonprofit’s money several years ago.

The embezzlement case, a recent revelation to some board members, has spawned a lawsuit and set off a power struggle inside ACORN at a time when the liberal group’s voter registration practices are the subject of fraud investigations and fodder for presidential campaign attacks.

Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s interim chief organizer, called the lawsuit “a distraction from us marshaling our forces to deal with the Republican right-wing attacks” over ACORN’s voter registration.

The lawsuit filed in August by two board members accuses ACORN founder and former chief organizer Wade Rathke of either concealing or failing to properly report that his brother Dale embezzled around $948,000 from New Orleans-based ACORN and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000.

Instead of reporting the allegations to law enforcement authorities, a small group of ACORN executives allowed the Rathke family to repay the misappropriated money, according to the lawsuit brought by board members Karen Inman and Marcel Reid.

Wade Rathke is seen in a Tuesday Feb. 26, 2002 file photo, in ... 
Wade Rathke is seen in a Tuesday Feb. 26, 2002 file photo, in New Orleans. A lawsuit filed in August by two ACORN board members accuses ACORN founder and former chief organizer Wade Rathke of either concealing or failing to properly report that his brother Dale embezzled around $948,000 from New Orleans-based ACORN and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000.(AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

Inman and Reid said the agreement, which called for the stolen money to be carried on the books of an ACORN affiliate as a loan to an officer, was kept a secret from the full 51-member board until earlier this year.

“We need to find out what happened, when it happened and make sure that ACORN is viable,” Inman said during a press briefing about the dispute Thursday in New Orleans. Inman also says she wants an independent audit of ACORN’s books.

Rathke, who founded ACORN in 1970, defended the decision to keep his brother’s actions an “internal matter” and resolve it with “private restitution.” Reporting the case to law enforcement could have left the group at risk of financial ruin, Rathke said.

“One choice would have been to go that way, but then we wouldn’t have been able to collect that money,” he said.

No working phone number for Dale Rathke could be found and a request by The Associated Press to contact him through his brother wasn’t immediately answered.

Lewis said the group’s board recently hired attorneys to explore whether Dale Rathke’s actions warrant a criminal investigation or could be the subject of a civil case.

“Remember, we just found this out in June,” she said.

Rathke said he took responsibility for his brother’s “mistakes” by resigning, while Inman says he was fired. Rathke blames a “small group of dissidents” for the turmoil that has followed his departure.

“I wish they would have kept the internal affairs of the organization internally,” he said.

Inman and Reid filed suit for access to ACORN financial records that staff members allegedly refused to give them.

During their meeting this weekend, board members are expected to discuss the lawsuit and explore ways to resolve it. A state judge presiding over the case has asked for a transcript of the board’s discussion.

Lewis said Inman and Reid don’t speak for the entire board and didn’t have authority to file suit on the board’s behalf.

“As you can well imagine, any organization that just fired its founder after 38 years would have internal issues,” she said.

Wade Rathke says he stepped down as ACORN’s chief organizer in June, but remains chief organizer for ACORN International. A spokesman for ACORN said the two organizations are separate entities, although they have shared office space in New Orleans.

Rathke shrugged off the board members’ lawsuit, calling it a “minor matter,” and expressed confidence that the voting registration controversy won’t consume the group.

“ACORN is a big organization now, and they’re big enough to weather this,” he said.


Above: Just a reminder: the FBI is investigating ACORN…..

Related:
ACORN Now Subject of Major FBI Probe

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081017/ap_on_re_us/acorn_missing_money_1

Obama: In Hotly Contested Ohio, What’s in The Leading Newspaper?

October 15, 2008

From: The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Well, here they go again. Like the election-time plethora of political punditry touting one candidate or issue over another, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is back in the news with the usual stories about fraudulent activities.

It is time to put a stop to ACORN’s (or any other group’s) voter fraud. We need a national law banning solicitation of voter registrations. If a person is ignorant of the registration process or just doesn’t care enough to take the time to register to vote, I don’t want him or her on the list of eligible voters just because some solicitor knocked on his door or stopped her on the street or, worse, copied a name and address out of the phone book and forged the signature.

Even ACORN officials admit they have little control over the process. In a Plain Dealer article Wednesday, “Kris Harsh, ACORN’s head Cleveland organizer, blamed the elections board for not scrutinizing ACORN’s suspicious cards. He said the group can’t be expected to catch everything.”

Since the elections board may miss what ACORN admits it can’t catch, then just prohibit the whole process. Elections are too critical to the well-being of this nation to be polluted by fraud for funds.

William M. Niro, Brunswick Hills
************

Here are a few numbers to consider: The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the 2006 Cuyahoga County population count was 1,314,241, a 5.7 percent dropoff from the 2000 census. The census also reports that 30.7 percent of the population is under the age of 18. That leaves about 910,000 voting-age adults. The number of eligible voters is even lower, if you subtract illegal aliens.

But ACORN’s Cleveland spokesman reports collecting 100,000 voter registration cards, according to the New York Post! How?

Are we really to believe that ACORN not only found but registered 100,000 legitimate, previously unregistered Cuyahoga County voters? It’s prima facie fraud.

This is what Barack Obama did as a “community organizer.”

Terrence Martau, Lakewood
***************

October 13, 2008
Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police will come out today for Republican presidential candidate John McCain at press conferences in Cleveland and Columbus. The organization represents more than 24,000 police officers and backed President Bush in 2004. While its hardly going to shift the dynamic in the Ohio race, the effort is one of almost daily events planned by the campaign to keep McCain in front of voters.

It’s a safe bet that at today’s events, police officials will attack Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over his loose ties to Bill Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago who belonged to the radical antiwar group, Weather Underground, which advocated violence and placed bombs at police stations and the Capitol.

The McCain’s press release about the FOP hints to it. Law enforcement officials will “discuss Barack Obama’s unwillingness to speak truthfully about some of his troubling associations,” it says.

UPDATE: The FOP endorsed McCain last month with overwhelming support from its members. Brecksville Mayor Jerry Hruby, a former police officer of 19 years, and Ohio FOP president Nick DiMarco, blasted Obama Monday for his positions on everything from drug and pornography to sentencing laws. They did indeed raise Ayers’ ties to Obama and called for Obama to more fully explain the relationship, the same line of attack pushed last week by both McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin.

Hruby also used the event to join the GOP’s attack on Obama for his ties to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which has submitted fraudulent voter registration cards to election boards, including Cuyahoga County’s.