Tag Archives: Defunding ACORN

Marking Time for O’Keefe, ACORN, and the Crazies of Congress

New Orleans   Almost three years since the ACORN board and staff at that time pulled the plug on the organization and spread to the four corners of the country, it was suddenly another “ACORN week” in many ways in some weird coincidence of the calendar.  

            James O’Keefe, III, the criminal videographer who recently had to pay a significant settlement in California for his highly selective editing techniques in his unprincipled takedown of ACORN, celebrated the end of his probation for another one of his whacko schemes involving mischief with the phone system for the New Orleans district office of Senator Mary Landrieu located in the Hale Boggs Federal Building.  Nothing about any of that was anything but moronic:  phones, federal building, US Senator – how much dope were they smoking?  

O’Keefe celebrated by seeing if he could visit the Philadelphia headquarters of ACTION Now, formerly Pennsylvania ACORN, and supposedly say “hello” to his old friends since this was the scene of one of his earlier crimes as well, and he was desperate to prove that he had learned absolutely nothing over the last 4 years.  According to his short clip, he didn’t get past the door, but of course they probably didn’t recognize him.  Looks like he has added about 30 pounds, and it was probably a good thing in his case, and of course he wasn’t wearing his pimp suit either.  Oh, wait, I almost forgot.  He never wore a pimp suit except for his self-promotion did he? 

Meanwhile several members of the Republican Crazy Caucus in Congress have made sure to add amendments to various budget bills pending in committees to continue to defund the deflated ACORN hoping it doesn’t rise again.  The progressive press finds this ironic and humorous but of course it is neither.  The long list of organizations included in this punitive “bill of attainder” is sweeping and chilling and continues to hamper work going on today in many cities and states with low-and-moderate income organizations.  It is probably too much to hope that reason will prevail and these amendments will be rejected, but then again, Michelle Bachmann has announced that she is resigning her seat in the House of Representative so hope springs eternal.

Meanwhile I noted that it has now been 5 years since I resigned as Chief Organizer of ACORN on June 2, 2008.   People always say everything is different after 5 years.  That’s really not true as you can see.  I continue to organize every day.   ACORN International continues to grow around the world.  I work with many of the same projects and organizations as I did and with some new ones.  And, now I enjoy the irony that many of these organizations never made the Congressional hit-and-hate list.  How sweet is that irony?   Well, it’s not bad, but it’s not good enough to offset the mourning that I hear from ACORN members every week who still miss their organization and the chance to make change and build power in America for their families and communities.  There’s little that I can say to them, except keep fighting and working and you never can tell what might still be possible, because, hey, America, what a country!

ACORN Week Audio Blog


ACORN Defunding Bill Unconstitutional


Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Reform in New York which represented ACORN

Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Reform in New York which represented ACORN

Federal Judge Nina Gershon ruled unequivocally that the Congressional defunding restrictions on ACORN and all affiliated organizations were unconstitutional by breaching the U.S. Constitution’s prohibitions on Bills of Attainder and “ex post facto” laws.   Reading the decision this morning, I can say that are arguments are straightforward, clear, and well researched

            Judge Gershon eviscerates the sham attempts by the government to establish that their actions were not targeting ACORN by quoting from the the naked prejudicial attacks by Senators Kit Bond (R-Missouri) and Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) and by carefully referencing the government’s admission that Congressman Darryl Issa (R-Ohio) and his own private office staff report on ACORN being a “criminal enterprise” was not commissioned by Congress, but were simply his own wild rantings, which she quotes in a footnote from one of his many press releases.  The decision is understated but devastating to the government’s weak hand.  Bill Quigley, our old friend from New Orleans who is now on leave from Loyola Law School and serving as legal director of the Center for Constitutional Reform in New York which represented ACORN, was quoted in an AP story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune saying he did not believe the government would appeal.  That may be wistful spinning, but it is clear that whether the government appeals or not, the appeal has no chance of success against the ironclad Gershon decision.  [Incidentally, Quigley was orginally contacted for help on this matter by longtime Louisiana ACORN director, Beth Butler, who set this defense in motion, but was abruptly and unjustly fired by current management inexplicably in mid-October, but that’s another kettle of fish.]

Continue reading