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By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
October 4, 2011

While boasting about his White House’s transparency, President Barack Obama’s reelection team is plotting its next move in secret -- mapping swing states, training volunteers, and raising big funds.

And while the Democrats and their news media echo chamber are telling Americans that the notorious and disgraced activist group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), is a thing of the past, a Washington, D.C.-based public-interest organization blew the lid off that myth. Truth be told, ACORN still exists under the guise of new names doing business in new locations.

Judicial Watch, a well-known non-profit that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, yesterday released “The Rebranding of ACORN,” a special report regarding the "ACORN network," following an extensive investigation of the organization’s transformation into various “spinoffs” and affiliated organizations.

After several scandals involving ACORN staff, including a case covered by this reporter for Accuracy in Media, the organization -- which until that time boasted about Barack Obama working with and for them -- quickly dissolved, or so the American public was told.

In this writer's AIM column, in November 2010 "a supervisor for the now defunct political advocacy group ACORN, has entered into a plea bargain with prosecutors in a case alleging that canvassers were illegally paid to register Nevada voters during the 2008 presidential campaign."

"Amy Busefink, 28, pleaded no-contest in a Nevada court to two misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters. Her nolo contendere plea acknowledged the state had sufficient evidence for a conviction if the case went to trial."

Obama’s spokespersons claimed he had a limited relationship with ACORN. However, the record shows that “[Obama] says he is drawn to politics, despite its superficialities, as a means to advance his real passion and calling: community organization. In 1992, Obama took time off to direct Project Vote, an ACORN program said to be the most successful grass-roots voter-registration campaign in recent [Chicago] history.”

ACORN officials admitted to submitting fraudulent voter registration forms in Ohio and press reports confirmed that ACORN submitted hundreds of fraudulent voter registration forms in Kansas City, forcing local officials to wade through fraudulent voter registrations, potentially disenfranchising legitimate voters.

The ACORN-affiliated groups existing today are ACORN in all but name. These groups tend to occupy ACORN’s former offices, are staffed in many cases with former ACORN employees, and remain committed to ACORN’s mission. Overall, Judicial Watch attorneys have documented 17 ACORN-affiliated organizations in the following states/regions: Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New England, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Among the conclusions of Judicial Watch’s special report:

ACORN lives on in the form of numerous state entities and in such affiliated organizations as Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA), The Advance Group, The Black Institute, and Project Vote. In the words of Bertha Lewis, former chief executive officer of ACORN, “… these entities are carrying on ACORN’s work of organizing low- and moderate-income folks… [We have created] bullet-proof community-organizing Frankensteins that they’re going to have a very hard time attacking.”
Tens of millions of dollars in ACORN’s funds and other assets are still unaccounted for. The attorney general’s office for the state of Louisiana and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, as well as Judicial Watch, continue to investigate what happened to these missing resources.
Judicial Watch discovered that the Obama administration continues to bankroll ACORN and its affiliates in defiance of the federal government’s funding ban. For example, on March 1, 2011, ACORN Housing Corporation - renamed Affordable Housing Centers of America (though it retained the same headquarters and many of the ACORN officers) - received a $79,819 grant from the Obama Department of Housing and Development (HUD).
ACORN’s Project Vote, President Obama’s former employer, remains active in trying to register a “Food Stamp Army” of voters on public assistance to re-elect Obama and other leftist candidates. In Colorado, for instance, Judicial Watch uncovered documents proving that ACORN/Project Vote successfully pressured Colorado officials into implementing new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons. After the policy changes, the percentage of fraudulent voter registration forms from Colorado public assistance agencies was four times the national average. Evidence suggests the Obama Justice Department might be partnering with Project Vote in this campaign.

At its peak, ACORN had upwards of 400,000 members and 1,200 chapters in more than 100 cities. Linked to serious scandals involving misuse of taxpayer funds, embezzlement, intimidation tactics, employee abuse, questionable hiring tactics, and fraudulent voter registrations, ACORN’s corrupt activities finally caught the attention of the American public and members of Congress, the final blow coming after explosive journalists' videos were released showing ACORN employees advising undercover reporters on how to evade immigration, housing, and child prostitution laws, as well as taxes.

The videos were the product of two young journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, the daughter of talk radio host Doug Giles.

After the videos created a media feeding frenzy in October 2009, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Defund ACORN Act which effectively prohibited the federal government from funding “ACORN and any ACORN-related affiliate.”

ACORN subsequently filed for bankruptcy on November 2, 2010. However, long before its bankruptcy filing, ACORN’s leadership implemented a plan to ensure the survival of ACORN as independent state corporations and affiliated organizations. The Judicial Watch report provides details on the individual organizations and their officers.

“As this report clearly shows, rumors of ACORN’s demise are vastly overstated. ACORN and its partner in crime Project Vote are both alive and well and operating across the country,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “Given the corrupt activities of these organizations, there is no question they pose a threat to clean and fair elections in 2012. And the fact that the Obama Justice Department will take no action to address the corrupt activities of ACORN and its thinly disguised spinoffs is a scandal in and of itself.”

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Barack Obama served as the Illinois executive director of the ACORN partner Project Vote in 1992. His campaign paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN organization to help “get out the vote” in his successful primary campaign against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008. In November 2007, then-Senator Obama addressed ACORN and thanked the organization for its work.

“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career," Obama boasted.

“Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drives in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work,” he said.

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After several scandals involving ACORN staff, including a case covered by this reporter for Accuracy in Media, the organization -- which until that time boasted about Barack Obama working with and for them -- quickly dissolved, or so the American public was told.