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Project Vote sues whistleblower: ObamACORN bully tactics exposed

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 22, 2009 12:11 PM


Photoshop: Reader S.J.

The White House is on a witch hunt against inspectors general who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.

And now, taxpayer-subsidized ACORN affiliate Project Vote — where President Obama cut his teeth as a community organizer and learned Leftist intimidation tactics up close and personal — is going after whistleblower Anita MonCrief and an anonymous “John Doe” defendant for posting invaluable documents that reveal the money-shuffling racket.

Obama. ACORN. Project Vote. Corrupt birds of a feather bully together.

The scoop: Project Vote has filed a federal lawsuit against MonCrief for blogging about her experience and knowledge of the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization’s partisan and political activities, including coordination with the Obama campaign. Project Vote seeks compensatory damages and exemplary damages “of at least $5 million” and all costs and attorney’s fees on trumped-up charges of “trademark infringement” and publication of “trade secrets.”

You don’t have to be a lawyer to see that this is a blatant act of retaliation. MonCrief has always been open and honest about her firing from Project Vote. The ObamACORN mob used the credit card incident as a pretext then and they are using it as a pretext now. The real reason they are going after her is because she poses a fundamental threat to ACORN’s criminal racket.

I’ve uploaded the entire 30-page complaint. Read it. Send it to your congressional rep. Spread the word:

This is what ObamACORN bullying looks like.

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The Examiner reports on ACORN’s efforts to evade accountability and sunlight by changing its name. Par for the course. And if you’ve been following Anita’s work online, you already know the m.o.

I’m reprinting in full one of Anita’s blog posts from February 6, 2009 during the stimulus debate to show how comprehensive her knowledge is of ObamACORN’s money-shuffling operations and political cunning. The Left is going to pour as much money into shutting her up as needed. Who is going to help Anita fight?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Has ACORN Become a Liability for Democrats?
Author/source: Anita Moncrief’s blog

As the Senate debates the stimulus package, there has been yet another flurry of articles and blogs regarding ACORN receiving federal funds. Many Republican Senators has spoken out against the possibility of ACORN receiving funding; including Ohio’s John Boehner, who has taken an admirable stand in the face of outright pressure and the inference that debating the bill will harm the economy and the American people.

However, the silence from the Democrats is deafening. Besides the courage of some middle of the road Dems to challenge the pork, no one seems to be asking the million dollar question: “Why is ACORN even around to be eligible for this money.” Conservatives love to raise the standard in election years, but quickly loose interest when the elections are over. The problem with this approach is two fold. First, as stated in previous blogs, ACORN is fully prepared to fight allegations of voter registration fraud. Actually they use the press coverage to demonstrate to the members and funders how fragile minority voting rights are and that Republicans want to challenge them at the polls. Like the Christian Bale movie The Prestige they have one amazing trick that runs for limited performances. In this case, its every two years. Not to say that you are not correct in the assumption that there are problems with the voter registration cards, as noted in a December 2006 report:

“In 2004, voter registration quality control lapses led to some 20 criminal investigations around the nation and private lawsuits in Florida and Ohio. In 2006, much quality control around the nation was improved, but where there were failures, they were impressive (particularly in Missouri), and had national repercussions. In 2007 we face one grand jury investigation, 3 FEC complaints, and a possible investigation by the Senate and/or the IRS.”

Since ACORN is facing the same problems now, one must wonder what is the hidden benefit of keeping them around. In order to throw a line to my conservative friends; I have a little helpful hint to anyone who really wants to take down the criminal enterprise that is ACORN. Next time, instead of requesting mound of useless evidence related to voter registration fraud; (believe me, they will find some poor employee to pin it on) ASK TO SEE THEIR BOOKS. If anyone were to get a hold of what the ACORN 8 has come to realize is the Holy Grail of documents, I would have to find something else to blog about.

ACORN has systematically removed anyone from the organization that has made this simple request, including Marcel Reid and Karen Inman, the founding members of the ACORN 8. Eight board members had the courage to ask the one question that would bring ACORN down and Bertha Lewis and the management have exhibited mob like tactics in order to silence them.

Bertha Lewis and ACORN may scream racism and conspiracy whenever any even hints at impropriety; but former Chief Organizer and founder Wade Rathke wrote a very interesting summary of the organizations challenges after the successful 2006 elections that ended in a sweeping victory for Democrats.

Threats and Challenges

The Fredrick Douglass quote that essentially “power concedes nothing without struggle” is a byword for this current passage of the organization as we amass a larger and more powerful role in public affairs in the United States. ACORN is now seen as a central – and indispensable — component of the progressive coalition. The conclusion of the Democracy Alliance process of creating infrastructure was summed up for me recently by SEIU’s Andy Stern, as having concluded that there simply were only a few institutions that were capable of sustainable activity, and ACORN was on that short list.

The same conclusion has been made by the right as we saw in the coordinated and direct pre-election attacks on ACORN on websites, blogs, and at our own convention as well as on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, the FEC complaints filed by the Republican party in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Missouri, and the partisan accusations of voter fraud by conservative, party line hunkering ideologues in Kansas City and St. Louis.

The fine point of this attack were the requests for voluminous records by then Chairman and Senator Charles Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee from ACORN that are in fact still on-going. If it were not so tedious and expensive organizationally and angering and insulting personally, it would certainly be a damned fine honor!

Being of the school that “when they want you, they will get you” does not mean that we should not learn from this as we go forward and tighten up our internal procedures, inspect the borders and retaining walls between various organizations, and in some cases change what we are doing and the personnel in such a way to limit exposure and clarify operations, both for offense and defense. This review is still continuing in the immediate aftermath and mop-up from the exhilaration of the election, but internally this was the subject of leadership and management staff even before the ballots opened. Once all the information is in, all opinions are weighed, and counsel of various persuasions have spoken, we will shore up the operations to prepare for the continued onslaught that building – and exercising – real power will involve.

All of this in some ways is past due, but none of it will be without change, some pleasant and some more persnickety.

Considering the revelation of the Rathke embezzlement scandal in 2008, I am going to assume that they had a little trouble shoring up the walls. Citizens Services Inc. (CCI) is the for profit entity that handles all of the funds in the ACORN universe. According to ACORN staff lore, CCI was created after the Department of Labor made ACORN get an “outside” firm to handle payroll. After 30+ years of collecting membership dues, shaking down banks and mortgage companies, and secret side deals with the unions; ACORN did not want an outside firm to handle ANY of the money. Let’s examine why.

Notes from West Regional Meeting 8/15/08, Los Angeles

CCI is currently inadequate but is keeping us going day to day, they are not equipped for complex issues…Bertha has not been able to get Mike Jones to be cooperative on many issues and Mike signed contracts with Duplantier for more audits without consulting folks through 2008…causing major problems.

One major problem is that Whitney Bank allows us to overdraw and be unrealistic in financial management and planning, creating some major discrepancies between what is in accounts and what we have in reality.

To cover their actions while appearing to be in compliance ACORN uses the ceremonial board model throughout the organization. Most of the board members are either ACORN Staff that hold positions on the boards of other entities; or unsuspecting members recruited from the community who do not understand that they are fiscally responsible for the documents that ACORN wants them to rubber stamp.

It is ironic that ACORN management did not seem comfortable with African Americans in positions of power within the staff ranks (unless they could be used in some way) but it was okay to have the dues paying community leaders as the fall guys. For example, and with respect to a woman who has accomplished a great deal; it was common knowledge among staff that Maude Hurd was a pawn used by the Rathke’s to present the comforting, black, strong, mother image to the community. The emotion that meeting Ms. Hurd brought to some members would be awe inspiring, if were not for ACORN’s ulterior motives.

Chief Organizer Report December 2006

Over recent years the development of the partnerships produced from the struggle of campaigns with various corporations offer constructive learning models about the multiplier effects of such relationships forged in conflict. This is no more evident than in the developing relationship with Citigroup and H&R Block as two examples.

Continuing the work the partnerships aggressively and across operations has paid significant benefits throughout the ACORN family and continues to do so. The supplemental side letter being finalized with Citigroup during the 1st week of 2007 to add 10 offices with an “elastic” footprint for the agreement is very important. Citigroup’s interest in adding support and discussion of international operations to the relationship meeting at the same time in order to discuss partnerships in Latin America, India, and Africa with ACORN could be significant in stabilizing resources capacity for expansion and maintenance in these emerging ACORN International operations.

None of this is every sure fire or guaranteed. We still seemingly have a long way to go to create a stable and sustainable relationship across operations with Household and HSBC, but the point of this discussion is that we are targeting this sector for aggressive exploration around resource development. This corporate and related assault has been tasked to Mitch Klein as my assistant in the Office of Chief Organizer. Thus far we have either met or have meetings scheduled with Entergy, Allstate, Florida Power & Light, Prudential, General Services, GMAC, and Mitsubishi for example.

To put this passage in context let’s examine a couple of missing facts. ACORN members are paying dues, marching, calling, knocking, and chanting for campaigns that they are told are to benefit their quality of life. ACORN then makes a side deal for funding and development for resources that are going directly overseas. The second point here is that Wade is still Chief Organizer of ACORN International and its total assets are unknown. According to board members and staff, ACORN International was always apart of the Council of Organizations, that is until Wade was removed.

“An invitation is being evaluated seriously for ACORN Nigeria. Bertha Lewis of NY ACORN visited over Thanksgiving week and was very impressed with front end work having been already done by former Brooklyn ACORN leaders, including potential donation of a piece of land to provide resource support for the first 2 years of the organization on the proposal we have made to the Nigerian sponsoring committee. I am visiting late in January to also assess. Meetings with Sunday Alabie (MN ACORN) and Tunde of KNON hopefully will create a US based ACORN Nigeria support committee to raise money for the ongoing organizing to supplement dues…

Internationally, ACORN Canada now seems legally set. This is NOT the case in other extra-USA ACORN operations. Solving these problems will be a major matter for 2007.”

According to a undated 2008 letter sent to ACORN lawyer Beth Kingsley from a St. Petersburg attorney named Christine L. Allamanno, “ACORN International is a separate corporation with a separate board of directors from ACORN.” The letter goes on to state that ACORN Int. relationship with CCI “is also a relationship that is independent of ACORN, and CCI and ACORN Int. are free to negotiate their own relationship without outside interference from ACORN, and will continue to do so.”

The board members appointed to review the situation afterward the embezzlement must have been appalled to find that members money and sweat were just gone without any accountability as to what happened. Why is ACORN borrowing money now? What happened? While this situation worked out nicely for the Rathkes’ there have been other painful separations in the ACORN family regarding CCI.

Chief Organizer Report, December 2006

…my inability to convince SEIU 880 not to leave the shared collective of our family of organizations around the shared services of CCI was my major disappointment of the year and represents in a small way the largest internal threat to our family of organizations. In the simplest of terms it costs everyone money to have 880 leave, but that loss is negligible and inconsequential compared to the loss of unity and shared vision of both risks and rewards from collective enterprise.

Equally disappointing was what we discovered about the weakness of our internal process at any level of management to find a voice for such a departure. It became a matter of a notice from a lawyer, rather than even an announcement at a meeting of managers, thereby sounding the death knell to many of our structures as lacking even the formality and manners of respect and accountability. No one structure was inadequate to this problem, but all of our structures were too weak in this instance and most of our top managers were unable to separate our great friendships from our awesome responsibilities to the collective.

SEIU 880 is of course a vital part of our family of organizations, and states that it intends to maintain its place at the forefront of our COUNCIL and that is both appreciated and immensely valued. Nevertheless this is a difficult passage, and it would be a lie to state otherwise. One can only hope that as chains are broken, they are welded even more strongly together for the future. We will see as this unfolds in the future and hope for the best.

In 2008 others began to see the cracks in ACORN and pulled their funding. CCHD suspended all money to ACORN after finding out about the misappropriation of funds. ACORN internally admits the mistake that led to the CCHD pulling the plug.

Rebuilding ACORN’s Social Impact Central Meeting: Monday, August 11, 2008

I think CCHD thinks they are helping the poor and they don’t know about all these other CCI fees. They don’t realize they are paying for all this other stuff. Are we accountable to our members as staff or are we accountable to those people who are not accountable to the members.

Good question.

ACORN says that it will not apply for any of the stimulus money, and it probably wont; but some of the 204 organizations will. ACORN Housing, perhaps, or maybe ACORN Fair Housing? Reading ACORN’s 300+ page year end report is really enlightening.

Building Community Institutions and Resources

Our efforts are concentrated on housing counseling, housing development, media, and schools. We made continued progress in most areas in 2006 perhaps with the exception in schools, which separate reports will detail. Special note must be made of the progress in housing development, which continued to accelerate throughout the year especially in New Orleans and the expansion from New York’s experience.

You might be wondering know how much money ACORN could bring in from these endeavors, and the answer lies in the same report.

ACORN Fair Housing

Year End/Year Begin Report December 2006
Staff: Valerie Coffin, Director Maxine Vasquez, Research Assistant

Overall evaluation: Despite having a rather successful year with five simultaneous fair housing projects, we’re ending on a sour note by having problems with HUD to receive 3 of 6 grants we were originally awarded for the coming year. Continuing work will be done with testing and identification of fair housing issues as part of tenant campaigns in Los Angeles and work on insurance issues in various cities. Other areas of work including the annual lending study, and GIS/Mapping have had no major changes.

New grant applications- We were originally awarded five FY2006 FHIP grants totally $450,000 for projects in Louisiana, Maryland, Denver, Las Vegas, and New Mexico. Shortly afterwards we awarded an additional $100,000 for the 2005 application in Louisiana bringing the new grant total to $550,000. However, we have only negotiated three projects with HUD (NM & 2 LA) and are running into problems with the other three (CO, MD, NV) that appear to be a result of both local HUD incompetence and larger political motives. It is unclear if we will be able to save this funding.

Outlook for 2007

Three FHIP grants are entirely up in the air right now making it difficult to make too many definite plans other than fighting to maintain the funding that HUD already awarded us. It’s a reminder that we need to maintain tight record-keeping on federal-funded projects and offices awarded these grants need to take them very seriously.

Federal Funding: In 2006, we helped win grant awards for $912,378 in federal funding from HUD. Overall, we helped write and submit 13 federal grants to HUD for FY2006, four of which are still outstanding. With Valerie Coffin, Fair Housing Director, we helped raise $450,000 in FY2006 FHIP funding for fair housing education and outreach. This year New Orleans also received an additional $100,000 in new funding from reallocated FY2005 FHIP funding. In Dallas, the ACORN Institute received a ROSS grant for $362,378 over three years from reallocated FY2005 funds to provide services and training to public housing residents in that city. We have also continued to provide support on reporting and other requirements for approximately $4 million in LEAP grant funds (FY2004 and FY2005

If one ACORN entity with two full time staff can aquire this much in Federal funding, I wonder what the other 203 ACORN organizations are doing. In a year where the “nanny problem” has already been replaced by the “tax problem,” Democrats need to wake up from the after glow of the elections and look really hard at the liability that is ACORN. Republicans should take heed and hold these Dems accountable for their relationships with ACORN. When does turning a blind eye to corruption turn into turning a blind eye towards the people?

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