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Steve Lunetta: The stench coming from ACORN

Right About Now

Posted: October 11, 2009 7:22 p.m.
Updated: October 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.
We’ve all had the experience. We go to the refrigerator looking for something cool to drink and when we open the door, our nostrils are assaulted by a hideous odor.

This is not just any odor. It is the odor of death and decay. A stench that causes an instant gag reflex and a pinching of the nostrils with a free hand. And, no, it isn’t the latest Full Speed to Port or Environmentally Speaking column in The Signal.

It is the smell of rotted food. When you bought it, those peaches were beautiful, sweet and fresh. Now, after two months, forgotten and isolated in the bottom of the crisper drawer, those peaches are black, leaking and growing hair.

Now, they must be dug out and discarded before they ruin the rest of the refrigerator contents.

The same can be said of the stench emanating from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, otherwise known as ACORN.

For anyone who hasn’t been watching the news recently, ACORN was the target of two investigative filmmakers who decided that they wanted to see what would happen if ACORN was approached about creating a brothel in the local neighborhood.

Yes, I said brothel. Whorehouse. House of Ill Repute. Cat House. Democratic Party Headquarters. House of Prostitution.

The concept was extremely simple. Get a hidden camera in a briefcase, dress two young people up in hooker/pimp garb, walk into an ACORN office, and ask for assistance in setting up a whorehouse using imported girls from Central America.

The response was stunning. In ACORN offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C., New York, San Diego and San Bernardino, ACORN office staff was caught on film advising the couple on home loans and tax evasion, and disguising the identities of the sex workers brought in from El Salvador.

To be fair, several ACORN offices did kick the two out. But, by my count, five did not. You can view the videos on YouTube as of this writing.

Why is this of any importance other than the obvious titillation value? Because you are paying for ACORN’s activities. Through their allies in the Democratic party, ACORN has received massive amounts in Federal Grants. They also run several labor unions including the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) here in California.

By some estimates, including one from the New York Times, ACORN’s annual operating budget is between $30-37.5 million. A large portion of this money is spent ostensibly on nonpartisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote initiatives.

Unfortunately, that is not what ACORN is about. The Employment Policies Institute’s revealing four-part series entitled “Rotten ACORN: America’s Bad Seed” clearly describes what ACORN is really about: money.

ACORN uses the large financial strength given to it through public funding and labor unions to fund a web of corporate entities that flow money back into the pocket of its founder, Wade Rathke.

Of course, some of this money flows into campaign contributions for political supporters who, in turn, assure that the public funding arm of ACORN stays intact. Cute trick, eh?

By observing the videos, it is apparent that the ground-level offices of ACORN are staffed by individuals who care little for the rules and laws of the United States of America.

They are merely a conduit for cash and serve little purpose otherwise. In ACORN offices, the ends clearly justify the means.

It is not surprising that even Democrats could not deny the rot present in ACORN. Recently, ACORN lost a critical contract to support the 2010 Census, the House and Senate voted to exclude it from federal funding, and the IRS removed the organization from its volunteer tax assistance program.

I find it exceedingly curious that it took two amateur filmmakers (James O’Keefe and Hanah Giles) to uncover the truth about ACORN. Where was the L.A. Times? The Washington Post? New York Times? How about the Chicago Tribune? ABC News? CNN? Not a peep.

Unfortunately, investigative reporting has become a lost art. With the major news outlets becoming enthralled with President Obama, they seem to have lost their sense of truth-seeking, even when the stench is clearly so strong.

Of course, we all know that Mr. Obama worked for ACORN as legal counsel. It appears that a story may be lurking near. All an enterprising and uncompromising investigative reporter needs to do is follow their nose and find the stinking peach in the bottom of the crisper drawer.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Right About Now” runs Mondays in The Signal.


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