In battleground states across the country, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is being investigated for voter registration fraud.
Yet, this group's nefarious activities this election cycle have not received the kind of mass media exposure you would expect given its ties to the current frontrunner for president, Barack Obama.
As the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday (emphasis added):
At the recent Emmy Awards, historian Laura Linney averred that America's Founders had been "community organizers" -- like Barack Obama. Too bad they aren't like that any more. Mr. Obama's kind of organizers work at Acorn, the militant advocacy group that is turning up in reports about voter fraud across the country.
Acorn -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- has been around since 1970 and boasts 350,000 members. We've written about them for years, but Acorn is now getting more attention as John McCain's campaign makes an issue of the fraud reports and Acorn's ties to Mr. Obama. It's about time someone exposed this shady outfit that uses government dollars to lobby for larger government.
Acorn uses various affiliated groups to agitate for "a living wage," for "affordable housing," for "tax justice" and union and environmental goals, as well as against school choice and welfare reform. It was a major contributor to the subprime meltdown by pushing lenders to make home loans on easy terms, conducting "strikes" against banks so they'd lower credit standards.
But the organization's real genius is getting American taxpayers to foot the bill. According to a 2006 report from the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), Acorn has been on the federal take since 1977. [...]
Which brings us to Mr. Obama, who got his start as a Chicago "community organizer" at Acorn's side. In 1992 he led voter registration efforts as the director of Project Vote, which included Acorn. This past November, he lauded Acorn's leaders for being "smack dab in the middle" of that effort. Mr. Obama also served as a lawyer for Acorn in 1995, in a case against Illinois to increase access to the polls.
During his tenure on the board of Chicago's Woods Fund, that body funneled more than $200,000 to Acorn. More recently, the Obama campaign paid $832,000 to an Acorn affiliate. The campaign initially told the Federal Election Commission this money was for "staging, sound, lighting." It later admitted the cash was to get out the vote.
Tuesday's Investor's Business Daily editorialized on Obama's connections to this organization (emphasis added):
Barack Obama lies about his ACORN past while agreeing to let the group shape the policies of his administration. He hopes his community organizer pals will help him make America "less mean-spirited."
As far back as Harvard Law School, Obama dreamed of transforming America in the image of community organizations such as ACORN with whom and for whom he trained.
In the May 3, 1990, edition of Chicago's Daily Herald newspaper, there's an article in which Obama, while attending Harvard Law School, gives his skewed view of American society and his plans for it. "I'm interested in organizations, not movements," the young Obama said, "because movements dissipate but organizations don't."
Through these organizations, Obama hoped that "more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we're going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous."
One would think this should all be quite newsworthy, correct? Yet, according to LexisNexis searches, in the last month as voter registration irregularities involving ACORN surfaced around the country, neither ABC News or CBS News has done one report on this organization and its ties to Obama.
For its part, NBC finally gave this issue a very brief mention on Friday's "Nightly News":
KELLY O'DONNELL: And, Brian, usually when we're counting down to the election, we see allegations of voter registration fraud and voter suppression, and we are seeing that this year, too. And some of it, of course, is going between both parties, but a lot of attention's been focussed on a group called ACORN that has some ties to Senator Obama, and there are investigations under way in quite a number of states.
From what I can tell, those two sentences are the only coverage given to this matter in the past month by America's three major broadcast television news divisions.
On the print side, the New York Times has run one article in the past month on this subject, a 919-word piece published on page A13 Saturday.
Can you imagine the number of lengthy, front-page exposés the Times would have published this election cycle if McCain had ties to an organization being accused of voter registration fraud around the country?
For its part, the Washington Post has run five articles in the past month that included the words ACORN and Obama. However, the only one placed on the front page, "Registration Gains Favor Democrats," briefly mentioned ACORN as being one of the "organizations that have been registering hundreds of thousands on their own," and completely ignored any reference to registration fraud.
Finally, besides two opinion pieces by Jonah Goldberg, USA Today has not published one article in the past month detailing the potentially illegal activities of ACORN in an article mentioning Obama's name.
As Commentary magazine's Jennifer Rubin wrote Tuesday, this seems almost impossible to believe:
It is almost inconceivable that Barack Obama should not have been grilled on this –either by his opponent or the media. (The latter is just beginning to cover the story.) Obama’s ties are deep and extensive with an organization that embraces goals and tactics well outside the political mainstream and that has engaged in a pattern of illegal activity usually seen only in RICO indictments. ACORN’s present involvement in coast-to-coast fraud is jaw-dropping and should raise the issue as to whether an Obama Justice Department would vigorously investigate and, if warranted, prosecute this entity and all involved.(A helpful compilation of ACORN’s suspect activities is here.) Put simply, Obama worked for and helped funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to a fraud-infested, corrupt organization and has yet to explain himself, let alone apologize for the same.
If the voters want such a president they will have him, but he should first explain himself and justify why his participation in and assistance to such an enterprise should not be serious grounds to question his fitness for office.
To be sure, complaining about media's absurd double standard this election cycle seems almost like beating a dead horse.
However, as press members have focused great attention on voting fraud since the Florida recount debacle in 2000, it seems impossible to believe they're ignoring the glaring abuses ACORN is alleged to be committing this year, and the fact that despite his protestations to the contrary, Obama has been involved with this organization for decades.