Thursday, October 1, 2009

ACORN Closes Its Lansing Office

The ACORN "Financial Justice Coordinator" (what an interesting job title) of the Lansing ACORN office is shutting down the office this week. She said that after a threatening voice mail to the office, employee safety couldn't be guaranteed. There was no complaint filed with the police department.

Threats of violence are abhorrent, but other factors could be in play in closing down other ACORN offices. Donations have been drying up since the expose of the corruption shown and the ACORN advice given that would aid tax evasion, prostitution and child exploitation advice given at four ACORN offices. Lansing's ACORN office has not been implicated in any improprieties.

Other reasons why other ACORN offices might want to shut down? The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a report about ACORN, investigating if ACORN is intentionally structured as a criminal enterprise.

The conclusion reached was, "The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systemic fraud. Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate. Emerging accounts of widespread deceit and corruption raise the need for a criminal investigation of ACORN."

The Committee summed the crimes up in the following way.
" First, ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in self dealing, and aided and abetted a cover-up of embezzlement by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke.

Second, ACORN has committed investment fraud, deprived the public of its right to honest services, and engaged in a racketeering enterprise affecting interstate commerce.

Third, ACORN has committed a conspiracy to defraud the United States by using taxpayer funds for partisan political activities.

Fourth, ACORN has submitted false filings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor, in addition to violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. (FLSA)

Fifth, ACORN falsified and concealed facts concerning an illegal transaction between related parties in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)."

The House Committee reported voter registration fraud in several states. It said that, "ACORN uses its complex organizational structure to facilitate fraudulent and illegal Acts."

The Committee attacked ACORN's corporate entity by saying, "ACORN breached its fiduciary duties by covering up Dale Rathke’s Embezzlement."

ACORN has been de-funded by Congress, de-listed by the IRS as a volunteer tax preparation agency, and they will lose millions in being kicked out of the U.S. Census taking program.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for other ACORN offices to fall off the tree and shutter their doors.

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