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The announced dissolution of ACORN, the community organization that employed President Obama and later was caught in a series of sting videos, is nothing more than window dressing, an attorney contends.
“A landfill is still a landfill even if you change the name,” Kelly Shackelford of Liberty Legal Institute told WND today shortly after Politico’s report that the national ACORN organization was dissolving.
Shackleford’s organization is representing Hannah Giles, one of the two undercover journalists who exposed the activities of a number of ACORN workers, some of whom subsequently were dismissed.
The Politico report by Ben Smith said state groups and local chapters are splitting off from the controversial name ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
“ACORN has dissolved as a national structure of state organizations,” an unidentified senior official close to the group told Politico.
The undercover videos, which went viral, provided a rallying point for critics of ACORN. While they didn’t produce criminal charges, Politico reported they appeared to have been fatal to the organization itself, with which Obama worked during his years in Chicago. The videos included evidence ACORN employees offered assistance to undercover reporters trying to set up child prostitution.
“Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency,” said the Politico source.
Shackelford, however, said whatever new name is chosen, the organization will remain the same as it was under the ACORN name.
“This is a public relations exercise … ACORN is not dead and it is not going to change its ways any time soon,” Matthew Vadum, senior editor at the Capital Research Center in Washington and a conservative critic of the group, told Reuters.
“If they had really cared about all the corruption that was uncovered, they could have done something about it,” Shackelford told WND.
“Instead, they deny it and sue Hannah. That just shows it’s not a matter of there being any desire to correct the massive corruption,” he said.
After Giles and fellow undercover reporter James O’Keefe posted a number of videos revealing the practice of some ACORN offices, several of the ACORN employees sued Giles.
Shackelford is organizing her defense at the Defend Hannah website.
“They just decided, ‘We’ll change our name and nobody will notice,'” he said.
Shackelford said the claims are being made under state laws that limit recording any audio of a person anonymously, a key factor that needs to be resolved.
Without a decision favorable to the First Amendment, he said, people making recordings of accidents, fires, politicians, protests and other events potentially could be cited.
Giles earlier explained what she and O’Keefe accomplished to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly:
The videos were posted by Andrew Breitbart, whose BigGovernment.com rocked Washington with its exposure of ACORN corruption.
ACORN, which describes itself as a team of families “working together for social justice and stronger communities,” previously had been cited multiple times in voter fraud cases.
The videos from several ACORN offices across the country revealed employees apparently willing to advise how to fake tax forms and set up a child prostitution business.
Outcry over the undercover tapes prompted Congress to defund ACORN and sever the organization’s link with the upcoming census.
One of the tapes exposed Lavelle Stewart of ACORN in South Central Los Angeles. Stewart told Giles and O’Keefe – posing as a prostitute and pimp hoping to establish a quiet, international, underage prostitution ring – that they will have to hook up with “someone who’s on that international sex business level.”
“Fourteen- and 15-year-olds been traveling overseas for years,” Stewart said before offering to do research and hinting she has had meetings with porn magnate Larry Flynt.
The undercover video, in two parts, can be seen below:
(Editor’s note: The videos contain alluring images of Giles in costume and suggestive song lyrics.)
The second part of the video can be seen below: