Fox News’ Glenn Beck may have uncovered another twist to a series of ACORN’s alleged scandals when he revealed on his show that the group’s main affiliate is operating out of a former New Orleans funeral home and bringing in millions of taxpayer dollars.
The Service Employees International Union’s New Orleans headquarters location that also houses ACORN is supposed to be home to more than 270 related corporations and non-profits.
“Does that former funeral home look big enough to you to house 270 organizations?” Beck asked. “The owner of the building is a company whose partners are – oh my gosh! – Wade and Dale Rathke.”
Former funeral home owned by Service Employees International Union and said to house 270 groups, including ACORN
Wade Rathke, a New Orleans resident, is founder of ACORN and also founder and chief organizer of Service Employees International Union, which donated $33 million to President Obama’s campaign last year.The online OpenSecrets.org estimates Obama’s entire campaign spending at about $640 million.
According to the New York Times, he failed to notify police in 2000 when he learned that his brother Dale, ACORN’s chief financial officer, had embezzled $948,600 from Citizens Consulting Inc., the ACORN affiliate that handles its financial affairs.
Beck said Wade and Dale are listed as president or partner in dozens of companies based in the New Orleans building.
“[T]he big question remains unanswered: Millions of dollars flow into that building every year,” Beck said. “Where does it go?”
He said ACORN received as much as $10 million in federal grants last year. But it could get up to $8 billion more after the House passed Rep. Barney Frank’s amendment allowing organizations indicted for voter fraud or related crimes to receive taxpayer dollars today.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., urged Congress to block ACORN’s access to federal housing funds.
“ACORN, as you know, is no stranger to the spotlight,” Bachmann said outside the Capitol. “Yet no matter how many times prosecutors investigate and even indict ACORN and their employees, they emerge unblemished as far as the federal government is concerned from having access to federal tax dollars.”
Bachmann told Fox News that ACORN has received at least $53 million in tax dollars since 1994. Frank’s amendment passed by a vote of 245-176, largely upon party lines.
“I am disappointed that Congress decided to side with ACORN today over the taxpayers,” Bachmann said. “It is not only legitimate for Congress to decide the threshold for accessing taxpayer funds; it is incumbent upon us to do so. And, for far too long, Congress has cavalierly distributed taxpayer money. … This is a shameful abdication of our fiduciary duties.”
Frank’s amendment moved on to the House floor earlier this month just as seven Pennsylvania ACORN volunteers were charged with voter registration fraud, including forgery and falsification of records.
Nevada officials also charged ACORN with 39 felony counts related to voter registrations for requiring its Las Vegas employees to register at least 20 new voters every day or be fired.
Barney Frank, D-Mass.
Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller told Beck that when law enforcement personnel executed a warrant, they found thousands of documents and e-mails and a company directive ordering employees to meet the quota or lose their jobs.
ACORN released a statement denying the allegations.
“Our policy all along has been to pay workers at an hourly rate and not pay employees based on any bonus or any incentive program,” it said. “It is unfortunate that the secretary of state cannot distinguish the victim from the villain.”
Just as word of the Nevada charges was surfacing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., released a May 4 statement read on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” It said: “Based on my review of the information regarding the complaints against ACORN, I have concluded that a hearing on this matter appears unwarranted at this time.”
According to the Clark County Elections Department, 28,000 of 91,000 new voters registered by Las Vegas ACORN workers are duplicates.
ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson told Glenn Beck that it was an isolated incident.
“We had a bad employee,” he said.
But Anita MonCrief, former ACORN employee, said, “The employees were being thrown under the bus. [Staff members] stood on the backs of the poor in order to make money for their organization.”
During a press conference on Capitol Hill today, Moncrief said, “As a Democrat I don’t have any representatives out there who are willing to stand up to ACORN and this really disappoints me and I hope they will follow her [Bachmann’s] lead and realize that funding corruption is not the way to go.”
Marcel Reid is Washington, D.C.’s ACORN chair and member of a group of whistleblowers known as the “ACORN 8.” The group has been calling for an immediate suspension of all federal state and local funding until an independent audit and congressional hearing has been completed.
Reid told Beck that ACORN actively looks to hire people from prison for $9 an hour, and those people sometimes registered names such as “Mickey Mouse” to meet mandated quotas. In such cases, ACORN still gets paid.
Barack Obama during a 2004 meeting of an ACORN affiliate
As WND reported, Matthew Vadum, a senior editor for the Capital Research Center, released a report in November titled “ACORN: Who Funds the Weather Underground’s Little Brother?” documenting the troubled past of ACORN.
The organization for which Obama at one point trained activists and to which he directed grants while aboard the management of the Woods Fund has established a reputation for doing pretty much as it pleases, the report said.
“In 1995, ACORN sued the state of California seeking an exemption from the law that requires that it pay its own employees a minimum wage. ACORN, which argued that keeping its employees
in poverty helps to boost their zeal to help the poor, lost,” according to the report.
ACORN became an issue in the 2008 presidential race because of Obama’s ties to the group as well as its own admission that more than 400,000 of the 1.3 million voter registrations it claimed to have collected were not valid.
Obama tried to disassociate himself from the group.
“The only involvement I’ve had with ACORN was I represented them alongside the U.S. Justice Department in making Illinois implement a motor voter law that helped people get registered at DMVs,” Obama declared in one of the presidential debates.
“Now, with respect to ACORN, ACORN is a community organization. Apparently what they’ve done is they were paying people to go out and register folks, and apparently some of the people who were out there didn’t really register people, they just filled out a bunch of names,” Obama said.
But Obama’s 1995 suit on behalf of ACORN, in which the state of Illinois was compelled to implement the federal “motor-voter” bill, was just a sampling of Obama’s association.
Among other involvements, Obama trained ACORN activists and while working on the board of the Woods Fund, channeled millions of dollars to ACORN.
Beck recently decried a lack of willingness on the part of the mainstream media to expose ACORN’s alleged misuse of federal tax dollars.
“There don’t seem to be enough journalists apparently that want to be the Woodward and Bernstein of today,” Beck said with suspicion. “Nobody in the media is following this story. Why? I wonder.”