UPDATE: NYTimes buries Story, gives last word to wingnuts...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2009, 4:15pm PT  

Earlier this month, a two-month independent investigation of ACORN, by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, found incidents of mismanagement, but no criminal wrongdoing by ACORN, the favorite whipping boy of Republican scammers such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the GOP itself. That investigation (full report here [PDF]) also found that the "sting videos" used recently against ACORN were highly doctored and manipulated.

Of course, readers of The BRAD BLOG know the Republicans' entire, long, sad, anti-democratic (small "d" and large "d" both) campaign is based on little more than the fact that ACORN registers millions of legal low and middle income voters who tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic (large "d") rather than Republican, and the GOP and their democracy-hating proxies will go to any lengths to keep those legal voters from exercising their legal franchise.

And today, once again, ACORN is cleared of wrongdoing vis a vis yet another independent investigation, this one by the Congressional Research Service [PDF], as noted in a press release from U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers this afternoon (posted in full below).

Of most note to our readers, Conyers' statement points out what we've been pointing out - over and over and over again for years: "There were no instances of individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees and who were reported 'attempting to vote at the polls.'" Who knew?! What a surprise! (At least to Fox "News" viewers, who probably won't hear about this report either.)

Also: "No instances were identified in which ACORN 'violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years.'"

And: "Recently enacted federal legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The courts 'may have a sufficient basis' to conclude that the legislation 'violates the prohibition against bills of attainder.'" That finding is one that a federal judge also recently concurred with, when she issued an injunction earlier this month to keep the law from taking affect since ACORN had "been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt."

Finally, according to today's report, Andrew "Drudge's Poodle" Breitbart's phony video-taped "sting operation" against ACORN may, itself, have violated the law in both California and Maryland, about which we might ironically recommend to prosecutors: "Capital punishment" for Andrew Breitbart!

The short press release from Conyers, announcing the new report's bullet points, follows below...

UPDATE: And coverage of the NYTimes burial of this report, now follows below it...

December 22, 2009

Conyers Releases CRS Report on ACORN

(Washington D.C.) - House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) today released a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service on several issues concerning the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). The report was requested by Chairman Conyers and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank on September 22, and is available at http://judiciary.house.g.../pdf/CRS-ACORN091222.pdf. Among its findings, CRS reported that:

  • There were no instances of individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees and who were reported "attempting to vote at the polls." Memorandum from the Congressional Research Service to the House Judiciary Committee, "ACORN Investigations" (December 22, 2009), at 1.
  • As of October 2009, there have been 46 reported federal, state, and local investigations concerning ACORN, of which 11 are still pending. "ACORN Investigations," Table 1.
  • No instances were identified in which ACORN "violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years." "ACORN Investigations," at 1.
  • Recently enacted federal legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The courts "may have a sufficient basis" to conclude that the legislation "violates the prohibition against bills of attainder." Congressional Research Service, "The Proposed 'Defund ACORN Act' and Related Legislation: Are They Bills of Attainder?" (November 30, 2009), at 25.
  • Concerning recent "sting" operations relating to ACORN, although state laws vary, two relevant states, Maryland and California, "appear to ban private recording of face to face conversations absent the consent of all the participants." Memorandum from the Congressional Research Service to the House Judiciary, "Allegations of Recording Conversations with Various ACORN Affiliated Individuals without Their Consent" (October 9, 2009), at 1.

"I appreciate the careful work of CRS on these issues," Chairman Conyers said. "I look forward to seeing the results of the work being undertaken by other agencies, including the recently announced Government Accountability Office review concerning federal funding of ACORN."

###

UPDATE 12/27/09: NYU's media professor, and election integrity author, Mark Crispin Miller noted over the weekend, via email, that the New York Times buried their coverage of this story on page 14, and allowed the GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters to have the last word...

Here's how the New York Times reported the big news --- or I should say the should-be-much-much bigger news--that ACORN has been cleared of voter fraud by the Congressional Research Service:

The piece, which is quite brief, was buried on p. A15, where it was stuck down in the lower right-hand corner (fittingly, underneath the jump page of an article headlined, "An Isolated Area Feels Even More So"). And not only was the article too short by half, and jammed into a corner, but, as you can see, it's cast not as a vindication but as insufficiently persuasive to the rightists who've been trying to blow ACORN into smithereens: "Conservative critics of a community group remain unconvinced," says the subhead; and the piece quotes two of them--the scandalous Hans von Spakovsky and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who gets the last word.

Well, first of all, ACORN's "critics" aren't "conservatives," but something more like fascists, since their efforts to crush ACORN (not just "criticize" it) are based on a desire to make the power of corporations absolute, through (among other measures) radical restriction of the right to vote: ACORN's crime, in their eyes, has been not just to register low-income voters but also to take legal steps against the buccaneers of Wall Street.

The mission of those "critics," then, is nothing less than the destruction of electoral democracy --- a mission that's not rational in any sense. So how could any evidence persuade them? They're not engaged in civil discourse or in real reform but only propaganda for their cause; so it is perfectly absurd to note that this report has not "convinced" them. The likes of von Spakovsky, and John Fund, and Thor Hearne and all the others cannot be "convinced" of anything that they don't want to think--and that they want the rest of us all thinking, too.

And they've done pretty well, as far as ACORN is concerned, because the MSM has functioned largely as a giant megaphone for all their lies right from the start. So it is no small matter that the New York Times has now downplayed this most important news, which ought to be played up, so that those lies are all (belatedly) exposed.

Here, as a corrective to the Times' low murmur, is Brad Friedman's proper coverage of the news: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7600.

MCM

Of note in the Times coverage, von Spakovsky --- top Bush administration "voter fraud" fraudster at the DoJ and FEC --- is quoted as charging the new report doesn't dispel his fantasy of massive Democratic "voter fraud", by telling the paper "no one is ever going to know it unless somebody takes the voter registration list and checks each person who is registered to make sure they are a real person."

Right. So, on that same basis, The BRAD BLOG is calling for an immediate federal investigation into Hans von Spakovsky himself who, we have reason to believe (though we have no actual evidence for it) is currently masterminding a massive voter fraud scam involving millions of illegal GOP voters! He must be stopped! Either for that, or just because he's a plain old anti-American, democracy-hating jackass.