'Mission Accomplished' for anti-democracy GOP scam artists...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010, 12:43pm PT  

Just one day after the New York Time's Public Editor Clark Hoyt finally admitted that both he and his paper were "wrong" in the way, for the last six months, they unskeptically and inaccurately covered the Rightwing hoaxsters who released doctored-up, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped hit videos targeting the national community organization ACORN, largely for their work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low-income voters so they could have their voice heard in their own democracy, the group is announcing that it will be "bringing its operations to a close".

We should take the time to note here, since the corporate mainstream media likely will not, that there is no evidence that any vote has ever been cast illegally in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker. Of the very few ACORN workers found to have submitted illegal registrations, almost every one of them was turned in to officials by ACORN themselves. Again: no voter ever registered improperly by an ACORN worker has ever cast a single vote in any election.

The following statement has just been sent to The BRAD BLOG by ACORN spokesperson Kevin Whelan concerning the group's plan to shut down:

In a organizational statement released today, ACORN said:

The ACORN Association Board met on Sunday March 21 and approved a set of steps to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months. These include:

  • Closing ACORN's remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1st; and
  • Developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts, obligations and other issues.

ACORN's members have a great deal to be proud of--from promoting to homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation --- ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.

Neither Andrew Breitbart nor James O'Keefe, the partisan propagandists who created and published the scam videos which ultimately helped to destroy the valuable community group, could be reached for comment to learn whether or not they planned to target widows' and orphans' groups next.

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, however, issued the following statement over the weekend as a reminder of the group's successes, in light of the now-successful years-long Rightwing hit job intended to cripple the organization for having the temerity to be one of those thousand points of light you've heard about, helping the neglected and the poor in our society --- more than 400,000 low-income families in 75 cities --- the folks who need such help the most...

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2010
Contact: Kevin Whelan, kwhelan@acorn.org

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said in statement released on Saturday, March 20th:

For 40 years ACORN has been committed to fighting for its members and improving the lives of the most vulnerable Americans. The ACORN Association Board is meeting (by phone) this weekend will be making some very tough decisions about the future of their organization.

ACORN has faced a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era. Our effective work empowering African American and low-income voters made us a target. The videos were a manufactured, sensational story that led to rush to judgment and an unconstitutional act by Congress.

For ACORN as a national organization, our vindication on the facts doesn't necessarily pay the bills. I know that ACORN's dedicated community members will continue to speak out for justice and organize in their communities.

Background:
ACORN, a national network of community organizations has conducted campaigns to win living wages for low income workers; an end to predatory financial practices and foreclosures; decent and affordable housing, for first time homebuyers and tenants; better public schools; voting rights; a path to citizenship for new immigrants to this country; and an equitable response to natural disasters such as Katrina.

The organization came under attack from Republicans after it helped millions of mostly minority and low-income citizens apply to register to vote in recent years. The attacks escalated in September, 2009 after a video sting operation by conservative activists led to a Congressional vote to "defund" the group. The controversy sapped the organization's resources and hampered its fundraising. On March 1, 2010 Brooklyn prosecutors on Monday cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing after a four-month probe triggered by the films produced by undercover conservative activists. "They edited the tape to meet their agenda," a source in the District Attorney's office told the New York Daily News.

On March 10th Federal judge Nina Gershon again declared unconstitutional the federal law which blacklisted ACORN and allied organizations. The judge ordered government to make it clear the funding isn't blocked. Last year an independent report by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger examining the undercover videos filmed in offices of the national anti-poverty group ACORN states the employees portrayed in the videos did not engage in any illegal activity. Another study by the Congressional Research Service (http://judiciary.house.gov/news/091222.htm) cleared the group of charges leveled by right wing activist hostile to its voter registration work and stated that there were no instances were identified in which ACORN "violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years."

Details on the victories and important work the group has accomplished over the last decade --- work they won't be there to do any more, so perhaps the government will be forced to pick up that slack instead? --- are included in this PDF, also sent by ACORN.

The mainstream media ought to hang their heads in shame tonight. The BRAD BLOG will continue our efforts to see that they do and that someone is finally held accountable for their unforgivable failings to this nation.

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