Over the past eighteen months I have watched with great interest the national cable networks interviews with Ms. Maude Hurd, the National President of ACORN ACORN is an anacronym for, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke and Gary Delgado. It is a community-based organization in the USA that advocates for low- and moderate-income families by working on neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, affordable housing, and other social issues. ACORN has over 400,000 members and more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in over 100 cities across the United States, as well as in Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and Peru.
Here are some of the facts concerning ACORN. Ms. Hurd has denied any wrong doing by ACORN employees or it’s Executives regarding their constitution and bylaws. Ms. Hurd stated undeniably to a cable network that “We at ACORN rebuke your accusations concerning any voter registration fraud committed by our workers. There are no warrants out for any of our employees in any state. And there never has been.” Well, let’s get some of the facts straight for Ms. Hurd and jog her memory just a little.
Fact. ACORN has been the subject of public controversy involving embezzlement, management fights, voter registration fraud committed by its workers, and an undercover expose on employee misconduct that lead to the loss of its contract with the United States Census Bureau.
Fact. In Lake County, Indiana many of the 5,000 new voter registration forms from an ACORN registration drive were deemed problematic by ACORN quality control workers, but were still turned in to election officials as required by state law. These forms were rejected by the election officials, who believed the names had been found and signatures forged based on a local telephone book.
Fact. In a case in Washington state, 7 temporary employees of ACORN were charged with submitting fraudulent voter registrations.
Fact. In March 2008 an ACORN worker was sentenced in Pennsylvania for making 29 phony voter registration forms.
Fact. In August, 2009, ACORN's former Las Vegas director pled guilty to a reduced charge of "conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters" in connection with a quota system for paid registration staff.
Fact. A New York newspaper reported on July 9, 2008, that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke, was found to have embezzled $948,607.50 from the group and affiliated charitable organizations back in 1999 and 2000. ACORN executives decided to handle it as an internal matter, and did not inform most of the board members or law enforcement, and instead signed an enforceable restitution agreement with the Rathke family to repay the amount of the embezzlement. $210,000 has already been repaid.
Fact. On September 9, 2009, a video was released containing edited hidden-camera footage of two part-time ACORN employees appearing to help two activists posing as a prostitute and a male pimp. The video showed the individuals saying they planned to employ 13 teenage girls from El Salvador as prostitutes, and requesting advice on taxes and a home purchase. One of the ACORN employees suggested that the woman list her occupation as a "performance artist" on her tax forms, and claim some of the children as dependents on their tax returns. ACORN subsequently fired the two employees, who admitted no wrongdoing. After the videos emerged, the Census Bureau cut ties with ACORN, which had been tapped to participate in the 2010 census.
Well Ms. Hurd? Conservative critics have claimed that ACORN's complex organizational structure allows it to escape public scrutiny. Not any more. And there will be more to come for ACORN in the future. And I can see the storm clouds on the horizon as I write.