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ACORN Incident Not So Isolated

On September 10, James O’Keefe released a two part video via YouTube and BigGovernment.com, a new website by Andrew Breitbart (Breitbart.TV, Breitbart.com).  The videos (provided below) depicted two employees at the ACORN office in Baltimore, Maryland giving advice to a supposed law student and his prostitute girlfriend.  The ACORN employees coached the couple on setting up a prostitution ring, human trafficking, tax evasion, and tax fraud.  In their official response, Scott Levenson, spokesperson for ACORN’s national offices, said “the portrayal is false and defamatory and an attempt at ‘gotcha journalism.'”  He claimed the couple had attempted the same set-up at at least three other offices, and failed to produce the same results.  Levenson said, “ACORN wants to see the full video before commenting further.”  While this has not been made publicly available, the full audio and a transcript were published less than an hour after the videos hit the web.

Throughout the ordeal, ACORN representatives have attempted to portray the films as part of a “defamatory” “smear campaign” highlighting an isolated incident “not representative of the organization as a whole.”  If this were true, we should expect the employees at another office, say the one in Washington, DC, to -at the very least- refuse to help the alleged student/prostitute couple. Instead, videos released yesterday depicted DC ACORN employees who were more than willing to assist in the proposed criminal activity, and gave the couple much of the same advice they received in Baltimore.

ACORN has since fired all four employees, but the release of the second video casts doubt on the claim that this was atypical behavior.  While Levenson implied O’Keefe visited several other ACORN offices, the filmmaker has yet to release details about any additional videos he may have produced before presenting the material to Breitbart.  However, he did report the Washington, DC video was released “to set the record straight” in response to entrapment claims.

In addition to condemning ACORN, the videos have provided further evidence of intentional media negligence by several major networks and newspapers. CNN and ABC News’ websites carry no mention of the incident other than a syndicated story by Associated Content which stated that ACORN had fired two employees after the video was released.  MSNBC’s website carried no mention of the incident.  In the CNN panel discussing the films, Joe Conason claimed they were “propaganda,” and suggested the couple could be prosecuted for taping the employees without their knowledge.  Unfortunately for Conason, the Maryland law does not apply to video recordings.

Fortunately, the growing weight of evidence against ACORN is starting to take its toll.  The Census Bureau has severed all ties with the organization, and informed the group that they will not be allowed to assist with data collection during the 2010 census.  Representative Steve King (R-IA) stated taxpayers should be outraged that ACORN is receiving public funds, and said the following in a press release on Sept. 10:

“As this video confirms, ACORN continues to operate as a criminal enterprise. Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, Barney Frank and other Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to protect and fund ACORN while blocking Congressional hearings on ACORN’s operations and finances. Shielding ACORN from oversight ensures that this partisan criminal enterprise will continue its shady practices while collecting taxpayer funds.”

My only question is, “Will Democrats in Congress be willing to take action against their cronies?”  I doubt it.