Achieving justice, Al Sharpton-style, isn’t cost-free. And even his natural allies are admitting that the New York-based civil rights leader-provocateur can’t say “no” when it comes to money. This Tuesday, the New York Post published an article on a Staten Island, N.Y. rally on behalf of the late Eric Garner, a local black resident who died last July 17 soon after being arrested by police. Rev. Sharpton has championed his cause, insisting that white cops had racial motivations in using a banned chokehold in the arrest, which involved Garner’s attempted sale of loose cigarettes. Yet Garner’s adult daughter, Erica Snipes, is not impressed. Asked by an undercover video journalist if she thought Sharpton was a crook, she responded, “He’s (Sharpton’s) about this,” rubbing her fingers together. And she’s not the only person who feels the Rev is putting his bank account first.
NLPC has reported regularly on several of the large-ticket boondoggles that have received taxpayer support via President Obama’s “green” stimulus initiatives, but for every Fisker, Nissan Leaf or Ecotality, there are thousands of smaller, equally unworthy beneficiaries that deserve public scorn.
Government watchdogs – both “professional” and amateur – can scour the Recovery.gov Web site and find the waste pretty easily. But KCNC-TV reporter Brian Maass had the stimulus program come to his doorstep. Denver had launched a program, paid for out of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to plant about 4,000 trees at private residences (photo courtesy KCNC) – many in high-priced neighborhoods that didn’t need the free shade.
“This fella said, ‘How would you like to have a tree in your yard?’ And I said, ‘Really?,’” said John Backlund, who lives in Denver’s Cherry Creek North neighborhood in a home worth more …
Another undercover operation by Project Veritas, which is led by investigative video specialist James O’Keefe, has revealed what labor unions truly believe about the billions of dollars that go toward the alleged “greening” of our energy usage.
Those were the words that came out of the mouth of John Hutchings, a legislator for New York’s Broome County, who is also a construction market representative for the Laborers International Union for upstate New York. He is also an executive officer of the Central New York Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, according to his bio.
Project Veritas actors, who portrayed leaders of a make-believe company called Earth Supply and Renewal, captured the remark in a meeting they obtained with Hutchings and other union leaders to discuss the possibility (again, this was an act) of winning government grants or contracts for their work. The only problem was that Earth Supply and Renewal …
As far as operations in Maryland go, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is no more. On Monday the group’s former state co-chairwoman, Sonja Merchant-Jones, announced that the group has shut down all of its offices and in the foreseeable future would not operate under a new name. The announcement is a coda to the wave of bad publicity befalling the parent organization since last September following the airing of videos filmed by a young conservative activist couple, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute. The hidden camera sting, posted on the Web and Fox News Channel, caught ACORN office employees in Baltimore and other U.S. cities giving advice on how to skirt around the law in order to obtain small business loans.
In a sense, the announcement was anticlimactic. The Maryland offices of the New Orleans-based nonprofit anti-poverty network …
The scandal-ridden Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, needs money. And more than ever it’s counting on the federal government to deliver it. A December 11 ruling by a federal judge in New York overturning a funding ban in the current budget may well reopen the floodgates. Ironically, it’s the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that stands in the way. On December 16, the department filed a memorandum opposing the New Orleans-based nationwide radical nonprofit “anti-poverty” network’s claim that it had been unjustly singled out for a funding cutoff for Fiscal Year 2010. In other words, the government, for a change, was protecting taxpayer interests. Whether those interests prevail in court depends on interpretations of the Constitution’s ban on bills of attainder and its protection of due process and freedom of association.
Let’s backtrack a bit. September 2009 was not a good month for ACORN. Already reeling …
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, has a justly earned reputation this decade for voter registration fraud, embezzlement and other illegal acts. Yet according to an eagerly-awaited internal assessment released yesterday, the radical nationwide nonprofit network’s main, if not sole, problem is inadequate employee training and oversight. The audit, supervised by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, had been prompted by employees of ACORN offices in different cities caught in a video sting this summer giving advice on how to hide assets and falsify loan documents. The New Orleans-based “anti-poverty” organization and its defenders see vindication. Critics see a whitewash, a set of rigged conclusions. The latter view is hard to avoid.
Citigroup has advised NLPC that Senior Vice President Eric Eve has resigned for ACORN’s Advisory Committee. In a September 28 letter to Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, I asked that the bank sever its relationship with ACORN, including Eve’s membership on the Committee.
In an October 29 reply, Citigroup also stated that it has “suspended our charitable financial support and program relationship with ACORN, and we are awaiting the results of the independent audit of ACORN activities now underway.”
Now that taxpayers are Citigroup’s biggest shareholder, owning 36% of common stock, it is time for the company and its foundation to end its relationship with ACORN and its affiliates.
Citigroup has received $45 billion in taxpayer TARP funds. In addition, taxpayers are on the hook for the lion’s share of losses on the company’s $335 billion loan portfolio.
According to the 2008 annual tax return of the Citi Foundation, it provided the ACORN Institute, Inc. with grants of $500,000 for each of the years 2006, 2007 and 2008, for a total of $1.5 million.
According to the ACORN Institute website:
The ACORN Institute operates a countrywide network of ACORN Centers which (sic) provide free tax preparation, benefits enrollment, and foreclosure prevention services. In partnership with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)…
Working in conjunction with major national partners such as Citigroup, H&R Block,
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is fast becoming radioactive to any organization contemplating doing business (or further business) with it. Federal agencies are no exception to the growing list of entities that recently have dropped their ties to the New Orleans-based nonprofit network. The Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday that it no longer would include ACORN as a partner in its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The action comes in the wake of the House and Senate last week overwhelmingly voting to cut off federal funds to the group; the Census Bureau’s announcement that it would not include ACORN members as enumerators for next year’s Census of Population; and the Justice Department’s announcement of plans to review its grants to the organization. ACORN’s efforts at damage control, which now includes a lawsuit, can’t hide its looming implosion.
The IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program …