SEIU-Controlled Nonprofit Network Grows in Size, Boldness

SEIU logo‘Occupy Wall Street’ and similar protests around the nation were only the beginning. The Service Employees International Union, as much as anyone, is making sure of it. The SEIU these past several months has been playing a crucial behind-the-scenes role in transforming these rallies into the raw material for a new generation of activists. Through varied front groups, the union is taking its fight against banks, energy companies and other corporations to a new level, making sure reluctant elected officials feel their wrath. These nonprofit organizations, typically operating under monikers such as “good jobs” and “a fair economy,” may seem spontaneous and benign. Yet they are union stage-managed. And as their leaders become more sophisticated and networked, unions may wind up a good deal more effective in their drive to place the U.S. economy under public control. 

Union Corruption Update last October discussed at length how organized labor has …

Unions Play Major Role in ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests

Wall Street protest photoAs “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations have gone national, observers are taking note of the prominent role of labor unions in this anti-business crusade. The rote denunciations of “corporate greed” at these events could have been lifted from almost any AFL-CIO convention speech. That doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, that union organizers are putting words in protestors’ mouths. Yet it does strongly suggest that organized labor and street radicals recognize each other as natural allies. Given their overlapping worlds, it’s fitting that one of the prime movers behind this far-Left, multi-city sturm und drang festival is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), some of whose top operatives are highly experienced in the art of damaging the reputation of major companies. And there are plenty of other unions getting in on the action. Ironically, anti-corporate activists are being enabled by corporations themselves. 

Occupy Wall Street, formally speaking, began on September 17. On that …

HUD Still Funds ACORN Affiliate Despite Ban

The remains of ACORN As a tactic for generating federal subsidies, “bait and switch” works. Case in point: The now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. The blogosphere has been alive during the past week over the release this past March by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of a grant of nearly $80,000 to Affordable Housing Centers of America, which until 18 months ago operated as ACORN Housing Corporation. Though the grant was a carryover from fiscal year 2010, the revelation notwithstanding raises the possibility that the Obama administration is ignoring a 2009 congressional ban on federal support to ACORN and its affiliates, a ban overturned by a lower court but restored by a federal appeals court. 

National Legal and Policy Center on many occasions over the last several years has recounted the disturbing saga of ACORN, a nationwide nonprofit network which came to represent about …

Ex-SEIU Official Caught on Tape Revealing Economic Destabilization Plan

Andrew SternStephen Lerner is a hard person to admire. His specialty, after all, is economic sabotage. Yet his utility to the cause of public accountability is undeniable. Lerner, a longtime official with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) until his supposed ouster last November, was caught on March 18 and 19 on audiotape speaking before a closed-session audience at Pace University in Manhattan describing an SEIU plan to destabilize the U.S. economy. The campaign, which he heads, intends to take down the financial sector and trigger a massive redistribution of wealth and power. Cynics might note that it was The Blaze, the website started last summer by bombastic TV host Glenn Beck, which posted the recordings. Yet the tapes sound completely undoctored and spontaneous. And they ought to raise questions about the leadership of the SEIU, especially under President Andrew Stern (see photo), who departed a year ago. 

The Service Employees International Union …

HUD Report Reveals Misspending by ACORN Affiliate; Seeks Repayment

ACORN evidenceThe radical nationwide nonprofit network, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – better known as ACORN – has wound down operations in an effort at damage control. A new government report suggests more spin will be needed. On September 21 the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), released an evaluation (see pdf) of certain expenditures of ACORN Housing Corporation (AHC), one of the largest affiliates under the ACORN umbrella. The review concluded that the Chicago-based nonprofit had misspent a sizable portion of the roughly $3.25 million it received from HUD during fiscal years 2008-09. While that $3.25 million figure in turn was only a little over a tenth of the more than $30 million in grants to AHC during that two-year period, the audit suggests that the entity, like its parent organization, has had a serious ethical blind spot. And HUD wants some of the money …

Appeals Court Upholds ACORN Funding Cutoff — For Now

ACORN evidenceWhatever guises the discredited Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, assumes in the future, taxpayers now have less reason to worry about being conscripted into funding them. This past Friday, a Manhattan federal appeals court ruled that Congress last fall had acted within its authority in deleting funds for the radical nonprofit community network. In overturning a lower court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals determined the appropriations cutoff had not punished ACORN without trial and thus was not in violation of the constitutional ban on bills of attainder. The decision was partial; the appeals court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon to decide whether ACORN’s free speech and due process rights also had been violated. Even on those grounds, the plaintiffs’ case looks shaky.

National Legal and Policy Center has provided extensive coverage of the recent travails of the New Orleans-based ACORN, …

ACORN Formally Disbands; May Reform Under New Name

ACORN's Bertha Lewis If character is destiny, then the demise of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, was almost inevitable. ACORN, or what’s left of it, yesterday announced that it will officially cease to exist as of next Thursday, April 1. The move wasn’t entirely unexpected. Only a week earlier, the nationwide nonprofit anti-poverty group’s Maryland chapter announced it had closed shop, with no plans to reopen; the New York and California state chapters did likewise shortly before, reopening under new names. The national group is currently considering whether to file for bankruptcy.

A virtual adjunct of the Democratic Party’s hard Left, the 400,000-member nationwide nonprofit anti-poverty network had undergone a severe loss of credibility in the wake of publicized investigations into embezzlement, tax fraud and voter registration fraud by its members. As a result, much of its funding has dried up. The ACORN national board on Sunday closed its …

Maryland’s ACORN Chapter Closes Operations

ACORN conferenceAs 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 …

ACORN Local Chapters Declare Independence; Makeover Appears Cosmetic

ACORN officialsIt's hard to imagine the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, suddenly developing a case of contrition or modesty. So the raft of reports racing across the blogosphere today that the New Orleans-based nationwide radical nonprofit network is on the brink of dissolving itself should be taken with a degree of skepticism. The move may be little more than savvy public relations. "ACORN has dissolved as a national structure of state organizations," remarked an unnamed senior official close to the organization. "Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution, independence and self-sufficiency." The source added that the splinter organizations "will be constituted under new banners and new bylaws and new governance.

Whether or not one sees this as old wine poured into a new bottle, there is little question that the ACORN brand name, which now …

Senate Committee Approves Radical Obama NLRB Nominee; Filibuster Likely

NLRB's Peter Schaumber and Wilma LiebmanTo many of its critics, the National Labor Relations Board might well be renamed the National Organized Labor Relations Board. That’s because this ostensibly impartial federal adjudication body frequently has displayed a discernible pro-union tilt. President Obama is primed to push the NLRB further in that direction given that fully three positions on the five-person board are now vacant. Of the nominees who face final confirmation to fill those slots, by far the most controversial is Craig Becker, approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions this past Thursday by a 13-10 margin. As associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO, and as a well-published law professor, Becker has amassed a substantial track record of union partisanship. He’s also shown himself, though less than readily, to be an ally of the radical and shady nonprofit network, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform …

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