Wall Street Journal Is Wrong About New, ‘Pragmatic’ Al Sharpton

Sharpton report coverIs Reverend Al Sharpton giving up confrontation for pragmatism? An article appearing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday suggests the media-hungry civil-rights leader, with a long history of intimidation and demagoguery, has become a beacon of political moderation in his advancing years. The article, authored by Peter Wallsten, “Obama’s New Partner: Al Sharpton,” notes that President Obama, stung by criticism from the Congressional Black Caucus and other sources of black political opinion, has turned to the New York-based activist and radio talk-show host for advice. The piece is informative and well-researched. Yet it can’t come to grips with the fact that the “new” Sharpton isn’t really different from the old. 

The truth about Sharpton can be found in my 2009 special report titled Mainstreaming Demagoguery: Al Sharpton’s Rise to Respectability. Click here or on the cover above to download a 50-page pdf version.  Thoroughly up to date, it … Read More ➡

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 … Read More ➡

White House Ethics Fix: Expand Backroom Union Health Deal to Everyone

DoctorsPresident Barack Obama is a man who remembers his allies, especially in preparation for a showdown. This Monday, three days before today’s all-day televised bipartisan health care summit, the president unveiled his latest plan for a health care policy overhaul. The measure, 11 pages long, resembles the Senate bill passed on Christmas Eve by a 60-39 margin. Obama knows the prospects for passage are uphill. The plan is costly and its burden will fall on a great many Americans, not just “the rich.” Among its more controversial features, the White House proposal retains, in scaled-down form, a key Senate provision: a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost (“Cadillac” or “gold-plated”) health insurance plans originally scheduled to go into effect in 2013. This January, the White House and top labor officials negotiated a special five-year delay for enrollees in union-sponsored plans. Backroom deals on many other features can’t be counted out this … Read More ➡

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 … Read More ➡

Ethics Group Seeks Freelance Writers

freelance photoNLPC is looking for freelance writers to join our team. The ideal candidate is a self-starter who can work remotely, and who possesses excellent writing skills and a dedication to accurate journalism. Most of all, candidates must share our passion for advancing our message, namely that bigger government means more corruption.

We are looking for writers for both reportorial and analytical pieces within specific areas:

  • Congressional and executive branch corruption
  • bailouts/financial meltdown
  • energy economy intervention/special interests
  • Leftist influence in corporate America

Please take a look at previous posts on our website (www.nlpc.org) for a flavor of our approach and specific interests.

Experience with the pressure-cooker environment of daily blogging is a plus, but since we will (modestly) compensate on per piece basis, we first seek QUALITY, which may allow us to accept both frequent and less frequent submissions. This is an excellent opportunity because NLPC’s postings have very high visibility … Read More ➡

Federal Judge in N.Y. Protects ACORN Government Funding

Steve Kest, Hugh AlleyneRadicals long have used the judicial system as a last-ditch weapon to circumvent legislative decisions.  Last Friday, one of their leading lights, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, showed the advantages of having a federal judge in one’s corner. U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York, a Clinton appointee, issued a preliminary injunction against the recent congressional cutoff of funds for the New Orleans-based nonprofit network. Judge Gershon ruled that Congress back in September violated the rights of the scandal-plagued ACORN by cutting off its funding. As ACORN and/or affiliates have received $53 million from Washington over the past 15 years, the ruling has ramifications for taxpayer funding of the Left generally.  Barack Obama, long a supporter even before becoming president, may be taking special notice.

Over the course of nearly 40 years, ACORN has arguably grown into the central … Read More ➡

Harshbarger Whitewashes ACORN Lawbreaking

Bertha LewisThe 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.

The context here is a series of headline-making amateur undercover videos released on the Internet and network television this past September. A pair of young conservative activists, James O’Keefe, 25, and Hannah Giles, 20, … Read More ➡

ACORN Embezzlement Totaled $5 Million, Internal Audit Asserts

ACORN logoWhere there’s smoke, there’s fire. And in the case of the radical nonprofit network, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, the fire is more than five times as bad as originally reported. According to results from an internal audit released yesterday, top ACORN members embezzled around $5 million during its years under the helm of founder Wade Rathke. That’s well above the roughly $950,000 that Rathke’s brother, former ACORN chief financial officer Dale, reportedly stole during 1999-2000 – and that Wade Rathke ordered covered up lest the incident create bad publicity. Fittingly, current ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis claims the latest allegations to be “completely false.” 

As reported in these pages several times since the original story broke, Wade Rathke, principal co-founder of the New Orleans-based ACORN almost 40 years ago, was forced out of his CEO-chief organizer role last June following revelations that he … Read More ➡

Ex-Official at ACORN-Friendly San Francisco Charity Pleads Guilty

Jason Sanders was an adviser to the Tides Foundation, a San Francisco philanthropy that for over three decades has been a major funding source for progressive-Left projects on issues such as global sustainability, reproductive justice, and AIDS treatment. What his employer didn’t know is that his own favorite cause was himself. This past March 25, Sanders pleaded guilty in San Francisco federal court to embezzling $132,600 from the foundation over a three-year period. He had been indicted last August following an internal audit. From February 2005 to March 2008, federal prosecutors charged, Sanders, now 38, stole funds from the nonprofit group.

The Tides Foundation, formed in 1976, has provided more than $400 million since 2000 alone to countless nonprofit groups around the world. It also generated some unwanted publicity for itself last summer, when The San Francisco Chronicle revealed founder and CEO Drummond Pike to be the unnamed donor … Read More ➡