Obama to ACORN 12/07: “We’re going to be calling all of you in, to help shape the agenda.”

**Please note** This blog has been relocated. You can read this story and more recent post by clicking here.

At the Heartland Democratic Presidency Forum, in December 1, 2007, in Des Moines, IA, a number of community organizing groups gathered through the efforts of Deepak Barghava, leader of the ACORN entity for community reinvestment and fair housing. Senator Barack Obama was in attendance. There is a Youtube video for the event, included at the bottom of the page. It begins with Barghava addressing the crowd stating:

All of this change is coming to a society that is still deeply structured by racism and sexism and unless we change course, these divisions and walls that still separate us will get bigger, not lower. And of course, [inaudible] of community organizing from which everyone in this room comes, which is the power of many, which can change the world

That is why we have created the Campaign for Community Values, bringing together hundreds of grassroots community organizations, from across the United States, to begin today, to continue through the elections to get justice in America for everyone.”

Following this recitation, an unidentified woman questioned Senator Obama:

If elected President of the United States, would you agree to meet with a delegation of representatives of these various community organizations, [inaudible] would you agree to within the first 100 days to sit down with them?”

In reply Sen. Obama stated the following:

Yes, but first, let me just say, before I even get inaugurated, during the transition, we’re going to be calling all of you in, to help shape the agenda. We’re going to be having meetings all across the country with community organizations, so that you have input into the agenda of the next Presidency of the United States of America.

This statement completely contradicts comments Senator Obama made on Tuesday, October 14, to reporters who questioned him about his relationship with the organization. Here is what he said:

Taking a break from debate preparations, Obama told reporters during a brief press conference this afternoon, “My relationship to ACORN is pretty straightforward. It’s probably 13 years ago when I was still practicing law, I represented ACORN and my partner in that representation was the U.S. Justice Department in having Illinois implement what was called the “motor voter” law, to make sure that people could go to DMVs and driver’s license facilities to get registered. It wasn’t being implemented. That was my relationship, and is my relationship to ACORN.”

He said he had further interactions with the group through its Chicago office, in his capacity as a local elected official. “But they are not advising our campaign,” Obama asserted.

Senator Obama, there is no avoiding saying, is one of the most slippery politicians to ever walk on two feet. Outright deceptions are hiding in plain sight in every direction on the mounting contradictions Mr. Obama himself has amazingly managed to perpetrate, with the direct aid of the media. Take careful notice that Sen. Obama stops just a nanometer short in his statement. “But they are not advising our campaign”. We could do a, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”, considering the tortured, parsed language being employed. Perhaps ACORN is not advising Sen. Obama’s campaign. But they have done staging and lighting, I mean, “get out the vote efforts” for his campaign to the tune of $800,000, or least their subsidiary, ancillary, or, let’s all just face it, its front group has done so. And perhaps they are not advising his campaign but they will, he promised “have input” into his Presidency. If you examine the unbelievably careful wording here, you could actually say that Mr. Obama didn’t technically lie. ACORN’s subsidiary did get out the vote work for his campaign. ACORN and many other community organizing groups will help shape his administration’s agenda. It just didn’t or is not going to do both, at the same time. The diabolical kind of rhetorical foresight that must go into preparing these statements is both hard to ignore or deny.

But, as with everything else Obama, these associations have connections rather like the invisible yet rooted, tubular growth found in a mushroom’s “fairy-ring” in the forest. Or perhaps it would be more apt to apply the analogy of cockroaches. For every one you see, there are about 80,000 of them hiding in the wall.

Senator Obama’s site “Fight the Smears” has presented to its visitors a list of facts regarding Mr. Obama’s relationship with the infamous ACORN, available, one must add, by using the handy “Not the Smear You’re Looking For? Search All Smears” search box in the upper right hand corner of the site’s homepage. By the way, I’m really not making that up. Besides the parody that title is, in and of itself, since when does a politician need a site dedicated entirely to all the “smears” against him, let alone an entire searchable database of them? If the consequences to the country of an Obama Presidency weren’t so serious, it would actually be hysterically funny. “Not the Smear You’re Looking For?” How many do there have to be, for the love of Pete? There is only one thing, really, that can be true: Either the “Republican Attack Machine” is so completely out of control in this election cycle that they are making up loads of smears (again, enough to fill a searchable database) about an opponent, or, there are so many troubling things about a candidate, that they had to dedicate an entire website to fending off the coming attacks.

Anyway, to las cucrachas. As noted, by using the handy “Search All Smears” tool, one finds that Sen. Obama not only plainly contradicted himself yesterday, to reporters, despite the tap dance act, he contradicts himself on his own websites by his own campaign’s statements and those of his supporters.”Fight the Smears” reports the following:

Fact: Barack was never an ACORN community organizer.
Fact: ACORN never hired Obama as a trainer, organizer, or any type of employee.
Fact: ACORN was not part of Project Vote, the successful voter registration drive Barack ran in 1992.

In his capacity as an attorney, Barack represented ACORN in a successful lawsuit alongside the U.S. Department of Justice against the state of Illinois to force state compliance with a federal voting access law. For his work helping enforce the law, called “Motor Voter,” Barack received the IVIIPO Legal Eagle Award in 1995.

The “Obama for America” campaign site includes the option for visitors to participate in a “Community Blog”. One of these posts, by a Sam Graham-Felsen, dated February 21, 2008, details, among other things, how Obama himself, addressing ACORN leaders, said the following in November 2007:

“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career.  Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”

Again, if one carefully parses the words used by Obama, he didn’t technically lie with his own words. While claiming ACORN was “not part of Project Vote”, he states they were “smack dab in the middle of it”. This one’s a little trickier than the “advising, campaigning, get out the vote, presidency”, sleight of tongue trick, but it can be done and here’s how: Technically, you could be in the middle of something and not be a part of it. You know, like, um, like,…..an Oreo cookie! Yeah, that’ s it. The frosting is, smack in the middle of the cookie, but it’s not technically part of the chocolaty wafer things on either side. They are, technically, separate entities. So one could, technically say, that the overall “cookie” here was the general get out the vote effort during the election cycle in question. But, the wafers (Project Vote) and the frosting (ACORN) were separate parts of that cookie, but not really together.

Something that is yet another root, tentacle, or cockroach, pick whichever analogy you want to use, is that at least at this point, Project Vote and ACORN are working together.

From Project Vote Home Page

From Project Vote Home Page

The snapshot at the right is a blurb found on Project Vote regarding the large number of new voters the organization had registered, together. A search of the site doesn’t give any informatoin on Project Vote’s history with ACORN, just its inception date of 1982 and its general mission.

As with a number of these questionable associations, the tentacles reach in many directions, but trying to grab onto clear facts is difficult.

In any case, the diabolical planning here must just keep teams of rhetoricians very busy at the Obama campaign. Between those careful sentence crafters and the maintenance staff of the “Fight the Smears” site, there is absolute job security for anyone employed by Obama. Maybe that’s why he thinks campaigning for President makes you qualified to be President. The rest of us just have no idea how hard it is to manage all of these people, afterall, it requires a very large staff.

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Obama Was Co-Counsel Against Citibank in 1994 Suit for “Red-lining” – Can You Say ACORN?

Senator Obama Has Said He “Never Organized With ACORN” or “Worked For Them in Any Capacity” and Has Pointed Fingers at Wall Street and Bush’s Policies,  Anyone, and Everyone But Himself (or His Own Party) in the Sub-Prime Mortgage Mess…

But His Associations and Prior Activities Put in Him Directly At Ground Zero of the Financial Crisis and Only Raise Many More Questions

On June 12, 2008, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama’s campaign set up a website dedicated to fighting “viscous rumors” about the candidate. The site, entitled “Fight the Smears” seems to have a “smear du jour” which it addresses and lists nineteen separate issues on which the campaign apparently feels its candidate has been unfairly “smeared” to date. For instance, the issue of the day, October 9, regards Sen. Obama’s “tangential” relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist-turned Professor of Education and author, William Ayers.

One of the issues addressed concerns the now widely discussed organization, ACORN. The group’s acroynm stands for Associatons of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and describes itself as:

The nation’s largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 110 cities across the country.  Since 1970, ACORN has been building community organizations that are committed to social and economic justice, and won victories on thousands of issues of concern to our members, through direct action, negotiation, legislative advocacy and voter participation.  ACORN helps those who have historically been locked out become powerful players in our democratic system.

ACORN has a purportedly separate, incorporated entity, that was specifically created to address housing issues:

National non-profit ACORN Housing has been providing free housing counseling to low and moderate income homebuyers since 1987. We have opened HUD-certified, Fannie Mae-approved housing counseling offices across the US, helping over 50,000 families to achieve homeownership.

Obama’s “Fight the Smears” site includes a page with “acornrumor” in the address bar. This page states that “Obama never organized with ACORN.” In addition, the Campaign asserts that Obama never trained for ACORN nor was he employed by them in any other capacity other than his representation of the organization in a 1995 suit against the Justice Department for violations of the “Motor Voter” law in Illinois. Finally, the campaign reports that ACORN was not involved in Obama’s 1992 effort “Project Vote“. The Fight the Smears site addresses accusations by a Ken Blackwell that the campaign describes as a “voter suppression guru”. If Mr. Blackwell, whoever he is, was the only party questioning Mr. Obama’s associations with ACORN, he might be worth looking into. Rumor aside, there is no question that Sen. Obama has a long history with ACORN.

Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and an investigative reporter for National Review, has spent months intensively investigating Senator Obama, including his connections with William Ayers and the Annenburg Challenge, and with ACORN. One of many, the article “Inside Obama’s ACORN” best details the organization’s true history, intent, and Obama’s connection with it.

Any spinning Obama and his campaign have done notwithstanding, Mr. Kurtz has done his homework. He cites many sources for his articles. One of those mentioned in “Inside…” is an LA Times article, which quotes ACORN’s Madeleine Talbot:

” ‘He got people to vote with their feet’ on the issue, organizer Madeleine Talbot said. At the time, Talbot worked at the social action group ACORN and initially considered Obama a competitor. But she became so impressed with his work that she invited him to help train her staff.”

Perhaps Obama and Company intend to play the careful parsing of words game on this issue. It’s wildly reminiscent of “It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.” However, this one doesn’t pass “the smell test”. Mr. Kurtz’s article begins with, “What if Barack Obama’s most important radical connection has been hiding in plain sight all along?” Mr. Kurtz may not know how right he was. Unbelievably, on the Obama campaign site, there is a “Community Blog” post by a Sam Graham-Felsen dated February 21, 2008, which details, among other things, how Obama himself, addressing ACORN leaders in November, 2007 said:

“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career.  Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”

The unbridled arrogance of Mr. Obama, his campaign, and the media truly leaves one speechless. None of these superior beings apparently anticpates that any of us know how to read or work our way around a search engine.

It is not surprising that the tip-toeing through the tulips on the ACORN issue is in full swing, considering the recent public outrage at the possibility of additional ACORN funding being slipped into the recent Bailout Bill and rapidly mounting reports of voter fraud by the organization.

The community organizations element of ACORN is the official entity currently embroiled in voter registration fraud in twelve states throughout the country. ACORN’s Political Director in Ohio, Mari Engelhardt, admitted on Tuesday, October 7, that it couldn’t “perfectly” prevent fraud. ACORN attorney Teresa James admitted, “We do not have the resources to know if a particular card is fictitious.”

Late this evening (Oct. 9), a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judge issued a temporary restraining order against Ohio Attorney General Jennifer Brunner because, to paraphrase the information relayed by Greta Van Susteren during her show, On the Record, “Brunner is not doing enough to investigate voter fraud.” The Attorney General intends to appeal the ruling. Despite my extensive efforts to discover detailed information about the ruling, there is nothing as of yet available online.

Apparently, all of the above concerns prompted House of Representatives Minority Leader from Ohio, John Boehner, to call today for all federal funding to ACORN to stop as well as for a prohibition against any candidates for federal office contracting with ACORN for campaign work.

Obviously, the outcome of the voter fraud problems are yet to be determined as are any actions that result from Sen. Boehner’s proposals. The second appeal from Boehner results directly from the fact that Barack Obama, despite denying any connection with ACORN, contracted with Citizen’s Services, Inc, a subsidiary of ACORN for services rendered to his campaign in the amount of $800,000. As an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on August 22, 2008, details, Citizen’s Services, Inc. was described on an ACORN publication in 2006 as “‘ACORN’s campaign services entity”‘. Besides ACORN’s own publication, the article also details that the headquarters of Citizen’s Services, Inc., are listed as existing at the same address as ACORN’s national headquarters. As the links above note, there is ample information available that confirms the assertion is true. I intend to spend further time looking at the address, 1024 Elysian Fields, New Oreleans, LA, and for further newinformation on ACORN and Citizen’s Services, Inc., as my researching their addresses reveals a large number of other organizations at the same address, which must mean this is a huge building or there are some questions that need to be raised. Further, the tax-exempt database I linked for the ACORN address above displays that ACORN keeps its money in an offshore bank account in the Virgin Islands, which I find just plain odd.

It is clear that Citizen’s Services and ACORN are essentially one and the same. The Obama for America campaign initially reported a varied list of services that the group was supposed to have performed (see the sidebar in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article linked above) that seem curiously out of place, considering the nature of the organization. The campaign ultimately revised its reports, citing simple filing error. The revision is to report the services of Citizen’s as “field work”.

Not only is it disturbing that Mr. Obama and his campaign believe that denying any connection to ACORN is plausible, it is disturbing that the ACORN entity in Louisiana appears to be registered as the incorporated housing entity. It is troubling because the organization receives federal funds and calls in to question why this federally funded group would have any connection with an affliate that performs campaign services. There is a clear conflict of interest, at the very least. ACORN, in any form, having been the recipient of tax dollars, should not be working for any political candidates nor should it be endorsing them. The left-wing publication The Nation, proudly crowed on February 23, 2008, that ACORN’s PAC had given Obama it’s “important endorsement”. Yes, in addition to ACORN’s many other tentacles, the organization seems to have a Political Action Committee. The above mentioned “Community Blog” is actually a report of ACORN’s endorsement of Obama for President.

The only relationship Obama publicly owns in regards to ACORN is his work as an attorney for them in suing the Justice Dept. per the Motor Voter Law. Besides all of the other connections, it appears that there is another legal case Mr. Obama has failed to mention.

In 1994, Obama was one of the attorneys listed on a lawsuit against Citibank in which the plaintiffs claim the bank was engaged in “red-lining” or refusing to grant mortgages to people in particular neighborhoods in Chicago.

Clicking here will allow you to see actual final documents in the case. It is a .PDF file.

Clicking here will allow you to see detailed records of the case at a site called “The Civil Rights Litigation Clearing House”

Note that the case is entitled “Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank”. Due to the nature of such a case, which, to the best of my understanding, requires an individual private citizen or citizens as plaintiffs, and not a non-profit organization, ACORN’s name is not listed anywhere in the documentation. In order for the plaintiff to have standing in the case, they have had to have been damaged. Since ACORN as an entity doesn’t apply for mortgages on private homes for itself, it cannot sue banks, and so the organization most likely found some victims to prove its point.

Even if this particular case has no connection whatever to ACORN, and that looks most likely not plausible at this stage, it is clearly a tactic straight out of the ACORN playbook. There is no denying that Mr. Obama engaged in filing a lawsuit that had the same purpose as pushing for more and more people to be granted loans who couldn’t afford them. These kinds of measures share not only the same purpose, they had the same effect: the collapse of the sub-prime lending market, in addition to terrible monetary policy by the FED, have led us to the current financial crisis.

Citibank likely rejected loan applications for homes in the neighborhoods that were “red-lined” because they were graded as areas for high-risk of default or were of market values that were so low, the costs of establishing and servicing mortgages for homes in those areas exceeded any potential profit. In other words, Citibank was likely employing sound business practice and attempting to avoid granting mortgage loans to people who they had deemed were at high risk for default.

Lawsuits like Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank directly contributed to forcing banks to grant risky mortgages. It again, is not surprising that Obama makes no mention of any such measures taken by “community organizations” or attorneys that helped to lead to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Instead, he blames the Bush policies and capitalism. There is no question that Pres. Bush, his Treasury Secretary, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board deserve much blame for the current crisis, but the entire strategy of giving loans to people who couldn’t afford them, gets at least half of the blame.

Besides his involvement in the Citibank suit, Obama received $105,849 from Fannie Mae and its employees since being elected to the Senate in 2006. That makes him the #3 recipient on the list. He is only topped by Connecticut Sen. Dodd at $133,900 and Massuchusetts Sen. John Kerry at $111,000. The list actually records all donations received from 1989-2008. Dodd has been in office since 1981, meaning the amount he has received may have been spread out over the last seven years, and the same is true for Sen. Kerry, who has also been in office for much longer than the term of the report. Sen. Obama has been campaigning for much of his first term in the Senate, and has reportedly spent 141 actually serving in Washington, D.C., since taking office. That means he received $756 in contributions from Fannie Mae and its employees for every day he served.

It’s hard to imagine that kind of money has no influence on a politician’s policy decisions. Further, it causes one to wonder why Fannie Mae executives and employees thought the Senator was so worthwhile an investment? Could it be that the continued reckless practices of out-of-control lending were concepts he particularly endorsed? Put together with his involvement the Citibank suit, tax policies of forced “fairness”, belief that healthcare is a “right”, and intent to tax businesses at high rates, it doesn’t take a leap to understand that Fannie Mae would find a friend in Barack Obama.

The questions that beg asking are: Where is the media to ask these questions? Why didn’t they dig up the information about the Citibank suit?