Michael Gaynor
Whistleblower Anita MonCrief's warning to New Yorkers
By Michael Gaynor
December 11, 2008

Anita MonCrief: "Watch out New York! ACORN has been operating as a de facto arm of the Democratic Party for years, and while I am a ardent democrat, I believe that corruption, is corruption-no matter who is participating."

As the rest of the United States learns about corruption in Illinois, Anita MonCrief issued this warning to New Yorkers that all Americans should contemplate very seriously:

Get ready New York: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Most of the big Hollywood disaster movies start with some horrible calamity befalling New York City, sort of like the recent Cloverfield. So it was not surprising to hear of a real life disaster in the making. Get ready New York, Bertha Lewis, SEIU and ACORN national will soon be consolidating power in your city. ACORN has ruled out of New Orleans for years, but now Bertha's has decided to set down roots in the same town with old friends, Bruce Ratner, Alida Rockefeller Messinger and the Rockefeller Family Fund. I can only imagine the possibilities for quid pro quo activities disguised as "community investment."

If ACORN brings with it the long reach of SEIU, this could spell disaster for fair tactics in service an other worker contract negotiations. ACORN and SEIU would also bring their political arms Project Vote and America Votes. For those of you who are not familiar with America Votes, here [are] ACORN's own notes from 2006:

America Votes Overview Notes 04/06/06

Started in 2003 by Rosenthal, EMILY's list, SEIU, big money funders, etc. decided to do field work, a huge non-party political field operation designed to take back White House in 2004. Which failed. ACT was part of this grouping or money and organizations and perhaps the best known. Partially a product of McCain-Feingold.

Part of the were a series of "tables" to coordinate local activity on the called America Votes, which was supposed to be a table of equals, but ended up being an arm of ACT. Also a way of keeping Rothenthal's raging ego from alienating other actors. Tables were places for creating targeted and sensible approach to targeted voters.

Post 2004, ACT disbanded in summer 2005. AV was needed and valuable. SEIU, Soros, and Dem Alliance invested in AV as one key element of progressive electoral work. AV has more resources, still a table of 30 major progressive political orgs, including ACORN (choice, enviros, labor, community). Have its own staff and resources would fill in holes where established groups are missing voters. There will inevitably be tensions around its role and its ability to raise resources. Maggie Fox, deputy political director of Sierra Club and wife of Mark Udall in CO is the new AV ED.

Budgets will be around $1 mil per state, not including the polling and messaging and national support costs.

PA, OH, MI, MN, CO are top tier AV states in 2006. Doing voter mobilization and building the "permanent campaign." The perm cam means many things to many people.

AV tables in each state. Local affiliates of national partners are repped there as are major single state orgs.

Political Money rules:

— We prefer that political money go to us in the form of a vendor, which would be CSI, our for-profit business, which doesn't have to report the cash because it's a business, like the phone company.

— 501c3 cannot help any candidate or party, cannot coordinate with them either. But can take hard money up to $20K for non-partisan activities if from a federal candidate ($20K donor limit, not acceptance limit).

— 527's a political committee that can raise reportable unlimited amounts that can be spent in partisan ways, but cannot coordinate with federal candidates or non-profits. State coordination rules are state by state.

— Three questions: What are rules for raising and spending, what are coordination rules/affiliation rules, what are content rules. Hard money can say anything to anybody. Hard money is money that is raised under the state or federal campaign limits.

I will get into the political impact that has already been seen in other states in another post, but today the focus is on the potential for damage and corruption to New York politics. The Rockefeller Family Fund, Alida Rockefeller Messinger, and other liberal organizations like the New York Community Trust are headquartered in NY, and they have funded ACORN and Project Vote indiscriminately over the years. In an effort to further their own political agendas they have effectively turned a blind a eye to the overt sense of criminal activity that seems to emanate from ACORN negotiations like the Atlantic Yards deal.

In an August board meeting the ACORN board discussed the ramifications of the Ratner loan and some expressed doubts about the resources to pay back the money (many funders were withholding pledges). At this point the president of ACORN Housing promised to cover the note if ACORN could not make the payment. This statement was one of the reasons the ACORN 8 filed suit in New Orleans for access to the books. Apparently ACORN housing receives substantial public and federal support and their interest in the Atlantic Yards deal makes this whole relationships very questionable.

Watch out New York! ACORN has been operating as a de facto arm of the Democratic Party for years, and while I am a ardent democrat, I believe that corruption, is corruption-no matter who is participating.

Here is a paragraph from a minimum wage ACORN political call that took place on March 20, 2006:

Min Wage: MS [Michael Slater] to call Brennan re: potential lawsuit in Ohio. OH moving forward more rapidly in the past, not quite as fast as we want. Switching to pay-to-play streering committee $50K buy-in. Want 10 groups minimum. Thursday meeting with Ohio Trial Lawyers for $$..."

By consolidating power in New York, Bertha Lewis will be able to expand the reach of ACORN and reward old cronies for their loyalty. Business as usual for ACORN. Get ready New York: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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