Michael Gaynor
Glenn Beck's supporting the ACORN 8
By Michael Gaynor
May 12, 2009

ACORN was out for power from the start and not concerned about legalities, much less niceties.

Glenn Beck is focusing on the scandal that is ACORN in a big way.


Investigation shows that the notion that ACORN is a good organization that recently lost its way is untrue.

Beck should check with a source of mine — "Margy the Teacher" — about whom I wrote an article posted on October 24, 2008 and titled "'Margy the Teacher' Appreciated the ACORN Threat.

ACORN was out for power from the start and not concerned about legalities, much less niceties.

As I wrote:

"'Margy the Teacher' knew what ACORN (Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now) was about back in the 1970's.

"Born in 1940, Margy is now a retired teacher and the owner and operator of a bed and breakfast.

"Margy served on a local school board in Texas from 1978 to 1985 and took her responsibilities seriously.

"In 1980, Margy testified before the Texas State Board of Education, objecting to a page about ACORN in a book titled 'Comparing Political Behavior,' published by Prentice-Hall.

"Margy had read the Houston Post, now defunct, and kept a copy of an article about ACORN published in the May 6, 1979 edition.

"That article is titled 'Group hopes to gain control of U.S. power' and begins with the ACORN recruiting song: 'Aren't you tired of seein' the way that your own country's being run? For the sake of Monster Profit, they would even steal your son. And if you think it's bad, well, buster, you can bet it will grow worse. So you better start to organize, or empty out your purse!'

"The lead sentence of the article reported: 'ACORN organizers are taught to be ever aware their goal is to create a massive political pressure group which ultimately will take over the full operation of this country — for the benefit of "low-to-moderate-income" Americans.'

"Former ACORN organizer and trainer Obama is indeed 'The One' ACORN wants to put in the White House.

"The article quoted from a 40-page booklet, Community Organizing: Handbook 2," issued in 1977 by the Arkansas Institute for Social Justice and drawn 'particularly from the ACORN model.'

"The ACORN philosophy is stated unambiguously: 'Behind the organization's concern with these issues is a basic understanding which says that all these issues are mere manifestations of a much more fundamental issue: The distribution of power in this country.'

"The article describes issues as 'vehicle[s] toward the[e] goal,' and the goal as 'building power through the organization of a low-to-moderate income majority.'


'One of the more candid discussions of ACORN's involvement in electoral politics is found in the reminiscence of John Beam who coordinated the efforts of the justices of the peace ACORN was instrumental in electing to the Pulaski County Arkansas Quorum Court, the budget-making body the handbook calls the country's largest legislative body.

'Beam noted that the 175 ACORN endorsees who were elected had the potential for real power as the court — whose membership has since been shrunk considerably — frequently had trouble assembling a quorum of 234 members.

'"The task for the members, leaders and staff of ACORN was to translate this potential into some sort of change...The ACORN members elected to the court were not experienced politicians. Their legislative skills ranged from minimal PTA sophistication to functional illiteracy. What they shared in common was a loyalty to ACORN and its version of a fairer deal for low to moderate income people.'

"In April 1979, ACORN advertised for organizers in 'Mother Jones,' a magazine named after '[p]ioneer socialist Mary Harris "Mother" Jones,' on the same page as the Marxist Guardian, the Anarchist Cookbook and 'readable radical scholarship' were advertised.

"That textbook to which 'Margy the Teacher' objected had a full 'ACORN and Citizenship' page lauding ACORN, deeming 1970 'memorable' because Wade Rathke and other organized ACORN, and concluding: 'Does your community have an organization similar to ACORN? If it does, briefly describe the organization and what it has accomplished. If there is no such organization in your community, think about whether one is needed and the kinds of concerns it could tackle.'

"'Margy the Teacher' also objected to a high school government textbook titled American Political Behavior that recommended Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, an ACORN bible.

"Mr. Alinsky actually suggested using blacks as 'natural stink bombs' so that '[t]he law would be completely paralyzed.'

"From p. 139 of Rules for Radicals: 'I suggested that we might buy one hundred seats for one of Rochester's symphony concerts. We would select a concert in which the music was relatively quiet. The hundred blacks who would be given the tickets would first be treated to a three-hour pre-concert dinner in the community, in which they would be fed nothing but baked beans, and lots of them; then the people would go to the symphony hall — with obvious consequences. Imagine the scene when the action began! The concert would be over before the first movement! (If this be a Freudian slip — so be it!)'

"The last sentence on p. 139 opined that if Alinsky's 'natural stink bomb' attack were to be executed, '[t]he law would be completely paralyzed.'"

ACORN did not just go bad recently!

Beck is lauding Marcel Reid and Karen Inman, the leaders of the ACORN 8, a dissident group, for demanding accountability at ACORN, for which they were dismissed from ACORN's national board.

Rightfully so.

But America needs more than the ACORN 8 are calling for on their website (www.acorn-8.net).

The ACORN 8 refer to themselves on the homepage of their website as "Members Fighting for Truth, Transparency and Accountability Within ACORN."

"Within ACORN" is NOT enough.

America needs truth, transparency and accountability FROM ACORN.

As a 501(c)(4) organization, ACORN should be transparent and account to the federal government as well as to the donors that fund ACORN.

The "Why We're Fighting" page at the website site stated:

"Like you, we're activists. We're dedicated to helping people like ourselves — people of limited means — get a better shake. That's why we joined ACORN in the first place. That's why we're fighting now to make it an open organization with clean books, honest leadership and a willingness to grow through scrutiny and criticism.

"ACORN has suffered through the turmoil of embezzlement of huge amounts of money by key figures in the organization. To move forward it needs to openly confront the past and eliminate the possibility of such abuse in the future.

"That's what the ACORN 8, and this site, are about."

All that is good, but action is needed, not just good words and good intentions, and the ACORN 8 need help.

The "Who We Are" page states:

"We're a group of ACORN members — leaders at the state and national level — who asked hard questions about an embezzlement and cover-up that occurred eight years ago within the organization. The founder's brother embezzled about $1 million from ACORN. He was allowed to remain employed at ACORN. The embezzlement was carried as a loan. The cover-up was sold to the President and senior staff as something that needed to be handled internally, so that Republicans couldn't use the information against ACORN.

"Our group, now known as the ACORN 8, asked to see the books. This request, well within the rights of board members, was refused. We attempted to resolve the problem. Marcel Reid and Karen Inman, having been elected by the National Board and given the right to enlist help to straighten out ACORN, hired a firm to investigate the financial operation of CCI, the accounting firm controlled by ACORN.

"At that point the staff understood that we weren't going to be a rubber stamp for their activities. We filed a temporary restraining order to stop destruction of financial records, and to get an an accounting from the founder and accounting firm."

"Staff organized members to get us to stop the investigation and to withdraw the lawsuit. They convinced the board to withdraw the temporary restraining order. However, they were not successful at silencing the ACORN 8. The original eight, plus leaders from across the country, obtained a writ of mandamus, a court order to the organization compelling it to properly discharge its duties. But with its large budget and considerable resources, ACORN was able to delay and postpone. ACORN 8 does not have the large resources of ACORN, but we do have voices that will not be silenced."

We need to hear the ACORN 8, stop the havoc wrought by ACORN, restore order to our political process and at ACORN, and hold all culprits accountable.

But the embezzlement appears to be the tip of the iceberg and the investigation should go back to the beginning, not just back to 2001.

The website's What We Want page states:

"Truth, Transparency and Accountability

"The more ACORN and the more than 200 organizations under its umbrella work to maintain complete control of its money, the more they hide. The more they hide, the greater the number of questions that arise.

"Where are the millions of dollars that ACORN gets from the United States government going?

  • Why is there no oversight?

  • How much of the money going to tax exempt ACORN organizations is used for non-tax exempt activities?

  • How much grant money is used for partisan political activities?

"Beth Kingsley, an ACORN attorney, reported her concerns about the lack of a wall between political and other ACORN functions. Yet this porous behavior continues.

"Why is the same audit firm that allowed the embezzlement to be carried as a loan still the audit firm? Why is the 2005 audit uncompleted? Why is there so much resistance to a forensic audit?

"In a nutshell, what we want is answers to these questions. We want the truth. We want transparency. We want accountability from ACORN's leaders."

So should we all!

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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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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