Republicans Demand More ACORN Hearings, Special Prosecutor

By
Tuesday, December 01, 2009 at 7:46 pm
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) reaches into his bucket of acorns at Tuesday's ACORN forum. (twitpic: darrellissa)

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) reaches into his bucket of acorns at Tuesday's ACORN forum. (twitpic: darrellissa)

As legislators streamed into the room around him, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, peered over his glasses at the roughly 60 people who’d come to this special hearing on ACORN.

“I’m glad to see this turnout so early in the day,” said Smith. (The hearing began at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, but there was nothing happening in the House.) “Today’s hearing is an opportunity for Republicans to move forward on this issue of importance to the American people.”

With most of Washington’s attention focused on the health care debate happening a flew blocks away in the Senate, or President Obama’s upcoming speech on troop escalation in Afghanistan, Smith and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the sponsors of the hearing, were able to attractive an impressive amount of media. Six cameras were staged around the room, and national reporters filled out the seats behind the witness stand alongside members of ACORN-investigating conservative organizations like the Capital Research Center and Big Government. Officially titled a “Joint Forum on ACORN,” the hearing gave Republicans a chance to re-air allegations against the controversial activist group, which lost its long-standing federal funding in two lopsided September votes.

[GOP1]The eight Republican members of Congress who showed up for the hearing didn’t disappoint. With one exception, they labeled ACORN a “criminal enterprise” with close and current ties to the highest levels of the Obama administration and the labor movement.

“President Obama previously served as ACORN’s lawyer, participated in ACORN training sessions in Chicago, and presided on the board of two organizations that funded ACORN’s Chicago chapter,” said Smith. An old picture of Obama in an ACORN office was posted near the hearing stand to bolster his point. “The president’s ties with ACORN taint any conclusions the Department of Justice may reach with regard to whether or not to investigate ACORN employees. That’s why I’ve requested that the attorney general appoint a special prosecutor to investigate ACORN.”

To bolster their case, Republicans produced 81 pages of documents about ACORN’s voter registration activities in 2004 and 2006  — a supplement to Issa’s 99-page July 2009 report, “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured As a Criminal Enterprise?”

The 81 new pages, helpfully highlighted by staffers, put ACORN staffers on the record planning voter registration drives and campaigns for “progressive” candidates. They also touched on the organization’s social work — “within the next year Maryland ACORN will conduct 500 new lead tests for low and moderate-income renters and homeowners” — but members and witnesses argued that the organization’s political activity, clearly benefiting Democrats and President Obama, was at least reason to strip it of tax-exempt status.

“The current admin is becoming, in reality, the war room for ACORN’s political machine,” said Issa. “The poor will be better served when ACORN is no longer a go-to place for services.”

Issa kept his case simple: ACORN was intervening in, and tampering with, elections, using “money taken from poor people.” And he spent much of his time tossing friendly questions to Anita Moncrief, a former ACORN employee who has turned into a whistleblower against everything the group did while she worked there. Moncrief said that she joined the group to help the poor; when she decided that they were bilking people who asked for help, and that they were spending too much time assisting Democrats, she bolted.

“All of us, maybe with one exception, knew Albert Wynn,” said Issa, referring to  unpredictable former congressman from Maryland’s African-American suburbs of Washington, D.C. “He was well-liked, a good man.”

In a short round of questions, Moncrief charged ACORN with conspiring to aid progressive candidate Donna Edwards — who’s currently serving in Congress, having defeated Wynn. “Albert Wynn was pictured next to George Bush,” said Moncrief, describing a PowerPoint presentation she saw. “They tried to paint him in a light that he was friendly with George Bush. They wanted to support Donna Edwards, who happens to sit on the board of one of the organizations that supplied money for one of their campaigns.”

Issa shook his head. “Here, today, the distortion even in the Democratic primary, of ‘you’re not the right kind of Democrat,’ speaks legions about why this should be investigated by both parties,” said Issa. “Obviously we’d like the attorney general in Maryland to do something about that.”

Issa’s congressional colleague was not the only Democrat to take fire from the hearings. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who brought a plastic bucket of acorns with him as an illustration, asked witness Hans Von Spakovsky, a Bush Department of Justice veteran who now works at the Heritage Foundation, about the role new White House Counsel Bob Bauer might play in “scrubbing the trail between the president and ACORN.”

“He’s a nice guy,” said Von Spakovsky, “but he’s a fierce opponent. He was general counsel of the DNC. He’s willing to just about anything to win.”

King and Von Spakovsky agreed that Bauer, in writing a 2008 memo pre-emptively attacking the McCain-Palin campaign for hyping the bogus voter registration forms filled out in swing states — forms that did not result in illegal votes, but took considerable time to find illegitimate — had proven himself willing to go to bat for ACORN. King, going further, suggested that the October resignation of former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, Bauer’s wife, was tied to local ACORN investigations. “It wasn’t planned,” said King, apparently not believing Dunn’s long-announced plans to hold the job for a few months and then leave. Von Spakovsky ignored that argument, but backed up the rest of King’s case.

“Bauer’s argument was that if you talk about voter fraud, you’re intimidating voters,” said Von Spakovsky. “I guess I should be looking in the mail for a subpoena because I write about voter fraud quite a bit.”

In another, tone-setting exchange, King explained that he always kept a Constitution and a real acorn, from the Capitol grounds, in his pockets. The purpose, he said, was to remind him of the threat ACORN posed to the Constitution.

“My opinions are my own,” said Von Spakovsky, “and not representative of the Heritage Foundation — although I must say, I think Congressman King was holding a Heritage copy of the Constitution.” King nodded and smiled at the witness.

The rest of the hearing was about that friendly. The other Republicans who grilled their witnesses were largely concerned with horror stories from their states and confirmation of their worst fears about ACORN.

“Every two years we talk about voter fraud, and then the media goes away,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.). “I think it’s time folks go to jail for voter fraud in this country, and then they lose the right to vote. That’s what happens to convicted felons in this country.”

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who was introduced by Issa as the former chairman the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee who’d signed the most subpoenas in history in order to investigate allegations of Democratic campaign finance abuse–”1,209! I got writer’s cramp!”–framed the ACORN issue as a battle for basic American freedoms. “Our forefathers fought for, I don’t know, what, eight years to defeat the British because they didn’t want taxation without representation,” said Burton. “And now we’re watching all these things being taken away, just frittered away, because we won’t enforce the law? It’s just criminal.”

The one dissonant note came from Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), who defeated the indicted (and now convicted) former Congressman William Jefferson last year to grab the most-Democratic seat currently held by a Republican. Cao, who represents New Orleans, explained that he was in the room to “gather information,” not to indict ACORN. “I’ve seen them work in Louisiana,” said Cao. “This organization has done some good things in order to address the issues of minorities.” Less than halfway through the two-hour meeting, though, Cao left, without asking questions of the witnesses.

Little was revealed about ACORN that has not been reported; King even referred witnesses to a Fox News documentary on the group for part of his evidence. And before closing the hearing, Issa admitted that “ACORN’s amount of money that they’ve received from the government is relatively small.” The point, he said, was to rattle Democrats into holding a real investigation.

“I regret that this forum is necessary,” said Issa. “The American people deserve official hearing into ACORN. This hearing is necessarily partisan, but I would like to have this be nonpartisan.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) made a simpler case for more hearings.

“From one acorn,” said Gohmert, “many nuts can grow.”

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Comments

39 Comments

Nursing Career – More Reasons To Become A Travel Nurse | Nursing Faculty Jobs
Pingback posted December 1, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

[...] Republicans Demand More ACORN Hearings, Special Prosecutor « The … [...]


Attorney Tax - How does the U.S. help fund pro-settler IDF troops? - Haaretz.com « Attorney Tax
Pingback posted December 1, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

[...] Republicans Demand More ACORN Hearings, Special Prosecutor – The Washington Independent.comRep. Steve King (R-Iowa) reaches into his bucket of acorns at Tuesday’s ACORN forum. (twitpic: darrellissa) As legislators streamed into the room around him, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, peered over his [...]


ronvictor
Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

ACORN is still alive and kicking. It will take constant vigilance to do away with them once and for all….Read: Sarah Syrah..at…
http://cooperscopy.blogspot.com/


uberVU - social comments
Trackback posted December 1, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by daveweigel: A quick write-up of today’s ACORN hearing, feat. Steve King’s big jar of nuts. http://bit.ly/6uz6bz...


NewsCorpse
Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 11:26 pm

So Republicans have been reduced to holding pathetic little pep rallies in lieu of actually legislating. How sad.

ACORN has never been found to have committed voter fraud, despite years of false allegations. The right just wants to continue their policy of suppressing votes of Democrats, the poor, and minorities. That's why their star witness today was Hans Van Spakovsky. Voter suppression was his job for the Bush Justice Department.


republicanstupidity
Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 8:13 am

YES HW DARE THEY REGISTER VOTERS, POOR PEOPLE TO GET INTO THE PROCESS SO THEY CAN STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES. OK ISSA WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HOLD HEARINGS ON THE NO BID CONTRACTS? REPUBLICANS ARE ASSHOLE LIERS


trippin
Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 9:16 am

“From one acorn,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), “many nuts can grow.”

Amen, you mentally deficient yayhoo.

I swear, let's put the border fence along Texas' NORTHERN border and give them the secession they want so badly. The average IQ in the US would go up twenty points.


ACORN Hearing: A Barrel of Laughs, A Bucket Of Nuts « My Hot Topics
Pingback posted December 2, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

[...] Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel was among them, and the scene he describes can only be called “magical,” beginning with Smith’s [...]


ACORN Hearing: A Barrel of Laughs, A Bucket Of Nuts | News from: The Huffington Post - Breaking News and Opinion
Pingback posted December 2, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

[...] Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel was among them, and the scene he describes can only be called “magical,” beginning with Smith’s [...]


tmv
Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

“Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) made a simpler case for more hearings.
'From one acorn' said Gohmert, 'many nuts can grow.'”

Obviously.


BurningFeet
Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

Gawd dimmit. I knew sumbuddy would figger that out. You're gonna trap me here with these witless nits.

Remember that old Gahan Wilson cartoon, where the garbage men are tossing dozens of tiny werewolfs into a dump truck, and one says to the other one, “I hate full moons.”? Louie is our Texas werewolf.


gregpotter
Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

What about all the dirty tricks Repulicans and there operatives resort to every election cycle? This is just another attempt to supress votes that aren't Republicrook.


ACORN hearing more bark than bite | Northwest Indiana and Beyond
Pingback posted December 2, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

[...] The Washington Independent goes into much more detail on the hearing in its story. Issa kept his case simple: ACORN was intervening in, and tampering with, elections, using “money taken from poor people.” And he spent much of his time tossing friendly questions to Anita Moncrief, a former ACORN employee who has turned into a whistleblower against everything the group did while she worked there. Moncrief said that she joined the group to help the poor; when she decided that they were bilking people who asked for help, and that they were spending too much time assisting Democrats, she bolted. [...]


ClayBarham
Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

A new WPA for 2009 is a chain gang solution to joblessness. Obama said: the interests of community are more important than are the interests of the individual. He promised change. Change must then mean to abandon individual freedom. The chain gang is one way to do so. You can call his ideas left, socialist, communist, fascist, monarchist or any others that turn you on, but in reality, there are only two different political forms. The oldest is where the few elite rule the many, part of all those labels. They have always favored a chain gang. The newest is where the many rule themselves, guided by a moral consensus and written law, i.e., individual freedom. Conservatives and libertarians say the interests of individuals are more important than are those of the community. They believe when individuals prosper, their families and communities prosper and government works best staying out of their way. Modern Democrats believe community interests are most important. They claim they can better define and govern community interests. They expand the role of government to serve those interests and as a few elite, will rule the many. This is the center of Obama’s chain gang. Claysamerica.com


toptwome
Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

ACORN is the least of America's problems. You would not know that because of republicans who are so angry about ACORN registering democratic voters who are going to be voters for Democrats. Republicans have been able to smear ACORN with the rants against voter fraud even though voter fraud is a seldom occurring crime. Republicans are not what I would ever consider honest and worthy of anything that is important in America.


These are not serious people « Blog on the Run: Reloaded
Pingback posted December 2, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

[...] domestic wiretapping and/or illegal military invasions, no. A special prosecutor for ACORN, yes. And these are the people who want us to give them the keys back in [...]


GOP Rep Steve King: WH Counsel a ‘Gangster’ and ‘Junkyard Dog’ | ChattahBox News Blog
Pingback posted December 3, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

[...] recently joined several right-wing lawmakers in a media event demanding a federal investigation of Acorn. King showed up at the event carrying a plastic bucket of acorns. He told reporters that he always [...]


steveo818
Comment posted December 4, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

You people are sad. When will you realize that it is not about repubs and dems; it is about an organization that is corupt and wasting your hard earned money on their self serving agenda. Take the mask off your brains and look at acorn for what it is. Sickly and sadly corupt and stealing money from all the hard working Americans,,,,both democratic and republicans.


Emptywheel » Things Republicans Think Merit Investigation More than Torture: ACORN
Pingback posted December 5, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

[...] edition: ACORN. The eight Republican members of Congress who showed up for the hearing didn’t disappoint. With [...]


james fannin
Comment posted December 7, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

hey trippin,
I'd appreciate it if you'd tell your friends and relatives to stay out of Texas.
I know it bothers you that they continue to come but I guess they're just looking for the Bigger & Better Deal


Swami_Binkinanda
Comment posted December 7, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

Here we sit,
cheeks a flexin'
giving birth to a horde of Texans.


Hatchet Man
Comment posted December 8, 2009 @ 6:23 pm

Acorn will continue to encourage minority and poor voter registration regardless of the GOP trying to divert attention away from the crimes of the Cheny/Bush administration.Their entrapment game wont work to many times.
Anything but Healthcare with a public option thats the strategy.Not the tea baggers or all the diversions in the world cant protect them from retribution for the Bush Crimes. YOU BETCHA!!


Hatchet Man
Comment posted December 8, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

HAND DELIVER your vote to your local voting offical before election day,assure your votes are properly recorded….


Omega_in_Colorado
Comment posted December 9, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

From the above article:

“Every two years we talk about voter fraud, and then the media goes away,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.). “I think it’s time folks go to jail for voter fraud in this country, and then they lose the right to vote. That’s what happens to convicted felons in this country.”

By and large in most states when a convicted felon has been released from prison and has satisfied his or her parole requirements, their right to vote is restored. Even in this guys homestate of TX:

“ELECTION CODE Title 2. VOTER QUALIFICATIONS AND REGISTRATION CHAPTER 11. QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS FOR VOTING Sec. 11.002. QUALIFIED VOTER.

In this code, “qualified voter” means a person who:

(4) has not been finally convicted of a felony or, if so convicted, has:

(A) fully discharged the person's sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or (B) been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disability to vote;”.

felons do regain their rights to vote, this is just further proof of the far right using every means possible to disenfranchise as many voters as possible…

disgusting.


aldoraines
Comment posted December 10, 2009 @ 9:41 am

There was far more evidence of fraud with electronic voting machines in the elections where W won the presidency twice. The GOP is a party that represents a very small portion of America. Therefore, anything that helps to empower more people to vote against a party that consistently tramples on the rights of the lower classes is going to be a target of republicans. For Republicans, it's ok to fix elections via DIEBOLD but for a group like ACORN, which helps poor people register to vote, this is a terrible crime. The hypocrisy is staggering.


aldoraines
Comment posted December 10, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

There was far more evidence of fraud with electronic voting machines in the elections where W won the presidency twice. The GOP is a party that represents a very small portion of America. Therefore, anything that helps to empower more people to vote against a party that consistently tramples on the rights of the lower classes is going to be a target of republicans. For Republicans, it's ok to fix elections via DIEBOLD but for a group like ACORN, which helps poor people register to vote, this is a terrible crime. The hypocrisy is staggering.


Arfah
Comment posted March 21, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

What ever, keep peace in the world.


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Comment posted April 28, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

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Comment posted August 9, 2010 @ 12:55 am

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Discount Louis Vuitton
Comment posted August 20, 2010 @ 3:03 am

which helps poor people register to vote, this is a terrible crime. The hypocrisy is staggering


guccihandbags
Comment posted August 21, 2010 @ 3:23 am

which helps poor people register to vote, this is a terrible crime. The hypocrisy is staggering


ACORN Hearing: A Barrel of Laughs, A Bucket Of Nuts | BlackNewsTribune.com
Pingback posted October 7, 2010 @ 3:38 am

[...] Washington Independent‘s Dave Weigel was among them, and the scene he describes can only be called “magical,” beginning with Smith’s [...]


Gospelmidi
Comment posted October 26, 2010 @ 11:36 am

“Every two years we talk about voter fraud, and then the media goes away,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.). “I think it’s time folks go to jail for voter fraud in this country, and then they lose the right to vote. That’s what happens to convicted felons in this country.”

_______________________________________

Maybe. Maybe not.

On Tue, 10/19/10, City Lawyer <clawyer@our_town.com> wrote:

From: City Lawyer <clawyer@our_town.com>

Subject: YOUR FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUESTS

Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 2:08 PM

To: Redacted (gospelmidi)

Dear Mr. (gospelmidi),

You recently delivered two (2) undated Freedom of Information Act requests to the Our_Town Police Department. I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Department.

1. You request “a printout of names and addresses of all felons residing in Our_Town.”

The Our_Town Police Department does not maintain a list of convicted felons, and I am not aware of any State or local government agency that maintains or disseminates such a list with one exception: State law requires every convicted adult sex offender to notify the sheriff in the offender’s county of residence that he or she is living in the jurisdiction. The county sheriff makes this information available to the public upon request, and State Law Enforcement maintains a Statewide listing online. The Freedom of Information Act does not require a government agency to create a list that it does not maintain in the normal course of business. Also, there is some question as to whether the United States Constitution allows a police agency to maintain and disseminate a list of persons who have served their debts to society unless those persons are sex offenders or suspects in other crimes under investigation.

2. You request “a list of names and addresses of undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens residing in Our_Town.”

The Our_Town Police Department does not maintain such a list, and I am not aware of any State or local government agency that maintains or disseminates such a list. Once again, the Freedom of Information Act does not require a government agency to create a list that it does not maintain in the normal course of business. Because persons who have entered the United States illegally and/or without documentation stay “under the radar” and rarely have “papers” for law enforcement to document addresses, etc., I am not sure how one would compile this list or whether it would contain enough true and accurate data so as to be of any value.

I hope this information is of assistance to you.

Sincerely,

City_Lawyer

Attorney at Law

City of Our_Town / Our_Town Police Department

1234 East West St.

Our_Town, US 00000

Serving the Citizens of Our_Town Since Time Was

My response:

Dear City_Lawyer,

So this basically means that, “felons and illegal aliens are not allowed to vote,” is null and void.

Thank you for your response.

Sincerely in Christ,

Redacted (gospelmidi)

__________________________________

How much more simple it would have been to say, “The Our_Town P.D. confers with the Our_Town Registrar and validates the voter rolls against the felon list, to bring the voter rolls into compliance with state law.”</clawyer@our_town.com></clawyer@our_town.com>


GOP keeps fighting its war on ACORN
Pingback posted December 15, 2010 @ 5:49 am

[...] — held Tuesday. Over the course of the hearing, representatives and witnesses actually leveled all the above charges at ACORN, declaring the issue to be one “of importance to the American people,” [...]


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GOP keeps fighting its war on ACORN - Salon.com
Pingback posted May 21, 2011 @ 9:00 am

[...] — held Tuesday. Over the course of the hearing, representatives and witnesses actually leveled all the above charges at ACORN, declaring the issue to be one “of importance to the American people,” [...]


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Comment posted September 7, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

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