UPDATE: Republican National Lawyers Association Falls for Debunked ACORN Story
UPDATE: After I wrote this post, Michael Thielen e-mailed this comment:
It’s been hours since the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now informed me that Kevin Mooney’s story in the Washington Examiner, about a pending “name change” for the group, was wrong. And yet I just got this release (via Danny Diaz, a consultant who is working with anti-Employee Free Choice Act groups) from the Republican National Lawyers Assocation in which Michael Thielen falls for the story hook, line, and sinker.
The notion that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – also known as ACORN – could simply change its name and wipe away the taint from the fraud it has perpetuated against our electoral system and the American people is laughable. ACORN can call itself whatever it wants, but it is still an enterprise that is being investigated by law enforcement officials and prosecuted in the court system…
But the story isn’t true!
Mooney misinterpreted the actions of Wade Rathke, the founder of ACORN, who runs a separate group now, and he spoke to several ex-ACORN employees who have been campaigning against the organization. Here’s what ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis told me:
ACORN is not changing its name. ACORN International is a five-year old organization from which ACORN withdrew a year ago as part of an overall restructuring process and requested that they stop using the ACORN name, which they have now done. Wade Rathke was fired as Chief Organizer of ACORN in June 2008.
Mooney actually gets in this in his story — yes, the one about ACORN changing its name.
Arthur Schwartz, the general counsel for ACORN, has sent a “cease and desist” letter to [anti-ACORN group ACORN 8] instructing them to discontinue using the name ACORN in a connection with their activities. This same letter threatens legal action if the ACORN 8 members do not provide written assurances that they will comply with this demand by the end of June. “It is a violation of federal and state law for you to use the ACORN name and mark without the written permission of ACORN,” the letter states. “Should you continue to do so, you will be liable for monetary and injunctive relief.”
Why would ACORN send this letter if it was scrapping its name?