Tribune-Review: The company Obama keeps

posted at 8:25 am on August 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

No, this isn’t another post about William Ayers, but instead about a group of what the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review calls “left-wing nuts” in its editorial this morning.  The editors chastise Barack Obama for his late revision of campaign finance documents that show extensive connections to ACORN, the GOTV group that faces criminal charges in connection to voter fraud in various areas of the country.  They warn Pennsylvania voters that the nuts don’t fall far from the tree, either:

This is the same ACORN tainted by indictments alleging voter fraud in various parts of the United States. Given Obama’s long, deep ties with the radical reverends, unapologetic bomb-throwers and unscrupulous ward-heelers in his home base of Chicago, he might not have seen anything wrong with being in bed with ACORN.

The public would be wise to heed the words of Jim Terry, spokesman for the libertarian-leaning Consumers Rights League in Washington, D.C. It looks as if ACORN is continuing to use its “convoluted Enron-style accounting” for Obama’s political gain, Mr. Terry says.

The ACORN discrepancy is another reminder that Obama seems to be most comfortable with left-wing nuts.

Originally, the Obama campaign’s federal filings showed ACORN’s subsidiary, Citizens Services, only did polling and advance work on campaign events.  Later, the campaign had to amend its reports to show that ACORN did GOTV work for them as well, adding $800,000 in payments to the group that has garnered a reputation for fraud.  In 12 states, including Missouri, Washington, and Ohio, ACORN’s workers have allegedly forged voter registration applications and signatures on petitions for ballot initiatives.

Earlier this summer, the New York Times reported on another scandal at ACORN:

The brother, Dale Rathke, embezzled nearly $1 million from Acorn and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000, Acorn officials said, but a small group of executives decided to keep the information from almost all of the group’s board members and not to alert law enforcement.

Dale Rathke remained on Acorn’s payroll until a month ago, when disclosure of his theft by foundations and other donors forced the organization to dismiss him.

“We thought it best at the time to protect the organization, as well as to get the funds back into the organization, to deal with it in-house,” said Maude Hurd, president of Acorn. “It was a judgment call at the time, and looking back, people can agree or disagree with it, but we did what we thought was right.”

The amount Dale Rathke embezzled, $948,607.50, was carried as a loan on the books of Citizens Consulting Inc., which provides bookkeeping, accounting and other financial management services to Acorn and many of its affiliated entities.

What kind of organization has someone on the payroll who embezzled a million dollars?  The kind of organization that keeps secrets on criminal activities from its board.  And here’s the really interesting part of this story — the same subsidiary that buried Rathke’s theft provides bookkeeping services to political campaigns, as well as keeps ACORN’s books.

Can we say, “Enron”?  I knew we could!

ACORN’s long record of shady operations has been long known.  Why would a supposed reformer hire ACORN as a partner for a campaign that promises to end business as usual?  As the song goes, you can tell a a man who boozes by the company he chooses — and you can tell volumes about a politician comfortable with the likes of ACORN, Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, and William Ayers.


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