ACORN has often been in the news since 2004. Officially, they work to register voters and support housing. In reality, everyone in public life knows that they are hardcore supporters for the Democratic Party, and employ bare-knuckle tactics. Their organization is plagued by repeated investigations of voter fraud and other crimes.
In Ohio, where as secretary of state I oversaw elections for eight years, ACORN has been busy. One ACORN man in Reynoldsburg was indicted on two felony counts of voter fraud, and another was indicted in Columbus. Other such problems surfaced in Cuyahoga County, where criminal investigations are ongoing.
It’s not just Ohio. ACORN personnel are facing criminal charges in over a dozen states. In Washington State, for example, seven ACORN leaders had felony charges filed against them for voter fraud.
And there’s an unexpected twist. One of the organizations accused of pushing banks into making many of the unwise loans at the heart of the current crisis is … ACORN. Now that’s ironic. An organization that possibly contributed to our current financial profits is now being considered to make money off of it. And by “money,” I’m referring to your tax money.
Twice already this year Congress has funneled money to ACORN. Some report that February’s economic stimulus included funds for ACORN, as did the bill to help people struggling with mortgages passed this April.
What deserves closer scrutiny is Barack Obama’s history with ACORN. Obama cites Saul Alinsky, a self-acknowledged radical who advocated extreme acts to achieve social goals, as one of his inspirations. ACORN follows the Saul Alinsky model. After Obama graduated from Harvard, he went to work for ACORN in Chicago. Mr. Obama then became a trainer for ACORN.
Congressional Democrats, and specifically Mr. Obama, are now saying that the problem underlying all this is “deregulation,” pushed by the Republicans. There are two fundamental flaws with this allegation.
First, this is not deregulation. This is not the private sector. Fannie and Freddie are government creations, that pay their executives millions of dollars but are shielded with your tax money from suffering the downside risk of the market. Engage in racetrack-style financing, they must be strictly controlled. Deregulation is about keeping government from hobbling the private sector and hamstringing its ingenuity and productivity. Deregulation does not apply.
Second, Republicans have tried to rein in Fannie and Freddie. Republican attempts to reform them in 1999 failed. In 2003, when Alan Greenspan testified about how Fannie and Freddie’s loose practices could endanger our financial system, it was Democrat Barney Frank who said these institutions were fundamentally sound, and should be more aggressive in getting loans to low-income people. In 2005, a Republican reform passed the Senate Banking Committee on a party-line vote, only to be blocked by Democrats from passing the full Senate. And in 2006 when John McCain spoke on the Senate floor of the need to reform Fannie and Freddie immediately, Democrats (including Barack Obama) would not respond.
Ken Blackwell, NRO
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