Last September, the US Congress approved the Defund ACORN Act without investigating the charges leveled against ACORN.
Bertha Lewis, ACORN's CEO, claims that these charges were nothing more than a massive “propaganda campaign” and that ACORN was targeted because it was successful at organizing low-income communities--the very folks that rich corporate interests don't want to see voting and otherwise standing up for their rights.
Now with a hearing scheduled for June 24, Lewis is asking folks to stand up and fight what she describes as an assault on the Constitution itself.
“Congress' move, singling out one organization for sanctions without investigation, is called a "bill of attainder" and it is expressly prohibited by the Constitution of the United States,” Lewis stated in a press release issued today.
” If this attack is allowed to stand, then any other organization that displeases those with power in the United States can be similarly attacked and, potentially, destroyed,” Lewis said.
As she notes, ACORN has been investigated by four separate and independent, sources - former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger; the Brooklyn District Attorney's office; the California Attorney General; and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“Each of them has cleared ACORN of any wrongdoing,” Lewis observed. “ Three investigations reviewing the videos used to attack ACORN determined that they were "splice jobs" in which "the truth is on the cutting room floor". The fourth, from the GAO, concluded that ACORN had not misused any of the Federal funds it had received. In other words, the entire set of attacks was a witch hunt driven using modern propaganda techniques and with millions of dollars in dedicated air time on a "news" channel and talk radio.”
Lewis thinks she knows why these attacks happened.
” We were simply too good at what we did - engaging low- and moderate-income families and families of color in America's democratic system,” she said. “ If we hadn't helped 860,000 new voters get on the voter rolls since 2004 (we believe this is the largest non-partisan voter registration effort ever carried out by a single non-profit organization), if we hadn't helped raise the minimum wage in seven states, if we hadn't blown the whistle about predatory lending in the sub-prime market back in 1999, and if we hadn't brought in over $15 billion in direct benefits to America's low- and moderate-income neighborhoods from 1994 - 2004, then we wouldn't have been the targets of smears and attacks going back to the 2004 election. Smears that were exposed during the height of the scandal surrounding the firing of US Attorneys like David Iglesias in New Mexico, who refused to trump up phony voter fraud charges against ACORN.”
Lewis comments that if the attacks leveled against ACORN had really been about misusing taxpayer dollars, then defense contractors like Xe (formerly Blackwater), Halliburton, and Kaman Dayron, all of whom have been found guilty of either committing actual crimes or of collectively defrauding the American people of hundreds of millions of dollars, would have been the subject of their own Defund Corporate Criminals Act.
”But, of course, they aren't,” Lewis concluded. Because, unlike ACORN's low- and moderate-income membership, these corporations can buy influence in the highest levels of political power in the United States. So, our lawsuit against the unconstitutional Defund ACORN Act is not about ACORN and its past federal funding. It is about justice for all organizations that fight for the interests of regular folks against the most powerful interests in America.”