ACORN 8 has the Power - House Oversight Committee Report Vindicates ACORN 8 and their RICO Claims

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The ACORN 8 responds to a blistering report released by Rep. Darrell Issa (CA), the Ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which presents compelling evidence that ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in racketeering, and created a conspiracy to defraud the United States. The oversight committee report confirms the criminal violations of ACORN 8 member's constitutional rights, thus the ACORN 8 urges the Justice Department to take this matter seriously and promptly move to prosecute. The oversight committee report also provides more than enough probable cause for the federal government and large private donors to pursue injunctive relief so that ACORN assets and records are not dissipated or destroyed until the group undergoes a forensic audit. Finally, the oversight committee confirms that the ACORN 8's criminal complaint alleging RICO violations filed with the FBI and US Attorney's Office in 14 states and the District of Columbia (as reported in the January 8, 2009 Pittsburg Tribune-Review) are viable causes of action, and should be investigated; and the committee report found that ACORN 8 members were illegally removed from the association board in order to conceal an embezzlement and obstruct justice. And thus, have adequate standing to pursue ACORN independently of Congress.

Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate. Emerging accounts of widespread deceit and corruption raise the need for a criminal investigation of ACORN.

A blistering report released by Rep. Darrell Issa (CA), the Ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, supports ACORN 8 allegations of wrongdoing and enterprise corruption; and presents compelling evidence that ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in racketeering, and created a conspiracy to defraud the United States.

"We commend learned counsel and the committee on this in depth report on ACORN. While we do not share all of the conclusions drawn by the committee - particularly those related to ACORN's political operations or any purported connections to President Obama; we certainly agree with conclusions about ACORN's mismanagement, poor governance and enterprise corruption. And we respect the committee's overarching duty to protect American taxpayers. Our mission is to protect ACORN's low and moderate income membership and the communities in which they live. We stand for our members and the little guy" states Michael McCray, National Spokesperson for ACORN 8.

"The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systemic fraud" according to the report's executive summary. "Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate. Emerging accounts of widespread deceit and corruption raise the need for a criminal investigation of ACORN."

The report continues "Operationally, ACORN is a shell game played in 120 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia through a complex structure designed to conceal illegal activities, to use taxpayer and tax-exempt dollars for partisan political purposes, and to distract investigators. Structurally, ACORN is a chess game in which senior management is shielded from accountability by multiple layers of volunteers and compensated employees who serve as pawns to take the fall for every bad act."

"The ACORN 8, LLC (http://www.ACORN8.com) has previously demanded Truth, Transparency and Accountability for ACORN and its senior management; and a boycott of all federal funding from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now until after a forensic examination, independent audit and congressional investigation of ACORN. Worse still, we feel that ACORN's unlawful terminations of Marcel Reid, Karen Inman and other national board members are clear violations of our civil rights" continues McCray.

The report continues "Committee investigators have established that a violation of corporate duties led to gross abuses of tax laws and other federal regulations. According to documents obtained from [Marcel Reid and Karen Inman], ACORN was made aware of its lax management structure but chose to ignore the problems and continue a cover-up of criminal activity. By refusing to report Dale Rathke's embezzlement of $948,607.50 as an excess benefit transaction, ACORN appears to have violated the Internal Revenue Code. ACORN's cover-up of the embezzlement for more than eight years would also constitute obstruction of justice."

"ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in self dealing, and aided and abetted a cover-up of embezzlement by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. ACORN conspired to conceal information concerning prohibited transactions from its board in violation of its corporate charter. ACORN's termination of [Marcel Reid and Karen Inman] the board members who sought to uncover its illegal activities perpetuates a cover-up at the expense of adherence to its own bylaws" states the report's executive summary.

"This report is a comprehensive and substantive examination of an organization that has operated in secrecy and outside the law," Issa, also a member of the House Judiciary Committee said. "There are number of legitimate questions raised about the political activities and organizational structure of ACORN. This report is about getting to the truth and when there are significant accusations and questions outstanding regarding an organization that has benefited from millions of taxpayer dollars, those questions should be answered and the truth should be brought to light."

"Ironically House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers reneged on his earlier request for an investigation of ACORN. When asked why Conyers responded that the Powers that be have decided against it" continues McCray. However, the House Oversight Committee Report establishes that -

  • The ACORN 8's criminal complaint alleging RICO violations is a viable cause of action, and should be investigated by the Justice Department; and
  • The ACORN 8 were illegally removed from the association board in order to conceal an embezzlement and obstruct justice. And thus, have adequate standing to pursue ACORN independently of Congress.

"Consequently, we encourage the "powers that be" to reconsider their position and proceed with a comprehensive, congressional investigation of ACORN in light of the committee report" continues McCray. "We believe the committee report confirms the criminal violation of our constitutional rights and we hope the DOJ takes that matter seriously and will promptly move to prosecute. And the committee report provides more than enough probable cause for our federal government and large private donors to pursue injunctive relief so that ACORN assets and records are not dissipated or destroyed until the group undergoes a forensic audit."

"The Oversight Committee Report simply confirms what we've argued all along, and that is ACORN has been hijacked by a cable of senior managers at the expense of its poor and working class membership and the American taxpayers" concludes McCray. "While various rights and interests are implicated by the committee report, we hasten all involved and the general public to remember that ultimately it is the rights and interests of low and moderate income people that need to be vindicated given ACORN's questionable business practices."

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MICHAEL MCCRAY

Nigel Hall
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