Still Arguing Over ACORN's Legacy

A champion of the underclass, or criminal institution?

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Faced with dwindling revenues and and a tarnished reputation, the community activist group ACORN is folding. The announcement comes six months after rogue filmmaker James O'Keefe disseminated a video showing ACORN giving him tax advice on how to form a brothel. In the aftermath, Congress cut off federal funding to ACORN but the organization's legacy is still contested. To many conservatives, the video confirmed beliefs that ACORN was a miscreant organization, already guilty of voter registration fraud. But many progressives see it as a champion for the impoverished that increased wages, promoted home-ownership and encouraged voter participation.

  • Good Riddance: ACORN Was Fraught with Corruption, says Matthew Vadum, senior editor of the Capital Research Center, a Washington think tank: "I won't be shedding any tears. ACORN is a thoroughly corrupt organization that abuses taxpayer dollars and breaks the law at every opportunity. To suggest that it was set up is laughable. For ACORN to claim that it's a victim of McCarthyism, as I've seen CEO Bertha Lewis do repeatedly, doesn't even pass the laugh test. It can't be taken seriously.
  • That's Not True, insists Brad Friedman at Brad Blog: "We should take the time to note here, since the corporate mainstream media likely will not, that there is no evidence that any vote has ever been cast illegally in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker. Of the very few ACORN workers found to have submitted illegal registrations, almost every one of them was turned in to officials by ACORN themselves. Again: no voter ever registered improperly by an ACORN worker has ever cast a single vote in any election."
  • 'This Is a Moment to Savor,' writes Tom Blumer at Bizzy Blog: "Two twenty-somethings, acting entirely on their own, assisted later by skilled mentor who knew the value of their work and how to maximize the mileage to be gained from it, brought down what had turned into a pretentious, intimidating, fraud-riddled wing of the Democratic Party's get out the vote effort."
  • A Victim of the Right-Wing Media argues Adam Weinstein at Mother Jones: "While no one's shocked that the overwhelming tide of right-wing rancor made the group's business—mostly advice and voter registration—impossible, it's still mystifying why this group got retrogressives' goat to such a grand extent... It seems the two big strikes against ACORN were Barack Obama—that 'community organizer' extraordinaire—and the urban (read: minority) focus of the group's efforts. Classical conservatism, having given way to unbridled angry white-guyism."
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