ACORN: It isn't what it seems
by DTOzone, Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 05:41:23 PM EDT
Or maybe it is...depending on how you look at it. I don't know if this diary is going to be popular here, or maybe it will be and all it'll do is resurrect the PUMAs, but hey, here it goes.
I agree with Glenn Greenwald, and I usually don't, that there's a double standard here and Blackwater, Halliburton should also be looked at under the same microscope as ACORN, but that doesn't excuse the fact that they really stepped in it.
and I agree with Glenn Beck that this organization has a lot of problems.
My story begins last September...in the weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed and the "game changing" Sarah Palin turned into an epic fail, it became clear the election results were going to be a Democratic rout, and October would be unexciting. We needed another a "game changer." Enter ACORN...ABC was looking to bring them down, hoping that something would be dug up that would stick to the Democrats or Senator Obama and make it a race again.
I was one of the producers sent on a "fact-finding" mission in Camden and Paterson in New Jersey last fall...I found out a lot of shady stuff, stuff that wasn't done on purpose, but was largely done because of incompetence...money laundering, falsified voter registration (which I have to admit was true).
Among the atrocious things I found out was a story that one of the employees in the Camden office used office money (that came from donations and taxpayer dollars) to buy marijuana and brought it back to the office late at night to share with other employees. Another story I found out had to do with false voter registration...those managing knowingly admitted that many of their registration were false, they stated they encouraged their organizers with quotas and because of the quotas, very often the organizers make up registrations to meet those quotas and get raises that come with them, but that it didn't matter because "these people aren't going to show up and vote" or "The state with take care of it"
There were other stories too...of women who were harassed by male employees, people who were mugged going to and from work during late nights...some days organizers would be in Downtown Camden until midnight...and paychecks that never went out or even bounced.
During my investigation, it became clear others knew what I was looking for. I had been contacted and cornered by the campaigns of Dick Zimmer, the Republican running for US Senate in New Jersey last year, and Chris Myers, who was running for the open seat in New Jersey's Second district...they wanted to know what I knew...I told them I knew nothing and they accused me of covering up for ACORN as part of the "liberal media." I hate to say they were sort of right.
I told one of the local managers there to watch themselves, because I had information that could really damage them, but because I believed in their mission, I was going to pretend I didn't see it, but that they'd better shape up because someone is going to find them out and they're really going to damage their credibility BADLY and give the right wing fodder...luckilly none of the other producers who were "fact-finding" in NYC, Philadelphia and Cleveland picked anything up...I thought maybe it was limited to New Jersey.
Anyway, I came back to ABC and said I had found nothing, but at that point I knew my days there were numbered since layoffs were anticipated that coming January/February so I didn't care anymore...but I also knew that I was sent on this "fact-finding" mission not because of journalism, but because they were looking for a scandal to report on...so I didn't really feel bad for what I did.
But as far as ACORN goes, they need a makeover. Yes, they have a great mission and seek to do great thing, but they need to clean house and hopefully being rebuked by Congress today will do just that.