Consider the source

Today James O'Keefe and other prominent GOP activists were arrested by the FBI for attempting to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu's federal office in New Orleans.

ACORN released the following statement:

The recent arrest of James O’Keefe, is further evidence of his disregard for both state and federal law in pursuit of his extremist agenda. From the day that O’Keefe’s undercover “sting” videos came out, ACORN leadership pledged accountability for its own staff while pointing out that the videos had been shot illegally and edited deceptively in order to undermine the work of an organization that has empowered working families for four decades.

Unfortunately, during the rush to judge ACORN, both the media and Congress failed to question the methods, intent and accuracy of Mr. O’Keefe’s videos. Subsequent independent reviews by the Congressional Research Service and former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger have already concluded that it was O’Keefe, and not ACORN staff, even those fired for acting inappropriately, who broke the law in the undercover videotapes.

Throughout all of the attacks that began with partisan smears against our successful voter registration program, our members have never stopped working to improve their communities, stop the foreclosure crisis and make ordinary people’s voices heard.

According to a study by the New Organizing Institute 746,000 ballots cast in 2008 were by voters registered by the community organization ACORN. For better or worse, progressive candidates win elections by getting more people to vote, and corporate candidates win elections by suppressing the vote.

So it is no surprise that the GOP would seek to attack a singularly effective voter registration group. Reagan attacked ACORN members in the 80s, Gingrich attacked ACORN members in the 90s, and one-time ACORN supporter Sen. John McCain attacked out of desperation.

What is surprising is that rightwing activists, outraged by the election of a "community organizer in chief," continued to attack the organization of low-income families after the 2008 election.

In early 2009, Doug Giles, a founder of the rightwing community townhall.com, dressed his 19-year-old daughter (Hannah Giles) up as a prostitute and sent her across the country with political protege James O'Keefe. By posing as a young couple in need of housing and visiting dozens of ACORN offices across the country, the couple was able to get enough video of ACORN loan officers to creatively cut and splice and subtitle together a swiftboat video. The video implied that, among other things, ACORN actively supports prostitution, tax fraud, election fraud, domestic abuse, and human trafficking.

The rightwing base, having been informed by Fox News for months that ACORN was responsible for the GOP's failure, seized on the news. Republican candidates like Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), lacking the desire or ability to improve the nation, took up the issue as their crusade. Conservative Democrats like Sen. Kay Hagan were quick to agree to throw the organization under the bus in order to get back to dealing with economy and healthcare.

The organization had little budget to defend themselves from what became a nationally coordinated attack orchestrated by career character assassins.

The result is that one of the Left's main non-union organizing efforts is nearly destroyed (or "really volunteer" as John Hood puts it). This year is ACORN's 40th anniversary. It remains to be seen if we will have a 50th.

Two extensive independent investigations - by the House Judiciary Committee and the independent Harshbarger investigation - have exonerated ACORN of any wrong-doing.

ACORN is continuing to organize to keep families in their homes, demand better schools, outlaw predatory lending, restore the Gulf Coast, and yes, register people in underserved communities to vote. Help ACORN fight back here.

Comments

More connections

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/01/26/teabuggergate-part-one/

(follow the link above to get source links)

You’ve no doubt heard that James O’Keefe, the guy who broke some laws secretly filming ACORN employees, got busted yesterday trying to film some buddies bugging Mary Landrieu’s office.

But I’m not as interested, for the moment, in O’Keefe as I am in his alleged accomplice, Robert Flanagan.

You see, Flanagan is the son of the acting US Attorney for Western LA, William Flanagan. Flanagan, Sr., had only been in charge for a week–since January 18, when Bush’s US Attorney for the district, Donald Washington, stepped down–when his son got busted on federal property elsewhere in the state.

But that’s not the only neat connection that Robert Flanagan has. Last year–from January to April–Flanagan, Jr., interned for Congresswoman Mary Fallin (R-OK). And Fallin is one of just 31 Representatives who co-sponsored a resolution honoring James O’Keefe and his ACORN-filming accomplice, Hannah Giles. (Fallin was joined on the resolution by such notables as Joe Barton, Louis Gohmert, Steve King, and Jean Schmidt.)

It’s all very cozy, apparently, in Republican corruption circles.

Oh, and speaking of corrupt Republicans, you might be interested in knowing that Obama’s nominee to be US Attorney for LA’s Western District, Stephanie Finley, the woman who will replace Flanagan, Sr., is being blocked by LA’s other Senator, David “Diapers” Vitter. Why? Because he wants to make sure LA’s US Attorney for the Eastern District–the one who will be prosecuting Messrs. O’Keefe and Flanagan, now–stays in office for a while longer.

Jerimee, some things are important

Jerimee, I think the vast majority of what you post here is absolutely dead on. But, when there are abuses of our system and laws that are broken and when people do things that are not condusive to being good citizens, we should not defend them. This part of your post should have been left out:

You’ve no doubt heard that James O’Keefe, the guy who broke some laws secretly filming ACORN employees, got busted yesterday trying to film some buddies bugging Mary Landrieu’s office.

I have not heard about anyone being prosecuted for illegal filming of ACORN, but even if they were and even if they are ultimately prosecuted, what ACORN folks did here is an abomination and needs to be left out of the conversation.

I agree with you on what you are saying and respect you for your dedication to progressive principles. But, saying that, I cannot sanction some of the things we All know are wrong that ACORN has been involved in.

abomination

"what ACORN folks did" - I think you'll have to expand on that, I suspect what you think ACORN folks did varies from my interpretation - I'm sure you don't think it an abomination that nearly a million previously disenfranchised voter cast a ballot in 2008.

Maryland is prosecuting, and I believe others states are as well. ACORN has lawsuits pending in MD, PA, and I think Illinois.

As I stated in the post, when the charges were investigated ACORN was exonerated.

Maryland's State Prosecutor Patricia Jessamy:

We have received inquiries from citizens and the media asking whether the Baltimore City State's Attorneys Office would initiate a criminal investigation for acts allegedly committed at ACORN offices located in Baltimore. The only information received in reference to this alleged criminal behavior was a YouTube video. Upon review by this office, the video appears to be incomplete. In addition, the audio portion could possibly have been obtained in violation of Maryland Law, Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article §10-402, which requires two party consent.

If it is determined that the audio portion now being heard on YouTube was illegally obtained, it is also illegal under Maryland Law to willfully use or willfully disclose the content of said audio. The penalty for the unlawful interception, disclosure or use of it is a felony punishable up to five years.

Finally, the quote you mentioned wasn't actually in my post.

I see what you are saying Jerimee

I think we are seeing a lot of people "walk away", as you put it, because of politics these days. Seems like everything in american society comes down to democratic or republican and liberal or conservative rather than right and wrong or legal and illegal.

We have slid into such a divided country almost completely because of politics, in my view. Even here on BlueNC, people like you and I that agree on nearly everything politically, differ openly on an issue just because our opposing party is involved or a news source favorable to our opposition favors an issue or opposes an issue. And, it is the same on more conservative-leaning blogs. Right or wrong and complicity in illegal activity is looked at differently depending on what political party people involved subscribe to.

I wish it were different. You are so right about Fox News. You cannot turn it on and not listen to an enormous amount of spin and rhetoric favorable to republicans. Its popularity, in large part, is helping to drive a very huge wedge between us as a country.