ACORN and Barack Obama
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Early Years as a Community Organizer
Barack Obama's career as a community organizer started when he moved to Chicago from New York after completing his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. Obama was hired as director of Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland on Chicago's far South Side, and worked there for three years from June 1985 to May 1988. During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from one to thirteen and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. His accomplishments while director of DCP attracted the attention of The Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN).. Obama left DCP in 1988 to attend Harvard Law School.
Upon graduating with his Juris Doctor from Harvard, Obama returned to Illinois where he worked as the Illinois director of Project Vote. With a staff of ten, and several hundred volunteers, Project vote succeeded in registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African-Americans in Illinois. The focus of the effort of Illinois Project Vote that year was to elect Carol Moseley Braun to the United States Senate.. Moseley Braun became the first ever African-American woman senator, after defeating Democratic incumbent Alan Dixon, and Republican nominee Richard S. Williamson. Her decision to run was in response to Senator Dixon's decision to vote to confirm Justice Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court.
Project Vote and ACORN
Officially Project Vote and ACORN are two separate legal entities, Project Vote representing itself as an "ACORN affiliate." Project Vote is registered as a 501(c)(iii) tax-exempt non-profit organization. As such, they are prohibited from engaging in political activities. ACORN, on the other hand is registered as a non-profit Louisiana membership corporation, which is subject to taxation. Project Vote hires ACORN to run its voter registration drives. ACORN is supposed to not engage in partisan activities while working on Project Vote drives. However, as the New York times has reported, suspicions have been raised as to the nature of the relationship of the two organizations. Until the ACORN embezzlement scandal broke in 2008, (See: Wade Rathke) all of the board members of Project Vote were either members or staff of ACORN. Similarly, Project Vote either never held board meetings as required, didn't kept minutes of board meetings, or didn't file the minutes of board meetings, as required under Federal law.. Lastly several people listed as board members of Project Vote, who were members of ACORN, did not even know that they were on the Board. All of these facts has raised questions as to whether Project Vote is an separate organization, or whether it is an altar ego of ACORN.
ACORN whistleblower reveals coordination
A testimony by ACORN whistleblower, Anita MonCrief in November 2007 revealed that Project Vote development director Karyn Gillette told her she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and had obtained their donor lists. Ms. MonCrief also testified she was given a spreadsheet to use in cultivating Obama donors who had maxed out on donations to the candidate, but who could contribute to voter registration efforts. Project Vote calls the allegation "absolutely false."
Obama Campaign denies Project Vote was a Part of ACORN
As a response to allegations of Barack Obama's involvement with ACORN, the Obama campaign defended their candidate through their "Fight the Smears" website. On the page they deny that Barack Obama was a member of ACORN, that he ever trainer, or a paid staff member of ACORN. They do admit that Barack Obama was the director of Illinois Project Vote, but they deny that ACORN was a part of Project Vote. ACORN, on the other hand, while acknowledging that Barack Obama was never a paid staff member of ACORN, did admit that Barack Obama was, on two separate occasions, a non-paid guest speaker at their training sessions
ACORN v. Illinois Board of Elections
Obama And Other Attorneys Represented ACORN In Their Suit Against The State Of Illinois To Force It To Implement The 1993 Motor Voter Law. Motor voter, which was the first law passed by the Clinton administration, mandated a nationwide postcard voter registration system in order to make voter registration easier. However, it is the same motor voter cards have allegedly been used by ACORN to flood election offices with fraudulent registrations. The challenge to the law was based on the extent to which Federal law can mandate a state to take action regarding election law, which the Constitution of the United States delegates to the state. The court upheld the law as constitutional, and motor voter was implemented in Illinois in 2005.
ACORN and the 2008 Presidential Campaign=
In a case involving voter registration fraud, Anita MonCrief, a former ACORN staffer, testified in a Pennsylvania Circuit court that the group's quality-control efforts were "minimal or nonexistent" in deterring fradulent registrations and called the quality control policies of ACORN "largely window dressing." MonCrief also said during her testimony that ACORN was given lists of potential donors by several Democratic presidential campaigns, including that of Barack Obama, to troll for contributions in funding their voter registration efforts. During MonCrief's testimony, MonCrief further explained in November of 2007, ACORN's Project Vote development director Karyn Gillette told her she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and had obtained their donor lists. Ms. MonCrief also testified she was given a spreadsheet to use in cultivating Obama donors who had maxed out on donations to the candidate, but who could contribute to voter registration efforts. Project Vote calls the allegation "absolutely false." .
- ↑ Secter, Bob; McCormick, John (2007-03-30). "Portrait of a pragmatist", Chicago Tribune, p. 1. Retrieved on 2008-06-06. Lizza, Ryan (2007-03-19). "The Agitator: Barack Obama's Unlikely Political Education" (alternate link), New Republic. Retrieved on 2008-04-13. Obama (1995), pp. 140–295; Mendell (2007), pp. 63–83.
- ↑ Matchan, Linda (1990-02-15). "A Law Review breakthrough" (paid archive), The Boston Globe, p. 29. Retrieved on 2008-06-06. Corr, John (1990-02-27). "From mean streets to hallowed halls" (paid archive), The Philadelphia Inquirer, p. C01. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1  Folkes, Toni, "Social Policy", Winter, 2003
- ↑ Levenson, Michael; Saltzman, Jonathan (2007-01-28). "At Harvard Law, a unifying voice", The Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2008-06-15. Kantor, Jodi (2007-01-28). "In law school, Obama found political voice", The New York Times, p. 1. Retrieved on 2008-06-15. Kodama, Marie C (2007-01-19). "Obama left mark on HLS", The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved on 2008-06-15. Mundy, Liza (2007-08-12). "A series of fortunate events", The Washington Post, p. W10. Retrieved on 2008-06-15. Heilemann, John (2007-10-22). "When they were young". New York 40 (37): 32–7, 132–3. Retrieved on 2008-06-15.</cite> Mendell (2007), pp. 80–92.</li>
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 <cite class="book" style="font-style:normal" >White, Jesse (ed.) (2000). Illinois Blue Book, 2000, Millennium ed.. Springfield, IL: Illinois Secretary of State, p. 83. OCLC 43923973. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.</cite> </li>
- ↑ Jarrett, Vernon (1992-08-11). "'Project Vote' brings power to the people" (paid archive), Chicago Sun-Times, p. 23. Retrieved on 2008-06-06. <cite style="font-style:normal">Reynolds, Gretchen (January 1993). "Vote of Confidence". Chicago 42 (1): 53–54. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.</cite> <cite style="font-style:normal">Anderson, Veronica (September 27–October 3, 1993). "40 under Forty: Barack Obama, Director, Illinois Project Vote". Crain's Chicago Business 16 (39): 43. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.</cite> </li>
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3  Strom, Stephanie, "The New York Times", Acorn Report Raises Issues of Legality, October 21, 2008</li>
- ↑ Wall Street Joural, John Fund, October 30, 2008</li>
- ↑ [http://www.fightthesmears.com/articles/20/acornrumor Fight the Smears:Barack Obama Never Organized with ACORN</li>
- ↑ ACORN:Barack Obama</li>
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 "Wall Street Journal", ACORN Whistleblower Testifies, October 30, 2008</li></ol>