Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

You won't have ACORN to kick around anymore

Acorn The Times will weigh in later Tuesday or Wednesday morning on the impending shutdown of ACORN, the national community organizing group accused by Republicans (and their presidential candidate) of threatening democracy with its error-prone voter registration drives and busted for advising incognito conservative activists on how to hide illegal activity from government scrutiny. The paper's editorial record on ACORN is mixed. The editorial board accused the GOP of hubris when it started attacking the group for alleged widespread voter fraud in the 2008 campaign, but also said the group's head organizer should have resigned after the hidden-camera sting. Read our editorials on the ACORN saga here, here and here.

As The Times pointed out in one of its editorials, the controversy over ACORN could tarnish the practice of community organizing itself. Barack Obama's campaign, which emphasized the yet-to-be elected president's years of nontraditional public service following his graduation from law school, brought increased attention to this sector of activism, which Sarah Palin mocked in her vice presidential acceptance speech at the GOP convention in 2008. Though groups like ACORN engage in patently political activism, their survival depends on government funding and other grants for the more pedestrian charitable work they do, such as free tax preparation and assisting would-be entrepreneurs. Ironically, had ACORN shunned such charitable work and stuck only to political activism, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles would have had nothing to bust.

Feel free to weigh in on the matter by taking our unscientific poll: Has ACORN discredited the idea of community organizing?

-- Paul Thornton

Photo credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (8)

The comments to this entry are closed.


Shame on you for continuing to report this story about ACORN being "busted for advising incognito conservative activists on how to hide illegal activity from government scrutiny" when in fact when O'Keefe and Giles entered the offices they were not posing as pimps nor representing how to hide sex slaves as their highly edited video would have people believe. This was a frame-up job that only drew attention to an organization that was imminently recovering from real mismanagement problems having nothing to do with fraud. The media who continues to report proven falsehoods as fact is the real fraudster here.

andrew nelson

Since you're updating the story about this Hyde Park Project, could you tell us if the founder of ACORN's brother, who also lives in Hyde Park, was ever indicted for the embezzlement of $900,000 dollars from ACORN.

That could be government money, you know.

He hasn't been indicted yet, you say? No charges yet, you say? Hmmm...

Not because he's from Hyde Park, right? It's just coincidence that Obama is from Hyde Park, and David Axelrod, his chief advisor, and Valerie Jarret, another advisor, and Rohm Emanuel, his chief of staff...

Wait, there are charges going to be filed? He's going to return that money? Did I hear you typing furiously to report that?

No? Thought so.

andrew nelson

"Reported in 2008, Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke, was found to have embezzled $948,607.50 from the group and affiliated charitable organizations back in 1999 and 2000. ACORN executives decided to handle it as an internal matter, and did not inform most of the board members or law enforcement!"

Peter Dreier

ACORN, until recently the nation's largest community organizing group, just announced that it is closing up shop, following a relentless and misleading attack by Republicans and Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaught and the rest of the conservative echo chamber, exacerbated by one-sided coverage in the mainstream media. In an article, "Why ACORN Fell," in the Huffington Post today, John Atlas and I examine how it happened and, in particular, the role played by the New York Times in ACORN's demise. (We also point out that ACORN's legacy will continue through many state-level groups with ties to ACORN and in the many ACORN organizers who, over the years, have played key roles in a wide variety of progressive organizations and causes). Here's the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/why-acorn-fell_b_510285.html.

I also recommend John's new book, Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group. You can order it from the publisher, Vanderbilt University Press. http://www.vanderbiltuniversitypress.com/books/387/seeds-of-change

andrew nelson

" exacerbated by one-sided coverage in the mainstream media".

Hey!!! Wait a minute!!! You can't use that singularly distinctive rightwing branded derogatory insult on mainstream media, and be from the left.

That is a distinct ' conservative echo chamber' copyrighted catch phrase.

The rest of your stuff is probably plagarized too...


That Obama represented ACORN as an attorney and taught Alinksy's "Rules for Radicals" there speaks volumes about our president.

andrew nelson

As much as it is a noble aspiration to believe in the martyred sainthood of those who would dwell among the poor to bring relief and social justice, one has to despise the camouflaged wolf who preys upon both the charity of well meaning people, and the desperation of those who are in distress.

This Hyde Park Chapter of The Chicago Mafia should have been indicted and convicted using the RICO Statues in regard to Organized Crime.

Steve Pond

ACORN will continue, as soon as it acquires a new identity.



In Case You Missed It...



Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

In Case You Missed It...