Friday, September 18, 2009

Firing Workers Wont Be Enough

ACORN has announced that they fired yet another worker viewed on videos showing ACORN employees providing advice on how to break the law. Juan Vera was canned after he was shown on video of the San Diego office providing advice on how to engage in child prostitution, solicitation of sex, and smuggling of children across the border. Yet, Juan Vera's superiors first attempted to claim that he made the best of a bad situation.
David Lagstein, the group's head organizer in San Diego, initially said Thursday that he believed Juan Carlos Vera did his best to deal with a challenging situation and would not be disciplined. But three hours later, Lagstein reversed that decision.

He said he reevaluated the videos posted online in which Vera was secretly filmed answering questions about smuggling people into the U.S. through Tijuana. Lagstein said after further discussion with supervisors and state ACORN officials he decided Vera's conduct was "unacceptable."
How exactly is that a sign of good judgment on the part of Vera's superiors?

What does that say about Lagstein's moral and ethical flexibility where he first concluded that he would not be disciplined? What would it have taken for him to be disciplined? The only reason that Lagstein reversed his position would have to be pressure from above to fire Vera to make the mess go away.

New York continues investigating matters, and for now, ACORN has closed intake for homeowners seeking assistance. Bertha Lewis, head of ACORN vows to clean up the mess.

An internal audit will likely result in no substantive change, primarily because the so-called independent people involved are actually quite associated with ACORN and have a vested interest in making sure that ACORN gets cleared with a minimum of disruption.

Let's just say that law enforcement will have a much better time cleaning up the mess than Lewis if managers of various offices are engaging in the same moral and ethically questionable conduct as those who were fired.

The Houston GOP is calling for the city to cut ties with ACORN going forward. ACORN had a $155,000 contract ending this past June to provide homeowner assistance programs to local communities. This goes back to one of the core problems - monies for legitimate assistance of homeowners who need help gets commingled with political organizing. The group's various political organizing and homeowner assistance take place under the same roof and it is anything but clear that the group keeps them separate. That goes to whether the group is violating its tax exempt status.

Michelle Malkin notes that the San Diego ACORN office was on the forefront of extending home loans to illegal aliens and promoted its program.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that “undocumented residents” comprise a vast market representing a potential sum of “$44 billion in mortgages.” Citibank enlarged its portfolio of subprime and other risky loans. ACORN enlarged its membership rolls. The program now operates in Miami; New York City; Jerse City, N.J.; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Bridgeport, Conn., and at all of ACORN Housing’s 12 California offices. San Diego ACORN officials advised illegal alien recruits that their bank partners would take applicants who had little or no credit, or even “nontraditional records of credit, such as utility payments and documentation of private loan payments.”

The risk the banks bear is the price they pay to keep ACORN protesters and Hispanic lobbyists from the National Council of La Raza screaming about “predatory lending” off their backs. These professional grievance-mongers have turned the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act – which forced lenders to sacrifice underwriting standards for “diversity” – into lucrative “business” opportunities. Or rather, politically correct blackmail. As the Consumer Rights League noted in a 2008 report on the group’s successful shakedowns of financial institutions, “an agreement with Citibank, a significant ACORN donor and partner, showed that some activists become less active when deals are in place."
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) says that the efforts to defund ACORN are unconstitutional. Interesting. That's the first reasonable argument made in defense of ACORN vis a vis the defunding to date.

He claims that this is a bill of attainder. It's an interesting argument since Nadler is essentially saying that ACORN is insulated from Congressional action and can continue spending federal appropriations even if engaging in criminal or potentially criminal actions.

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