November 4th, 2008
04:34 PM ET
10 years ago

Covering ACORN with a hatchet

ACORN members rally in Washington last March.

ACORN members rally in Washington last March.

(CNN) - So today I got a letter sent to all Catholic Bishops in the U.S. announcing that due to serious problems at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is suspending all funds to ACORN.

It’s significant because the Catholic Church in the U.S. has given $7.3 million dollars to ACORN projects over the past decade. Just last year, U.S. Catholics gave more than a million dollars to ACORN. And it appears some of that money filtered down to the ACORN office in Las Vegas that made headlines trying to register the Dallas Cowboys football team to vote in Nevada.

The problem for the Catholics is two fold:

1. The Catholic Church is concerned about its own tax exempt status being involved in a group that is now so deeply involved in political support of one candidate.
2. The Catholic Church says questions have arisen about ACORNS financial management, fiscal transparency and accountability.

So, of course, I immediately called ACORN’s spokesperson Scott Levenson, one of many public relations specialists brought on by ACORN to fight all this bad press. And here is Scott’s response to the question about the Catholic bishop’s freezing ACORN funding:

“The facts are wrong and we will no longer participate in a Drew Griffin hatchet job against ACORN.”

Less than an hour later, after our editorial director made a call to ACORN asking if this really was their response, we got this from another public relations specialist ACORN brought on to fight the bad publicity:

“ACORN is grateful to have received CCHD funding for many years, and proud that CCHD has enabled us to help our low income constituency achieve the American Dream. We know that CCHD is reviewing their current funding, and we are in discussions with them about continuing their support.” Steve Kest, ACORN Executive Director

The tension over at ACORN must be so thick you could cut it with a …well, I guess a hatchet.

Filed under: ACORN
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Kristin

    You should consider the facts at one point or other, Drew. Seems like you prefer to create controversy rather than report the news. I am rather frustrated with how the media, on both sides, has chosen to present the facts during this campaign. I for one, will turn off my TV for a while. You guys are useless.

    November 4, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Bubba

    ACORN seems to be an incredibly inefficient organization. I guess they are hiring unhirables to do makework so their kids won't starve, but maybe they would be better off working for the clown. Don't really care if they get funds or not, and if they vanished maybe something better-run would appear in their place?

    November 4, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Kathy

    We should all DEMAND that all gov. funding of ACORN be cut off

    November 4, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Loren in CA

    It's odd that, given all of the issues and elections that the Catholic church has tried to influence, this time they're concerned about their tax-exempt status? Get all the churches *completely* out of the political process, or make them pay taxes. Don't let any of them have it both ways.

    At the same time, ACORN had better clean house, and I hope that anyone who's committed voter fraud – Republicrat or Demopublican – gets their keister tossed in jail. The last thing we need is yet another reason to doubt our election system, what with vote-flipping in Virginia and surplus Republican votes turning up in Ohio.

    November 4, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. inthebasement

    And this is relevant how?Separation of Church and State unless your candidate is losing?Diddle the Choir Boys,but vote extremist?SWEET!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Jon

    ACORN could lose it for Obama post-election if any of this winds up in the courts.

    November 4, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Vicki

    This ACORN issue is something that has been trumped up by republicans so they could pretend to be outraged about it. All ACORN has ever done is register new voters. There is nothing that is illegal about that. The real concern should be the republican voter suppression, voter intimidation, and all other ways that republicans will try to prevent Democrats from voting. It is republicans who do the illegal things, but jump up and down about a group that is trying to do the right thing. Everyone needs to get a clue who are the real friends of voters and voters rights, and who are the real enemies of people who have a right to vote.

    November 4, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Becky

    Why is the American Catholic church in bed with the GOP? The little boys didnt work out so well? I think they should loose their tax exempt status for this violation of Church and State....using the Eucharist and their purse as leverage is so Dark ages...

    November 4, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. mac

    So far as I know, at least ACORN hasn't had any pedophile scandals!

    November 4, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Mars Lindgren

    The ACORN issue was manufactured by the GOP to undermine an organization that is committed to making sure that low income people have a voice in our democracy, and to create a bs story to take attention away from election fraud that somehow always ends up favoring Republicans. The improper registrations in question were submitted seperately by ACORN, who went through their registrations and marked them as highly suspicious, but was required by law to submit them regardless. The coverage of this non-story has been absolutely pathetic- this is what happens when "news" organizations become entertainment and profits are more important than accurate information. We must cut the organizations complicit in spreading these lies out of our national culture like a cancer.

    November 4, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Brian

    Funny that voter registration fraud has gotten so much attention, while actual voter fraud is generally ignored. So much for a liberal media.

    The supposed ACORN scandal is silly. Move on.

    November 4, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. jayson67

    Chapman's right. Much more firm evidence over the years, and this season, of actual voter fraud committed by Republicans. Again, registration and voter fraud are not the same thing. Submitting a bogus form will simply be rejected by election officials. On the other hand, collecting voter registration forms in minority areas, then throwing them away is voter fraud. That actually prevents someone from voting. ACORN truly is mickey mouse compared to republican tactics.

    November 4, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Jose, San Diego

    The ACORN spokesman is right, it is a Drew Griffin hatchet job - send him on to Pox News, so he can spend the next 8 years calling for Obama's impeachment.

    November 4, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Skysaw

    Your comment made sense until you said what you did about a "single school system." I suppose that means a single PUBLIC school system, presumably where children can be innoculated against their religious parents' values and grow up to be good secularists. That would be the yuck to end all yucks, no thank you. We would never allow such Marxist tenets in this country – would we?

    November 4, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Evie

    Today's politics are like rooting for your favorite football team. The dirtier they play, the more the fans love it! Whatever happened to the Mr. Smiths' who once graced the Senate and Congress? Electing the first and third most liberal Democratic candidates is proof that we have hit rock bottom! God help us because we certainly don't know how to help ourselves.

    November 4, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. NJ







    November 4, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Michael

    Aimee "Just another reason I'm no longer a Catholic."

    Because the are not corrupt enough to support ACORN?
    Are you a member?

    November 4, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Molly

    ACORN is the victim of their own mismanagement. Had they paid attention to what their people were doing this never would have happened. I don't believe all the right wing conspircy, but its not hard to tell they have some terrible management problems.

    November 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Nathan

    ACORN checks all the registration forms its employees turn in. It flagged all the suspicious-looking forms before submitting them. ACORN is required by law to submit all its registration forms to the government, whether or not they're legitimate. The reason ACORN is under such scrutiny is because ACORN itself reported the falsified registration forms! People - this is not a big deal; the employees who tried to register fake voters have been fired. Obama had nothing to do with this. Stop listening to the false attacks you've been hearing.

    November 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Taz

    Can we PLEASE have the old CNN back after this is over!!!!!.....just report the news..all of it..the good and bad......
    FOX with the Reps....CNN with the Demos......I'm so tired of having to get local news from other countries.............that's my hope.....Yea, I know is not going to happen....

    November 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. money_tracker

    This ACORN scandal is the scab on the festering sore. Wait until it is revealed how much money was contributed to the Democratic Campaign via the internet by foreign nationals illegally residing in the US who are prohibited by federal law from contributing to political campaigns. If the election is extremely close be prepared for legal and constitutional battles over the outcome. I hope that whoever wins does so by a clear majority.

    November 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. CAB

    No he is not my president. My president supports America and is not concerned with what the rest of the world thinks we should do. I don't want to share what I work hard for with someone who does not want to work. I do not want to change the national anthem to something that others around the world will feel better about or change the flag for the same reason. At the end of the day the lesser of two evils is McCain like it or not. At least he is not going to bring America to their knees for the sake of making the rest of the world see a kinder gentler America. I am Catholic, my husband has been to Iraq and fought, and everyone can say what ever they want. They better hope Obama doesn't get in. WHo knows how long you will have that right before he decides it does not look good to the rest of the world.

    November 4, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Really?

    To those who claim the Republicans have "run our economy into the dirt" and "ran our country to the verge of another great depression", I have to ask, do you have any idea who has actually been making the financial decisions of the country the last 8 years? Don't get me wrong, I always considered myself a middle-of-the-road Democrat until this year, but then I decided to actually do some research and educate myself and to tell you the truth, what I discovered shocked me. The housing crisis, brought on by "predatory lending", yes, but also an initiative by Democrats to make mortgages available to those who would have been denied them in the past – ie: the people who really couldn't afford them. And the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle – if you do the research, you will find 17, count 'em, SEVENTEEN, different instances where George W. warned that something needed to be done, they were too big, etc. but nobody heeded the warning and look what happened. Yet these are two major things that "drove the economy into the dirt". And as far as another Great Depression – you're absolutely right, we may very well be headed for another one...and if you look at Obama's tax plan and look a little farther back in history, you will find that his plan mirrors that of Herbert Hoover's...that's right, the one that ACTUALLY drove the country into the Great Depression.

    November 4, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Frank Furter

    The coverage of the Acorn "scandal" has been biased from the beginning. There has been NO voter fraud perpetrated by Acorn. There has been some "Registration" fraud committed by some members of Acorn. These individuals are singled out and let go. By LAW all voter registration cards Fraudulent or not must be turned in. Acorn verifies registrants and separated the suspected fraudulent ones FOR the Gov.
    I am not concerned about Mickey Mouse showing up to the polls and voting. I am concerned about people who don't understand, don't research, yet claim to know about this issue. If you think Pepi Ronni will vote because of Acorn....please stay home.

    November 4, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Brooklynn

    I am a democrat and I dont agree with all liberals. However I dont think one litle precinct of intimidation is going to choose this election..Obama has been leading in the polls for a very long time..Republicans, arent you sick and tired of your nonsense for the past 8 years? Lets give a Democrat a chance to change things up..What do we have to lose anyway? Bush already ruined the last 8 years of our lives..OBAMA WILL WIN FOR SURE..ITS A SAD DAY FOR JOE THE NOT REALLY A PLUMBER AND THE REST OF YOU CONSERVATIVES!! OBAMA 08

    November 4, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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