This is Part I in a multi-part set of posts. When you’ve finished reading this post, be sure to follow up with
Part II: Anna Burger and the Change to Win Story.
A library of all supporting documents, plus other records and reports, can be found at:
The ACORN Money Trail (also includes records for SEIU, America Votes, Tides Foundation and more)
First, Some Introductory References on Wade Rathke:
Wade Rathke is the Chief Organizer of ACORN International, Founder and Chief Organizer of ACORN (1970-2008), and Founder and Chief Organizer of Local 100, Service Employees International Union. He is also a Board Member of the Tides Foundation, a well-known left-supporting organization, also well known to Barack Obama.
What is the structural connection between ACORN, SEIU and the Tides Foundation? And what does it have to do with Barack Obama? First, it appears there’s somehow a *real* connection between organizations, if you start just by looking at Rathke’s own website:
And Now, Let’s Begin the Story
In 2000, Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, allegedly embezzled $1 million dollars from the ACORN organization. In an effort to help Wade Rathke hide his brother’s crime and keep the scandal a secret, Tides Foundation founder and Rathke’s fellow board member, Drummond Pike, is alleged to have funneled nearly $1 million dollars to ACORN through a front/subsidiary that was titled “Citizens Consulting Inc.” (which is also commonly known as “Citizens Services Inc.”). Pike later admitted to reporters that he was in fact the secret donor, indicating he did so to try and protect the integrity of the organization.
It is interesting to note here that Citizens Consulting Inc., (aka Citizens Services Inc. – CSI) will become headlines again during the 2008 Presidential election for Obama and the subject of a Congressional hearing.
Read the 118 page package of court documents filed in “ACORN vs. Rathke”, which includes the ensuing battle between Marcel Reid, Karen Inman, two members attempting the protect and preserve the financial records so they could be openly audited, and the other ACORN board members, whose interest lies solely with keeping said financial records closed, which to most would imply a potential cover-up. The complaint deals specifically with the legal request for the books of Citizens Consulting Inc. (CCI) to be made publicly available to assigned auditors, to review an unauthorized payment schedule for Dale Rathke, and an “anonymous” donor payment made to CCI / ACORN for about $800,000 of the remaining embezzlement debt. Marcel Reid, Karen Inman, and an additional insider, Anita MonCrief (later in this post) continue to fight to this day to try and have these books opened and the organization investigated once and for all, so that perhaps it can start anew someday without the corruption that they believe has poisoned its true mission.
Below are some of the connections that help visually tie some of the money, the power, and the “fronts” together. Larger maps are available by clicking on the images; interactive maps are available from muckety.com.
Check out the bonus association maps at the end of this post. This is turning into “Six Degrees of Separation for Socialists”.
**Go to www.muckety.com to create your own interactive association maps.**
The New York Times had then reported that the Tides Foundation has provided more than $400 million dollars since 2000 to various far left outlets, a good portion of that to ACORN affiliates alone. The Tides funds come partially from federal grants, as well as elite donors like George Soros, Theresa Heinz Kerry, and The New World Foundation. At that time, Tides stated that Drummond Pike was on a “leave of absence” from their board; but shortly thereafter, they established an office in CA at The Presidio with George Soros’ friends, Democracy Alliance – Drummond Pike, Treasurer and Anna Burger, Vice-Chair. The Tides Foundation had also insisted that none of their money ever went to ACORN.
However, those claims of not having ever provided any money to ACORN aren’t exactly true, even if you exclude the Drummond Pike “donation”. Right in plain sight on the Tides Foundation website are some of their prior Grantee lists. These are grants made up of primarily federal government dollars, some of which are then given to ACORN affiliates. Here is just a sampling of some of the ACORN grants indicated in those very lists from the Tides Foundation:
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MONEY TRAIL – FINANCIAL RECORDS, REPORTS, COURT FILINGS
Fast forward a few years and there had been reports in 2008 that Obama himself had paid a very large sum of money to Citizens Services Inc. during his campaign. It was brought to light when an expenditure of nearly $900,000 by Barack Obama was reported to the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) for “sound & lighting equipment”, but was later officially amended after public attention and scrutiny was called to the expense and Obama had initially indicated it was recorded that way “in error”.
Despite the story having broken the news on a few occasions (originally researched by a blogger, msplaceddemocrat.com), including on Greta Van Susteren at Fox News, and in the Pittsburgh Tribune and The New York Times, it has always seemed to quiet down as quickly as it appeared.
Things seemed to get even odder the more that researchers, bloggers, reporters, and even just general American citizens started to try and make their own sense out of the connections. The twists and turns and number of names involved was just overwhelming and confusing. But one thing always stuck out like a sore thumb. One address:
1024 Elysian Fields Ave
New Orleans, LA
Noticeably, these are some of the other companies registered at the same address; some even sharing the same staff names, all registered under Wade Rathke or some other known ACORN affiliation:
- A. Corn
- Acorn Community Labor Organizing Center
- Acorn Community Land Association
- Acorn Housing Corp Of Illinois
- Acorn in New Orleans
- Acorn Institute
- Acorn National Broadcasting Network
- ACORN NATIONAL CALL
- Acorn Tenants Union
- Action Research
- Affiliated Media Foundation
- AFFILIATED MEDIA FOUNDATION MOVEMENT
- American Environmental Justice Project Inc
- American Home Day Care Workers Association
- AMFM, T
- Arkansas Institute for Social Justice
- Citizens Consulting Inc.
- Citizens Services Inc.
- Dale Rathke
- Gregory Fitch
- Institute for Social Justice Inc.
- JOANNE ACORN
- Labor Link
- LEE, MARIE A
- LITTLE, ROCK NEW
- Missouri, Tax J
- PERC Express Reserve
- Phoenix Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
- Project Vote
- PUGH, LITTLE ROC
- Service Employees Intl Union
- STREET, F
- TAX J MISSOURI
- Voting for America
- Wal-Mart (yes, really…)
- Wal-Mart Organizing Project
- WHIPPLE, WILLIAM
^ Not exactly a HUGE office park type of building that would house dozens of different companies…
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MONEY TRAIL – FINANCIAL RECORDS, REPORTS, COURT FILINGS
But by March of 2009 if would finally begin to make a little bit of sense, as hushed chatter of the New York Times burying a big ACORN-Obama story during the election became, well, not so hushed anymore. Much of this is sort of “old news” now, but someone still needs to go back and and tie up the old connections & money trail with the new ones. Stimulus cash is going to many of these ACORN affiliates. And since there are legal investigations underway in several states, like the one that follows here, the cash doesn’t usually go directly to ACORN. In fact, ACORN will repeatedly insist they are getting no cash directly from the Obama administration. And so they wouldn’t be lying, not quite.
One needs to go back to 2000 and earlier to tie together the money trails of past and present.
Up On Capitol Hill
Then, there was public testimony on the complaint filed by HEATHER S. HEIDELBAUGH, ESQUIRE, who on October 29, 2008, had “represented a candidate, voters and the Republican State Committee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a preliminary injunction before the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania against ACORN and The Secretary of the Commonwealth. The Complaint alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Election code, Fraud and Misrepresentation and Violation of Equal Protection and Due Process.”
On March 19, 2009, Ms. Heidelbaugh testified on Capitol Hill to members of the House Judiciary sub-committee about the complaint and her concerns regarding ACORN, as well as concerns relating to a potential cover-up by some of the media.
Ms. Heidelbaugh testified that she’d worked with an informant/witness by the name of Ms. Anita Moncrief ,who apparently came forward with pertinent information related to the Obama Presidential campaign and its practices, primarily through its connections to ACORN and some of its subsidiaries. It has been publicly acknowledged by Ms. Heidelbaugh that Ms. Moncrief was fired from ACORN for charging some of her personal moving expenses to her company credit card; Ms. Heidelbaugh and others still found her to be credible and without prejudice.
Ms. Heidelbaugh’s testimony included the following:
“…she [Ms. Moncrief] informed me that she had been a confidential informant for several months to the New York Times Reporter, Stephanie Strom, who had been writing articles about ACORN based on the information that she had provided.[page 81, lines 18-25] [Ms. Strom wrote the following articles about Acorn from July 9, 2008 to October 21, 2008: 1.) ‘Funds Misappropriated at 2 Nonprofit Groups’ July 9, 2008; 2.) ‘Head of Foundation Bailed Out Nonprofit Group After Is Funds Were Embezzled’ August 16, 2008; 3.)’Lawsuit Add to Turmoil for Community Group’ September 9, 2008; 4.) ‘On Obama, ACORN and Voter Registration’ October 10, 2008; 5.) ‘ACORN Working on Deal to Sever Ties with Founder’ October 15, 2008; and 6.) ‘ACORN Report Raises Issues of Legality’ October 21, 2008.] The New York Times articles stopped when Ms. Moncrief, who is a Democrat and a supporter of the President, revealed that the Obama Presidential Campaign had sent its maxed out donor list to Karen Gillette of the Washington, DC ACORN office and asked Gillette and Ms. Moncrief to reach out to the maxed out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN. Upon learning this information and receiving the list of donors from the Obama Campaign, Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at the New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, “it was a game changer”. That’s when Ms. Moncrief telephoned me on October 21, 2008. Ms. Strom never wrote another article about ACORN for the New York Times for the remainder of the period before Election Day, i.e. November 4, 2008.”
Ms. Moncrief further provided written testimony stating that
“There was active cooperation between ACORN’s political wing and Project Vote…[They] basically had the same staff. Nathan Henderson James was the strategic writing and research department…director of ACORN and he was the research director of Project Vote. Zach [Polett] was the executive director of Project Vote and the executive director of ACORN political. All of the organizations and the entities worked together. We shared the same space.” Further, Ms. Moncrief testified: “…there’s no real separation between the organizations for real. So when you have the same people that are working, that are—like, I was getting paid through Project Vote’s checkbook, but I was working on ACORN stuff. I even did PowerPoints during the midterm elections for Jeffrey Robinson where they were like, okay, don’t vote for Albert Win (ph) or vote for this person. And they had doorknob – door hangers that they would go and put on people’s doors, and we turned this into a PowerPoint presentation. So there was never any division between the staff where you would say, okay, this is (2)(3) stuff and this (c)(4) stuff. It was just—I don’t want to say business as usual, but it was a lot of collaboration between the organizations.” [page 89, lines 21-25, page 90 1-25, page 91, lines 1-3].
Ms. Moncrief also continued in written testimony, [page 25, line 10 et seq.]
“…ACORN is a member organization. It has…the national branch. But…the local offices…try to be self sustaining…when I was working in the DC office, I would hear all the time, if we don’t increase our membership, we won’t meet payroll…[The] money in the accounts for the local offices was determined by how many members they had on bank drafts or that they were going out in the community and collecting money from.” ACORN, however, also has many affiliate organizations with whom it associates and for which the legal relationship to is unclear. Ms. Moncrief testified [page 26, line 4] “the number [of affiliates] changes all the time. To the best of my knowledge, it’s got to be at least over 170. The last number I heard was 176, but its constantly changing.” ACORN refers to its affiliates as “the council of organizations.” [page 26, line 10-11]. In addition to the affiliates, there are state ACORN’s and city branches of ACORN. Ms Moncrief testified [page 26, line 17-23]: “Well, often they say ‘state ACORN,’ its more like we’re represented in let’s say Pennsylvania and then they’ll have three or four off-shoot offices, depending on the counties or where there’s the most population.”
‘ACORN and Project Vote targeted particular individuals and entities to solicit donations. [page 58, line 20]. These included: 1.) maxed out presidential donors; 2.) the billionaires club i.e. Herb Sandler, the Rockefellers; and 3.) the millionaires club i.e. Patricia Bowman, the Bowman Foundation, Wellspring, and Sykes. The donor list from the Obama Campaign that was provided to ACORN/Project Vote was admitted into evidence during the Injunction hearing.’
Read the entire official Congressional testimony to get the full testimony; it’s got all the details.
On March 13th, 2009, Anita MonCrief herself authored a very interesting blog post, which discusses her inside experiences with what she perceived to be as blatant manipulation of the system. She discusses issues regarding ACORN’s role in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and the tactics used by the organization to shake down lenders and other financial institutions. Also discussed are the organization’s strategic goals to place ACORN at the center of driving major social change in the United States through citizen participation. Not only are these objectives clearly outlined in documents that Ms. Moncrief has seen herself, but there are a multitude of sources available online in public records and search engines that confirm Ms. Moncrief’s claims. Presentations given by union organizations like AFL-CIO and SEIU, as well as union activist groups like “Jobs with Justice”, consistently push talking points that promote socializing America by way of organizing unions, low-income and minority groups into big political buying power brokers.
“By growing the number of people who can join or form unions (over 60 million workers say they would join a union if they could), workers will be able to organize politically in drastically larger numbers…” –Jobs with Justice “People’s Bailout” Organizing ToolKit
At union conventions, leaders like Anna Burger and Andy Stern frequently discuss their plans to significantly increase union membership and to work with ACORN and other partners to create a sheer force of political power large enough to influence the political leaders elected to office. They teach members to despise the term “free markets” – a founding principle of this nation’s very fiber and our Constitution. They discuss plans to “squeeze the corporate elite”, to “kill capitalism” and to “turn America back over to its rightful owners: our hard working union employees”. They also mention popular political platforms through which to leverage a chance to change their job market and unionizing opportunities, such as their plan to create green certification programs through which only union workers would get certified, thereby taking over those job opportunities and forcing corporations to either hire certified green union workers, or allow existing employees to unionize so they can become certified.
And ACORN executives are frequently all over the Internet and out in our own communities acknowledging their plans to work with America’s largest donors – the same donors on their “Obama donors list” – to change the face of America as history has known it.
After posting some interesting internal ACORN memos from Zach Polett and other ACORN executives, Anita Moncrief has been accused by Project Vote and ACORN of falsifying such information. But really, there is so much out there in the realm of public records and diligent research to prove such claims – with or without Ms. Moncrief’s memos. So I don’t think Project Vote and ACORN can really blame this entirely on her. You can find the same evidence in transcripts and videos of SEIU conventions, old ACORN end of year reports, and presentations given at annual meetings.
Interestingly, after Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) publicly called for an investigation into ACORN, he quickly backed off after Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), in a snippy tone, said he would do so only “if I ever hear ANY credible allegations”. Credible allegations? You’re kidding me, right? What else does this man need? Do we need to truck in some Teamsters union members, who are carrying in their arms some SEIU workers, who live in ACORN homes furnished by their $0 down payment “grant program” courtesy of Congress, that were financed through Fannie Mae? Oh wait, that’s right, Anna Burger is President Obama’s econmic adviser now. So none of them has to answer to anything, ever again, it would seem.
See the Conyers/Nadler video below.
This Post continues with ACORN Part II: Anna Burger and the Change to Win story.
Also view the ACORN MONEY TRAIL - FINANCIAL RECORDS, REPORTS, COURT FILINGS, CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION REPORTS that are supporting documents for these posts.
A few other relevant URLs:
Citizens Services Inc
Citizens Consulting Inc
1024 Elysian Fields
Affiliated Media Foundation
American Environmental Justice Project
American Home Day Care Workers Association
Institute for Social Justice
Muscle for the Money
Get Out the Vote
nathan henderson james
health care for america now