Rathke, ACORN, SEIU, the Tides Foundation, Oh My!

Please view this more updated version of this Post.

It is Part I of a multi-part set of Posts on this story.
Part II can be viewed here.


The ACORN Hush-Up (Again).

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, 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 more commonly known as Citizens Services Inc.”). It is interesting to note here that Citizens Services Inc. (CSI) will become headlines again during the 2008 Presidential election and the subject of a Congressional hearing.

Below are some of the connections that help visually tie some of the money, the power, and the “fronts” together. Interactive maps are available by clicking on the images.




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 god portion of that to ACORN affiliates alone. But the Tides Foundation had insisted that none of their money ever went to ACORN. At that time, they also stated that Drummond Pike was on a “leave of absence” from their board.


However, those claims of not having ever provided any money to ACORN weren’t exactly true. 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:


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


Phone: 504-943-5954

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 Tenants Union‎
  • Action Research
  • Affiliated Media Foundation
  • 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.
  • Labor Link
  • Missouri, Tax J
  • PERC Express Reserve
  • Phoenix Organizing and Support Center, Inc.
  • Project Vote
  • Service Employees Intl Union
  • Voting for America‎
  • Wal-Mart (yes, really…)
  • Wal-Mart Organizing Project



^ Not exactly a HUGE office park type of building that would house dozens of different companies…


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.”

View the filed complaint here.

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 testified 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 testified, [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 authored a very interesting blog post, which discusses her inside experiences with what she perceived to be as blatant manipulation of the system. Issues cover everything from ACORN’s role in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, to the organization’s financial health and political goals, to its many money-accepting “affiliates”, to ACORN being mysteriously given “the Obama donor list” of billionaires in order to secure financing and support to further their (and Obama’s agenda). Included in her post (to which she also testified under oath) was this interesting internal ACORN memo from Zach Polett:


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 SEIUworkers, 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.

Bonus Association Maps


This writing of this post will be continued in Parts. Please check back for Part II to follow soon.

A few other relevant URLs:



ACORN Whistleblower
dale rathke
wade rathke
tides foundation
Drummond Pike
Heather Heidelbaugh
Anita Moncrief
Stephanie Strom
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
Labor Link
Muscle for the Money
Project Vote
Get Out the Vote
Karen Gillette
nathan henderson james
zach polett
health care for america now


10 responses to “Rathke, ACORN, SEIU, the Tides Foundation, Oh My!

  1. Pat

    Good work Liberty. I thought this might add what you have already.

    If you go to the Dept of Labor’s website below and type Acorn in as the payee it will show you which unions are putting $ into Acorn.


    If you go to the search below, you can see where Rathke is paying his own company and Acorn through the SEIU budgets. I think it is SEIU local 1 or 100.


    • flutemandy77

      Thanks! I’d actually started doing exactly that – but I’m currently working on “Change to Win”, Anna Burger’s other organization that’s the umbrella over the SEIU and 6 other unions. $18Million to her org. in 2008 alone. How can someone be receiving funds while actively serving as chair of “America’s newest labor federation” AND serving as one of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board members? It’s a blatant conflict of interest!

      Anyway, that’s just the tip of this iceberg! I’m hoping to post the second round of research before the weekend, which focuses on Burger and expands even further from there. Stay tuned!
      – Liberty Chick

  2. Pat

    You have to use the drop down and select SEIU.
    Local 1 is Balanoff- from the Blago case.
    Local 100 is Rathke. He’s paying Elysian Fields Corp (which I believe is Rathke’s own company) and San Jacinto Corp comes up under Acorn if you do a search. (It is on the 2007 report.)

  3. Pat

    Hey Liberty….
    In that Acorn Payee Report, the first two entries are from…..Change to Win.
    $193,740 and $85,500.

    I’ll see if the Dept of Labor has any more info and Change to Win.

  4. Pat


    Go to think link—file # 000-385 Budget reports for Change to Win.

  5. Pat

    Board Members…Andy Stern- Head of the SEIU
    Anna and James Hoffa!!!

  6. Pat

    57,000 to bloggerpower.org

    That is hooked up to the Daily Kos

  7. Fantastic post!
    In related news:
    Power Line –Killing A Story: How It’s Done

    Times reporter Stephanie Strom was looking into ACORN, and she had a source, a former ACORN employee named Anita Moncrief. Moncrief told Strom that she had evidence of “constant contact” between ACORN’s Project Vote and both the Obama and Clinton campaigns:

  8. Pingback: ACORN’s “Texas for Obama” Labor Ally Could Prove Cover to Rebuild Discredited Organization « Romanticpoet's Weblog

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