Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Acorn Falls

It seems that a self styled "conservative" activist film maker has managed to catch on film a number of ACORN employees at offices in three different east coast cities openly offering assistance that not only is NOT part of ACORN's remit, but which is plainly illegal. The so called conservative activist and his female sidekick, he posing as a pimp and she as his whore, presented to ACORN staffers their intention to import underage female labor from Central America for the purposes of setting up a brothel. The two would be flesh merchants were subsequently advised by ACORN employees to engage in various dishonest and deceitful measures in order to attain low income housing loans.

In the aftermath of ACORN staffers being, as it were, caught in the act, legal threats have been made against the filmmaker and FOX News for a variety of alleged infractions such as illegally obtaining the scandalous footage, and in the case of FOX, for running it. ACORN has vociferously defended what was caught on tape as the work of a few rotten apples. They further claim that footage of the two employees, employees that ACORN has subsequently released, was doctored to make the aforesaid staffers look bad. Finally, ACORN asserts that other attempts by the activist film maker to capture similar misconduct at other ACORN offices were unsuccessful, but, as yet, ACORN has not offered where those alleged failures occurred.

I regret that, at this time, I can't find a link to the footage in, for example, Baltimore. However, I have seen what took place at the ACORN office there and nothing struck me as either doctored or taken out of context. On the contrary, the footage appears, in that regard, immaculate. What one sees are two ACORN employees, apparently without any sort of prompting, interacting with pimp and whore in as nonchalant a manner as one can imagine, utterly unaffected by the stated illegal aims of the two who are seeking assistance. Furthermore, one gets the distinct feeling as if the outrageous advice the ACORN staffers offer is routine.

Apparently the U.S. Census Bureau feels the same way about the footage, since they have now severed ties with ACORN and will not be using the organization to obtain data for the 2010 census. Congress is next in line where ACORN opprobrium is concerned, and one will have to wait and see just how much funding that ACORN was slated to receive will be withheld, and what investigation, if any, will be conducted.

From where I sit, this scandal amounts to something of an embarrassment for President Obama, even if only at a remove. As a one time community organizer, he has a history of being supported by and supporting ACORN. So far, Mr. Obama has shown zero spine in dealing with the many areas of corruption in and around government. It will be interesting to see if he remains true to form in responding to this latest case of wayward behavior. Given his already falling popularity ratings, the consequences for sidestepping this issue may be considerable.



DED said...

I saw one of those videos too and I too felt that it wasn't doctored.

I'm not a lawyer, but I didn't think that the filmmaker did anything illegal. AFAIK, conversations can be recorded between citizens, provided that the recorder is taking part in said conversation. For example, person A may record a conversation between A and B, but may not record a conversation between B and C that A does not take part in.

Yeah, Obama really seems to be dragging his feet on dealing with corruption, no matter what the venue.

Edwardo said...

I think the law is different from state to state. The issue, at least where phone conversations is concerned, usually centers around whether the person doing the taping has informed the person being taped, regardless of whether both are in the conversation.


As yet, I can't find anything definitive on laws dealing with video taping.

DED said...

Thanks for the link. It validates some of what I thought.

The website also claims that it applies to all electronic recordings, not just phone calls. There were some states where both parties have to consent to the taping, like Illinois and Maryland. If these incidents took place there, ACORN has a leg to stand on insofar as the recorder didn't inform them they were being recorded.

Edwardo said...

Yes, According to the statutes, Acorn will likely be able to take legal action in Baltimore. However, it's clear that a lot of damage has been done, and as near as we can tell, justifiably so.