ACORN: Caught on videotape

ACORN is in the spotlight because two young filmmakers, posing as a pimp and his prostitute, filmed ACORN employees in six cities providing the couple with information on how to evade taxes and other shady advice.

Just because someone’s the victim of obsessive, right-wing attacks, said Andrew Sullivan in, “doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it.” Most of us rolled our eyes last year when Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, et al., insisted that ACORN, the national left-wing advocacy group, was a criminal enterprise bent on stealing the election for Barack Obama. But perhaps we should have paid more attention. Recently, two young filmmakers posing as a pimp and his prostitute filmed ACORN employees in six cities advising the couple on how to evade taxes, set up a brothel, and even smuggle truckloads of underage prostitutes up from Mexico. Congress has since voted to cut ACORN’s funding, and the group’s leaders have promised an investigation into activities that should “shock the conscience of any moral American.”

Once the dust settles, said Errol Louis in the New York Daily News, we’ll see this trumped-up scandal for the “political hit job” it is. Republicans have been trying to destroy ACORN for years, because its staffers have registered 1.6 million black, Hispanic, and other low-income Americans to vote—and most vote Democratic. False allegations of widespread fraud failed to stop the voter-registration effort, and so now, in desperation, they’ve seized on a few “heavily edited” videos in which six ACORN employees, out of 600 across the nation, humor the crime fantasies of two preppies in fancy dress. When not being pranked by intrepid young conservatives, said Joe Conason in, “what ACORN actually does, every day,” is help poor people vote, claim tax credits they’re entitled to, and avoid foreclosure on their homes by applying for federal housing assistance. In response to the conservative attack, ACORN has now appointed an outside panel to do a thorough internal housecleaning. How unlike its Republican critics, who repeatedly accept the excuses for Republican senators and congressmen caught frequenting actual prostitutes.

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