Exposing the Axis of Crime: ACORN and SEIU and their illegal political action

We've known for years the close connection between ACORN and the Service Employees International Union. But any thorough investigation of ACORN must look at how one of ACORN's founders - Wade Rathke, and his creation of two of SEIU's most powerful chapters - constitutes a criminal conspiracy to violate campaign finance and election laws to elect liberal Democrats to Congress.

Rathke has been very careful. He has created literally dozens of shell organizations, not for profit groups, consulting entities, and other for-profit companies to funnel money meant for charitable or community organizing efforts into illegal political activity. The scheme is so complex, that forensic accountants will have trouble unraveling the whole, stinking mess. In the end, unless there is an administration and Congress determined to get to the bottom of things, it is doubtful the whole truth will ever be known.

But we do have a few dots to connect. And one of those is Rathke's huge influence in SEIU that he has used to funnel millions into ACORN's coffers.

Kathleen Parker writing in the Washington Post:

While various government agencies funded ACORN to help poor people become voters and homeowners, ACORN under Rathke created SEIU Local 100 (Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas) and SEIU Local 880 (Illinois, Indiana and Kansas). In turn, the SEIU wrote checks to ACORN for political activities and union organizing, according to ACORN whistle-blower affidavits. In 2008, the SEIU and Change to Win, a coalition of labor unions, gave ACORN $1,729,462, according to union financial reports filed with the Labor Department.

To break it down, ACORN and the SEIU are hand and glove. Rathke himself referred to the SEIU as "one of the pillars of the ACORN family of organizations" in a June 9, 2007, blog posting. This coziness has been long known among conservative watchdog groups, but Washington has paid little attention until now.


Such concerns -- and charges of voter registration fraud against ACORN -- ultimately may pale in comparison with the organizers' betrayal of public trust through the apparent commingling of taxpayer money and union funding, not to mention possible coercion and intimidation.

Just last week, the Kansas City Star reported that two state agencies acting on an SEIU public records request sought to identify in-home health workers who care for the elderly and disabled. After complaints, the state acknowledged that it was under no legal obligation to provide the information and ceased helping the SEIU. Unionizing is not a state function, needless to say. And never mind the invasion of privacy.

At the height of last year's presidential campaign, it was revealed that the Obama administration paid $800,00 to an ACORN shell company for such services as setting up stages and sound systems at Obama events. It is unknown how much cash the Obama campaign funneled into ACORN - which was then used for get out of the vote and voter registration efforts. Clearly, the Obama campaign viewed ACORN as an unofficial part of the organization. And SEIU was right there with them.

It appears that both the administration and congress will make only half hearted efforts to get to the bottom of this cesspool. The only way that will change is if Republicans can win enough seats in 2010 to force a change.

Even then, it may prove to be a chimera to believe that ACORN's power can be broken.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky