ACORN Drops Tarnished Name and Moves to Silence Critics: Don’t Let the Name Change Fool You!
Corruption and cover-ups continue!! Let’s not let ACORN’s name change fool us. They will continue doing their dirty deeds under a new name and with Obama’s blessing unless we stop it. This is a corrupt organization that Obama has put in charge of several things and it needs to be uncovered!!
ACORN drops tarnished name and moves to silence critics
By: Kevin Mooney
Examiner Investigative Reporter
Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) leaders are using the threat of a law suit to silence and intimidate critics, according to current and former members of the liberal activist group.
In a letter dated June 11 an attorney for ACORN advised top whistleblowers that their unauthorized use of the organization’s name could make them liable for monetary damages and injunctive relief.
ACORN executives have also changed their organization’s name, which was tarnished by investigations in at least 14 states of allegations of voter registration fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign, and charges by current and former members of financial mismanagement and misrepresentation.
The new name will let ACORN leaders continue their operations without worrying about prior bad publicity, according to Marcel Reid of ACORN 8, a group of present and former members.
“We’ve known for many months now that the name ACORN is going to be retired,” Reid said. “The name has been so damaged to the point where the leadership knows it simply can’t go on as it has with the ACORN label out front and center, especially after all of the reporting.”
In fact, the process has already begun, she noted. Wade Rathke, who founded the organization, announced on his blog that ACORN International has officially changed its name to “Community Organizations International.”
Reid also said ACORN is in the process of dismantling Citizen’s Consulting Inc. (CCI), a New-Orleans based non-profit, which has been used to maintain centralized financial control, ACORN 8 activists claim. Tax records show that CCI is interlinked with several ACORN affiliates.
Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, embezzled almost $1 million from the organization in 1999 and 2000, while he was employed as the organization’s chief financial officer with the CCI affiliate. For almost a decade Wade Rathke and other staff members concealed the embezzlement from ACORN’s board of trustees, according to the criminal complaint ACORN 8 members filed against the organization.
ACORN’s national leaders withdrew a lawsuit Reid filed with fellow board member Karen Inman last October seeking access to internal financial records. Reid and Inman were also expelled from their board positions; a move they say was illegal. Reid and Inman then came together with six other colleagues to form ACORN 8.
“ACORN has to be decapitated,” Reid said. “The senior staff and current national board should be dismantled. The only way to have reform is for the current leadership to be removed completely. We also need a forensic audit.”
Arthur Schwartz, the general counsel for ACORN, has sent a “cease and desist” letter to Reid and Inman instructing them to discontinue using the name ACORN in a connection with their activities. This same letter threatens legal action if the ACORN 8 members do not provide written assurances that they will comply with this demand by the end of June.
“It is a violation of federal and state law for you to use the ACORN name and mark without the written permission of ACORN,” the letter states. “Should you continue to do so, you will be liable for monetary and injunctive relief.”
Reid told The Examiner that ACORN 8 will not comply.
“We have no intention of not using the name ACORN 8, it is not a trademark infringement,” she said. “This get tough attitude is part of larger attempt to silence people and shut them down. We are not going to be silenced.”
Meanwhile, ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate has filed suit against Anita MonCrief, a former employee, who has testified under oath on voter registration allegations. ACORN is currently under investigation in at least 14 states for electoral irregularities. The Project Vote suit claims that Anita MonCrief and an unidentified accomplice gained access into private e-mails from group executives and stole the group’s name without permission. It also accuses Moncrief of using a company credit card for her own purposes.
“ACORN is attempting to silence me, and the allegations in the lawsuit are false,” MonCrief said in statement emailed to The Examiner.
ACORN 8 has released its own statement on “whistleblower retaliation” through its national spokesman Michael McCray that expresses support for new protective legislation.
“On behalf of the national board of ACORN 8, we are all saddened by and express great concern due to ACORN’s court action filed against whistleblower Anita MonCrief,” the statement reads. “While we do not express an opinion on the merits of ACORN’s complaint; we as reform advocates decry the tactic of suing whistleblowers – especially, low to moderate income people who do not have the financial means to effectively fight back in courts of law. Moreover, this is yet another example of why congress must enact strong corporate, government and tax-payer funded whistleblower protection laws.”
ACORN 8 has endorsed H.R. 1507, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009.