ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has long been a target for conservative organizations and one such organization has released this video purportedly shown ACORN’s Baltimore office assisting two investigators posing as a prostitute and a pimp in getting federal assistance for a brothel.
The investigation was launched by BigGovernment.com, which ACORN says tried the same pitch at various offices unsuccessfully. On the video, James O’Keefe, a 25-year-old independent filmmaker, poses as a pimp with a 20-year-old woman named “Kenya” who posed as a prostitute.
On the videotape, “Kenya” tells an ACORN staffer that she earns roughly $8,000 a month. The ACORN employee then suggests to “Kenya” that ACORN could submit a tax return for 2008 showing that she made $9,600 for the entire year rather than $96,000 — and that ACORN would prepare the forms for a small fee. It is also suggested that she claim to be a “performing artist” rather than a prostitute on the tape, even though the pimp says “It’s not dancing, trust me.” The ACORN employees are heard noting that prostitution is illegal. However, they continue to advise the couple on how to file papers even after they say that they want to bring underaged girls into the city from another country.
The organization supplies the whole transcript here.
Obviously, ACORN is a large organization and can claim that these are rogue employees, even if this tape is proven to be legitimate. Indeed, in an update, the employees have now been fired. I assume this organization would not run a doctored tape since it would invite a defamation lawsuit. However, this tape will likely rekindle the efforts to secure an investigation into ACORN’s activities. ACORN continues to deal with such controversies, here and here with additional charges today.
[UPDATE: ACORN has fired the two employees on the tape, here].
Republicans have been complaining that Democratic leadership has blocked efforts to investigate ACORN despite its involvement in voting controversies. Judiciary Chairman John Conyers is quoted as saying that “the powers that be” in Congress quashed any investigation by his Committee, here.