I was told once by a wise law enforcement officer that if an organization wanted to remain effective, it should avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
The tortured reference to Thessalonians notwithstanding, that advise is good advise for any organization in the public eye. ACORN would do well to heed that warning.
Bertha Lewis, the CEO of ACORN has come out on record playing the vicitm card. She's claiming that 1) the videos were doctored , or 2) that it's all an unwarranted attack on her organization, or 3)that the applications would never have made it past the approval process. She's also launched an internal audit to try and clean up the mess. Good for her. I'm sure that she's a wonderful person and wants to do what's right. I'm not judging her, but rather the actions of her subordinates.
What I'm concerned about is the appearance of impropriey and the organizational climate that makes it so easy for low-level employees to advise others to skirt the law. It's apparent from watching the videos that low-level ACORN employees don't have any problem advising people how to skirt the law. It's one thing for a single employee to do something stupid, but it's another thing entirely to have multiple employees in multiple cities repeating the same mistakes over and over. That goes to the internal climate of the organization and gives us an insight into the leadership of the group. I certainly don't want any such organization using taxpayer dollars, whether federal, state or local money.
If, when these young citizen journalists had gone into an ACORN office and started their speil, the employee would have been outraged or dismayed and shown them the door, I wouldn't have any found any fault with them. They didn't, and there is the problem. Playing the victim card doesn't help ACORN either. They're not victims in this mess. It appears that they are enthusiastic participants.
I'm sure that ACORN does good work in many places, helping low income people with any manner of problems. That's no excuse. Al Capone, in Chicago, ran soup kitchens for the homeless and poverty stricken during the Great Depression. That didn't mean that he wasn't running a criminal organization at the same time.
The US Taxpayer should not fund any organization that skirts the law. ACORN should clean up its act, or risk losing all taxpayer money. The "internal audit" should only serve as the basis for a full investigation by the Justice Department.
**BREAKING UPDATE** The House of Representatives voted today to cut funding to ACORN. In a bipartisan effort, the House voted today 345-75 to not fund ACORN any longer. President Obama would do well to applaud this bipartisan effort and immediately sign it into law. It looks like it's veto-proof and is evidence that Congress can do the right thing when the evidence is overwhelming.
Also, there is a new video out. This one out of San Diego, CA, where they talk about smuggling underage girls across the border.