I am surprised to see that ACORN is still in the news this week. In case it is possible for anyone to have forgotten, James O’Keefe III and his associate Hannah Giles, posing as pimp and prostitute went to ACORN offices in five cities including Baltimore and D.C. They sought advice on establishing a brothel, including how to file taxes without arousing suspicion, and some ACORN workers scandalously obliged.

On the left, the interpretation of this “expose” is that every organization the size of ACORN will have some unscrupulous employees, and an organization that otherwise does a lot of good should not be condemned because of them. On the right, the reaction has been somewhat more severe. Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal have both courageously cut funding to ACORN, although, as it turns out, ACORN had not been receiving funds from either state. FOX news, of course has characterized ACORN as an army of Nazi communists marching down Main Street of Democracyville, U.S.A.

I am inclined to think that the people most in need of systemic change are the least likely to vote and that ACORN helps to remedy that problem. But more to the point, this “expose” was merely a stunt that proved nothing about the organization or even the offending employees. On the scale of deception, one being an email from an Algerian prince and ten being an episode of “Punk’d,” I would rate this one at about three. I find it improbable that an employee who is accustomed to serving people in Baltimore or D.C. would be duped by a Reganite wearing his grandmother’s chinchilla shoulder throw. Furthermore, O’Keefe sought advice on, among other things, how to pay his taxes. Personally, I think a pimp paying his taxes is better than a pimp not paying his taxes. If ACORN could get every pimp and prostitute in America to pay taxes, the budget would shape up rather quickly. But mostly, this story smacks of hypocrisy. Where was all this outrage when Haliburton moved its corporate headquarters to Dubai, avoiding millions in taxes even while it continued to win no-bid contracts from the U.S. government? Apparently, only companies that help poor people are capable of destroying democracy.

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