ACORN Workers Caught on Tape by Right-Wing Bloggers Allegedly Advising Prostitute

September 11, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The advocacy group, Association for community organizations for reform now (ACORN) fired two part-time seasonal workers from its Baltimore office, as soon as a heavily edited video made by two conservatives bloggers with a hidden camera, was posted online. The video appears to show the two workers advising the undercover bloggers on ways to set up a prostitution business without running afoul of the IRS.

The two right-wing bloggers had previously tried their undercover scam numerous times, without success, in other ACORN offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, California, and New York.

Fox News and Glenn Beck have been heavily promoting the story. Conservatives have long portrayed ACORN as the bogeyman in various conspiracy theory scenarios. ACORN is a community-organizing group, comprised mostly of minorities that is known for its minority voter registration drives and community outreach.

The group describes itself, as “the nation’s largest grassroots community organization of low and moderate-income people.” ACORN has come under increasing attack by Republicans, most notably with accusations of voter fraud in Florida during the presidential election. Several temporary workers were caught by ACORN filling out voter registration forms with fake names and the group itself initiated an investigation. The fake forms were flagged by ACORN staff and never were counted as votes.

In advance of the undercover video’s release on Thursday, Glenn Beck promoted it on his show on Wednesday.

The video appears to have been made sometime in July, by conservative activist and filmmaker James O’Keefe and columnist Hannah Giles. It’s unknown why the two decided to release the video two months after it was made. The video footage appears heavily edited and goes black in places.

Sonja Merchant-Jones, Chair of Baltimore City ACORN said, “The President gave a speech on health reform, that tape was done some time in July and just released today.”

Still, it’s hard to explain some of the alleged comments made by the two seasonal ACORN workers, who thought they were advising a pimp and a prostitute in setting up a business using underage girls from El Salvador.

One of the ACORN workers is heard recommending that Giles refer to herself as a “performing artist” on tax forms and declare some of the girls as dependents. “Stop saying prostitution,” another worker is heard saying, who has been identified by Giles as an “ACORN tax expert.”

ACORN wants to see the entire unedited video footage and questions the timing of its release immediately after President Obama made an important speech on health care reform, before a joint session of Congress. Groups of tea party protesters joined under the main umbrella group 9/12 formed by Glenn Beck, are also poised to rally in Washington, DC over the weekend.

Scott Levenson, a spokesman at ACORN’s national offices notes that O’Keefe and Giles have been trying for months to film ACORN workers doing something improper.

“The portrayal is false and defamatory and an attempt at ‘gotcha journalism,’” said Levenson. “This film crew tried to pull this sham at other offices and failed. ACORN wants to see the full video before commenting further,” Levenson said.

ACORN officials are saddened that this provocative story takes away from all the good work the group does on behalf of the poor and minorities.

“We do great work in this city and that served as a distraction. We don’t know exactly what was said how it was said whether it was dubbed whether it was cut, sliced we don’t know,” Merchant-Jones explained.

While the video was filmed, there were no senior staff members or officials in the building at the time and the seasonal-part time workers were not authorized to act on ACORN’s behalf explained Merchant-Jones. “There was nothing done where acorn took any type of monies from them there was nothing done that we found that was illegal,” she added.

Meanwhile, as the validity of the video footage is sorted out, ACORN is considering pursuing legal action against Giles and O’Keefe, as it’s illegal in Maryland to record someone’s voice without permission.



6 Responses to “ACORN Workers Caught on Tape by Right-Wing Bloggers Allegedly Advising Prostitute”

  1. Scott W. Somerville on September 11th, 2009 2:16 pm

    ACORN has had two months to “consider legal action” against a “pimp and ho” who told tax/mortgage advisors they wanted to run a child slavery ring. If ACORN isn’t willing to report suspicions of child sexual abuse (as required by law), why would they resort to legal action NOW?

  2. Chris on September 11th, 2009 4:14 pm

    “The two right-wing bloggers had previously tried their undercover scam numerous times, without success, in other ACORN offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, California, and New York.”

    Really? Then where are the police reports?

  3. Donald on September 11th, 2009 6:28 pm

    No wonder Ruplicans are failing. Just sit back and relax, and watch them eat themselves alive.

  4. Jim on September 11th, 2009 8:41 pm

    Right-wing bloggers? I am sure ACORN personnel were just doing their Job…..Right!.. Lets give them some more taxpayers dollars to IMPROVE the community..I am truely amazed.

  5. chrisj on September 12th, 2009 12:11 pm

    Obama was Acorns lawyer.
    Acorn, allegedly, promotes criminal behavior.
    Is Obama therefore, allegedly, a criminal?
    You report we decide!

  6. olivia on September 12th, 2009 1:03 pm

    Chrisj – By that logic all defense lawyers would be criminals because they defend criminals. That’s stupid.

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