Foundation Watch

Obama Administration Gives $446 Million to ACORN Veteran

My article from today’s Front Page Magazine:

Obama Gives $446 Million to ACORN Veteran

By Matthew Vadum

A former senior ACORN official has been put in charge of close to half a billion taxpayer dollars in Illinois, one of the most corrupt states in the Union and the home state of America’s Community Organizer-in-Chief.

What could possibly go wrong?

In 2010 the Obama administration designated $7.6 billion for a foreclosure relief program. Of that total $445.6 million will be administered by ACORN alumnus Joe McGavin, now a director at the Illinois Housing Development Authority. As Judicial Watch discovered, McGavin was “Chicago Operations Manager” at Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) from November 2008 through January 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Until two years ago AHCOA was called ACORN Housing. The nonprofit corporation renamed itself Affordable Housing Centers for America after undercover activists caught ACORN employees offering helpful advice about starting a brothel for pedophiles and committing other crimes on video in 2009. Soon after, popular revulsion prompted Congress to ban funding of ACORN and groups related to it.


ACORN Housing, which had been the largest affiliate in ACORN’s corrupt, taxpayer-subsidized empire of activism, grew out of crime: squatting. It emerged from a 1982 action in which ACORN built a squatters’ tent city behind the White House.

ACORN Housing helped to erode lending standards by pushing the financial affirmative action law known as the Community Reinvestment Act. The group also pressured banks to adopt, in its own words, “more flexible underwriting criteria that take into account the realities of lower-income communities.” Inner-city lenders were pressured to use “less traditional income sources such as food stamps,” the group bragged in a pamphlet years before the mortgage bubble that it helped to inflate burst.

Not much is known about McGavin but it is clear that he has worked at the Illinois Housing Development Authority since February 2011. Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago from 1989 to 2011, happens to be “Of Counsel” at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, the same law firm at which IHDA chairman Terry E. Newman is a partner.

The federal money McGavin is administering comes from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund which is supposed to be used to help the “unemployed or substantially underemployed” make their mortgage payments. Mortgage counseling and foreclosure counseling are lucrative taxpayer-funded scams that politicians use to enrich their allies in the left-wing activist community.

Given ACORN’s 40-year history of sustained criminal activity that I documented at length in my book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, it is amazing how easy it is for ACORN veterans to find new employment. Common sense dictates that former ACORN officials ought to bear a scarlet letter ‘A’ that makes finding new jobs at least a little bit more difficult – but they don’t. Not even close.

ACORN is everywhere and McGavin is merely the tip of the ACORN iceberg. The lawless Alinskyite agitators of ACORN operate with impunity, deliberately ignored by the mainstream media. Some journalists want to protect President Obama who was an employee of ACORN and the group’s lawyer. Other reporters are so far to the left that ACORN’s activities seem normal, even admirable, so they tend not to get covered much in the media.

ACORN-SEIU operative Patrick Gaspard now runs the Democratic National Committee after serving as political director in the Obama White House. Convicted voter fraud ringleader Amy Busefink still works at ACORN affiliate Project Vote organizing voter registration drives, the same thing that landed her in legal hot water when she was employed by ACORN. ACORN founder Wade Rathke travels the globe fomenting revolution (and in India with the assistance of the Obama administration). ACORN operative Jehmu Greene is now a paid on-air Fox News Channel contributor.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan is a longtime ally of ACORN and has been since his days as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s housing development commissioner. The mainstream media doesn’t care about Donovan’s unsavory connections so the ethically questionable cabinet member continues doling out millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to his old friends at ACORN. Donovan is just one of several Obama cabinet members who kissed Al Sharpton’s ring at the convention his group, National Action Network, held recently in Washington, D.C.

Various ACORN front groups (Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) were deeply involved in organizing and participating inOccupy Wall Street protests and they’re gearing up right now to reelect President Obama in November.

Meanwhile, the ACORN front group New England United for Justice, which is headed by former national ACORN president Maude Hurd, has filed suit against Massachusetts.

The group accuses the Bay State of violating the National Voter Registration Act (a.k.a. Motor-Voter law). The accusation is hard to believe because in Massachusetts Obama’s close personal friend and fellow leftist Gov. Deval Patrick and the Democrat-controlled state legislature routinely bend over backwards to enforce all the latest politically correct diktats. The lawsuit itself (which may be viewed here) may be, among other things, an attempt to shake down the Commonwealth for money.

The plaintiffs are demanding several remedies including that more food stamp recipients and other individuals dependent on taxpayer largesse be placed on the voter rolls.

The plaintiffs are represented by several attorneys, among them Sarah Brannon and Sabrina Khan of Project Vote, the affiliate of ACORN that President Obama worked for in 1992. Khan is Project Vote’s election counsel and Brannon is director of the group’s Public Agency Registration Project whose mission is to carry out the Cloward-Piven Strategy of swamping the voter rolls with welfare recipients. (ACORN improved on the strategy by also registering illegal aliens, dead people, and cartoon characters.)

ACORN leaders have also been lobbying the Obama administration and working with Eric Holder’s Justice Department to water down laws that protect the integrity of the electoral system. ACORN operatives and many on the Left believe voter fraud is a myth invented by supposedly racist conservatives to prevent minorities from voting.

Perhaps Project Vote’s director of advocacy, Estelle H. Rogers, discussed efforts to undermine electoral integrity with administration officials during her visit to the Obama White House. Official visitor logs showed Rogers was to meet with a senior aide to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett and with Van Jones’s former chief of staff.

Although ACORN petitioned for bankruptcy in November 2010, it never actually went away.

Months before the bankruptcy filing 13-year ACORN veteran Nathan Henderson-James, then-director of ACORN’s online campaigns, explained the subterfuge ACORN was using to dupe Americans into believing the group was shutting down.

“It is definitely true that over the next week or so we should see a dozen or more organizations launched on the state level by staff who used to work for ACORN and leaders who developed their skills as ACORN members. These are not just simple name changes, but reimaginings of how best to organize low and moderate income constituencies without any of the legal problems and funding issues dogging ACORN, not to mention the brand damage,” Henderson-James wrote in a leaked email.

It is a “tactically smart . . . reaction to the global situation that helps the work of building power for poor people to continue,” he wrote.

ACORN’s ruse was designed to keep tax dollars and foundation grants coming in.

It’s working.

Matthew Vadum

The author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011), Vadum, former senior vice president at CRC, writes and speaks widely…
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