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Wade Rathke

ACORN International: Wade Rathke shakes down the whole wide world

ACORN International: Wade Rathke shakes down the whole wide world

By Michael Volpe (Organization Trends, October 2013, PDF here)

Summary: Community organizer Wade Rathke created ACORN and watched it grow to hundreds of affiliated groups around the country, until scandals forced the network into bankruptcy. Now he’s created ACORN International to bring his special style of community organizing around the globe, but often with the same old corporate American targets.

Although ACORN founder Wade Rathke disappeared from newspaper headlines when the group he created closed its doors in disgrace three years ago, he has kept busy ever since by trying to conquer the world. Rathke’s current nonprofit group, ACORN International, was created to allow ACORN to apply its corporate shakedown techniques against Western corporations as they expand into rapidly developing markets such as India. ACORN International agitates overseas, stirring up tenants and working against huge U.S. corporations such as Walmart. The group also fans the flames of discord in the microfinance and cross-border remittance industries.

Rathke is trying to spread the gospel of so-called social justice beyond America’s borders. Like a modern-day Karl Marx in exile, he is doing his best to redistribute wealth all around the globe, spreading socialism through shakedowns. He uses the ACORN brand, which isn’t yet tarnished abroad, in his international organizing campaigns, but the nonprofit hides behind a different moniker—Community Organizations International (COI)—here in the United States. ACORN International’s stated mission is “to build community organizations of low income families and to partner with grassroots organizations outside the United States.” A man who likes to operate in the shadows, Rathke has taken off on the next chapter of his career, even if no one has been paying attention.

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Community Organizers in Charge: Three who pack a political punch

Community Organizers in Charge: Three who pack a political punch

By John Gizzi, Organization Trends, September 2013 (PDF here)

Summary:  “Community organizer” is a term few Americans had heard until one was elected president in 2008.  Now it’s a badge of honor and a passport to the highest levels of political power.  We profile three of the most significant examples of the breed.

Community organizer? Ever heard that term before?

A credential increasingly found in up-and-coming leaders in government and the younger leadership of the labor movement is a background in community organizing.  The former top political adviser to the president, a man touted increasingly as the premier voice for immigrants, and the founder of a fledgling league of restaurant workers who is tapped as the future superstar of organized labor—all spent their formative years in jobs mobilizing small communities into action.

The reason for the rise to political clout of former community organizers (not to mention the growing interest in them) can be summarized in two words: Barack Obama.

As the first president who actually held a job bringing together citizens of a local community to advance their common interests (as defined by the far Left), Barack Obama put the position of “community organizer” on the map.

Fresh out of Columbia University in 1983 and unhappy with his first job as a financial planner in Manhattan, the young Obama moved to Chicago and went to work on behalf of the residents of the Altgeld Gardens public housing project.  Frequently billed as “the man who gave Obama his start,” veteran Chicago community organizer Jerry Kellman hired the future president at an annual salary of $10,000 and threw in another $2,000 for Obama to buy a used car.

From there, Obama went to work agitating among the 5,300 mostly black and lower-income residents of Altgeld Gardens, and seeking solutions to the perceived problems in their community.  These included, according to Kenneth Walsh of U.S. News and World Report, “a nearby landfill, a putrid sewage treatment plant, and a pervasive feeling that the white establishment of Chicago would never give them a fair shake.”

As his wife, Michelle, would recall years later to Walsh, “His work as a community organizer was really a defining moment in his life, not just his career,” because it helped Obama decide “how he would impact the world.” A better public service announcement for a starting career as a community organizer could not be scripted.

Obama is not, of course, the first community organizer to have gone far, and he won’t be the last.  But because of an early career that is unique among presidents, there is considerable interest in other leaders of today who began as organizers of local citizens and their concerns.

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Disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke is urging Catholics to quit their church

Disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke is urging Catholics to quit their church:

In the fall from grace of one institution after another, religious bodies have been on a steady decline for a generation.  No institution claims more members and fills less pews now that the Catholic Church on any given Sunday, nor has any outfit taken more of a licking in the public perception.  The inability to effectively manage the staff at the boundary lines between practice and principle has led to some dioceses declaring bankruptcy, multi-million dollar damage settlements, and a general uneasiness about how faith and flock have been stewarded by priests.  Couple all of that with a rigid hierarchy that seems committed to resisting change, pushing back the clock, some verifiable degree of misogyny, and a hardening attack on the victims of priestly misconduct and venerable institutions like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and anything that still carries the torch of the Church’s long historic leadership in the fight for social justice.
What’s to be done?  Finally, it has become crystal clear.  It’s time to leave the church and follow the nuns! [emphasis added above]

That’s rich.

Wade is one of the worst managers in the history of nonprofit activism. His brother Dale embezzled nearly $1 million from ACORN in 2000 and Wade covered it up for eight years until it became public in 2008. As I note in my book Subversion Inc. Wade’s actions laid the groundwork for the collapse of ACORN. All ACORN needed was a push — and that push was provided by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles the next year when they caught ACORN employees on undercover video offering helpful advice on setting up a brothel for pedophiles. The video sting caused Congress to cut off funding for ACORN and scared away remaining institutional funders. ACORN filed for bankruptcy on Election Day 2010.

ACORN Founder Wade Rathke Praises the Tea Party

ACORN’s loathsome, corrupt founder Wade Rathke compliments the Tea Party movement in a new Daily Caller article:

Rathke was unequivocal about the Occupy movement, telling TheDC that “in no way has it had the political impact that the tea party movement has.” Yet because Occupy organizing is “still in its embryonic stages” while tea partiers have been organizing for more than two years, he cautions that “comparing the tea party movement to OWS is apples and oranges.”

 

Is ACORN Bullet-Proof? Radical Community Organizers Re-Organize

Is ACORN Bullet-Proof? Radical Community Organizers Re-Organize

By Matthew Vadum, Organization Trends, September 2011 (PDF available:  OT0911)

Summary: Supporters of ACORN make long faces, lamenting the collapse of their sainted organization. Don’t believe them. It’s all for show. In 2009 Congress banned further federal funding for ACORN and last November the group declared bankruptcy. But ACORN operatives are rebuilding their organizing and fundraising apparatus, and ACORN is spawning new progeny. The groups have new names, but the faces behind them are familiar. They are roaming through government agencies in search of more federal grants. In this issue Matthew Vadum explores ACORN’s latest reinvention since the May publication of his book Subversion Inc.

Bertha Lewis chuckles about the collapse of ACORN, which filed for bankruptcy in November. “I think the Right is going be sorry,” she says, laughing. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and they didn’t really kill us. They just made us stronger.”

Lewis, who succeeded longtime ACORN “chief organizer” Wade Rathke, confirmed information revealed in leaked emails sent to supporters by ACORN spokesman Nathan Henderson-James: the dissolution of ACORN as a national organization is a complete fraud.

In September 2009 ACORN was rocked by videos showing undercover conservative activists receiving helpful advice from various ACORN employees on how to establish a brothel catering to pedophiles. The videos went viral, talk shows had a field day, and ACORN’s already-tarnished reputation was destroyed. The group lost its government grants and previously generous charitable foundations suddenly discovered they had better things to do with their money.

Unable to reclaim its reputation, ACORN tried to run away from it. As I report in my new book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, May 2011), the group instructed its state chapters to reincorporate themselves as separate entities under assumed names.

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Subversion Inc.: The Real Story of ACORN

Subversion Inc.: The Real Story of ACORN

By Matthew Vadum, Organization Trends, May 2011 (PDF here)

Special Report: This paper contains excerpts from the author’s new book Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011). Capital Research Center has been tracking ACORN since 1998. ACORN was most recently profiled in the November 2010 Organization Trends and in the November 2008 editions of Foundation Watch and Labor Watch.

Summary: Reports of ACORN’s death have been greatly exaggerated. More than a dozen of the infamous group’s chapters have broken off and separately incorporated themselves in order to evade authorities. Vadum’s new book examines ACORN’s history of corruption and lawbreaking along with its brutal anti-social goals and tactics. It also examines the group’s intimate relationship with the Obama administration.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is part political group, part crime syndicate, part terrorist organization. Much of the time it operates outside the legitimate political process, waging war against the framework of society. ACORN is in the business of subverting the American system, so what Americans saw on the undercover “pimp and pro” videos released in 2009 was just another day at the office at ACORN. But the darkest side of ACORN has remained largely unexplored – until now.

ACORN, which until it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year was America’s largest poor people’s group, was founded on political violence and intimidation. ACORN grew out of another notorious group called the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). NWRO was founded in 1966—the same year Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven’s seminal article “The Weight of the Poor” was published in the Nation magazine. The so-called Cloward-Piven Strategy called for activists to double America’s welfare rolls in order to destabilize the American system of government.

Placing impossible demands on states and localities would force them to ask Congress for a guaranteed annual income scheme and thereby set in motion the transformation of America into a socialist state. NWRO grew out of the organizing efforts of Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky and other veteran radical agitators. Cloward and Piven also helped bring NWRO into the world. They acknowledge they “were intimately involved in the affairs of NWRO: we participated in discussions of strategy, in fund-raising efforts, and in demonstrations.” In the late 1960s Wade Rathke signed on as an organizer for NWRO’s chapter in Springfield, Mass.

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ACORN Executive Director Joins Center for American Progress

Steve Kest, who was executive director of the organized crime syndicate ACORN, has become a senior fellow at John Podesta’s Center for American Progress.

Kest joins self-described “communist” Van Jones who is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Kest participated in the eight-year long coverup of a million-dollar embezzlement at ACORN perpetrated by Dale Rathke, brother of disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke.

Tides Founder Drummond Pike Resigns

According to a Canadian nonprofit, Drummond Pike, CEO of the San-Francisco-based Tides Foundation, an innovative leftwing grantmaker, has resigned as head of the group he founded 34 years ago.

A little-known benefactor to radical activist groups, Pike achieved notoriety in 2008 when he personally contributed $700,000 to help coverup and compensate the radical community organizing group ACORN for a nearly $1 million embezzlement by ACORN financial officer Dale Rathke. Dale Rathke is the brother of Pike’s friend Wade Rathke, who founded ACORN and was a founding board member of Tides. 

Tides has achieved reknown for revolutionizing the way money is gathered and distributed to left-leaning groups. The Tides Foundation maintains some 300 donor-advised funds. In 2008 it accepted $114 million from individual and foundation donors and made 1800 grants totaling $105 million. The Tides Center, a spin-off group, acts as a “fiscal sponsor” lending its management and fundraising skills and, more importantly, its tax-exempt status, to new and inexperienced activist organizations that are treated as Tides “projects” for legal and tax purposes.

Capital Research Center will examine Tides in its forthcoming October Foundation Watch publication. Word of Pike’s resignation reached us after our press deadline

According to a press release Pikes’ successor is Tides board member Melissa L. Bradley,  president and founder of New Capitalist, a venture capital firm.

Is ACORN Engaged in a Massive Money Laundering Scheme?

I have an article in today’s American Spectator about ACORN’s racketeering and money laundering activities.

Here’s the top of it:

Is ACORN engaged in a massive money laundering scheme?

Although evidence abounds that the radical left-wing advocacy group-cum-organized crime syndicate is recycling funds mafia-style, government investigators and the media have paid scant attention to ACORN’s money trail.

Red flags that appear to signal unlawful activities by ACORN are everywhere yet ACORN’s collaborators in the White House, Justice Department, and House Judiciary Committee, smugly ignore them.

If senior executives at a troubled publicly traded corporation were to provide completely different accounts of their company’s financial standing, how long would it be before federal investigators stormed their offices? If federal authorities failed to act, how long would it be before the media and the public began to accuse the powers that be of complicity in their wrongdoing?

We shall see.

I have just discovered that three senior ACORN officials have recently given wildly divergent accounts of the size of ACORN’s budget.

ACORN current CEO and chief organizer Bertha Lewis claimed in October that ACORN had an “average budget” between “$20 [million] and $25 million a year for everything, all of the offices combined.”

ACORN national president Maude Hurd reported in the ACORN entry of Erica Payne’s handbook for liberal activists, The Practical Progressive, that ACORN’s annual budget last year was $50 million. [...]

In “Understanding ACORN,” an essay published earlier this year, ACORN founder Wade Rathke said ACORN’s annual budget was north of $100 million. “Each year we raise and spend over $100 million, of which a significant part comes from dues and internal fundraising, but big chunks come from campaign support and labor and corporate partnerships,” he wrote.

So, is it $100 million, $50 million, or $25 million? [...]

Wade Rathke Says ACORN May Not Survive

Disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke says the group he created might not make it another year, reports the (Memphis, Tenn.) Commercial Appeal.

“The organization has become the focal point of the Right,” Rathke said.

The article says little more worth repeating.