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Sunday, February 21, 2010

MGM Building Up By Tearing Down

Anita Moncrief took some time off from attending CPAC to write her latest investigative piece on ACORN 8. She published the piece on Michelle Malkin's Hot Air and quoted Michael Gaynor in the piece.

The piece is several thousand words long so let's sum up. ACORN 8 is corrupt because several of its board members are on other boards together and also more than one of these other groups lists as its main address the home address of a main principle of ACORN 8, Marcel Reid.

If this seems curious, here's the backdrop. Among ACORN and its 200 or so affiliates, often the board members overlap. Furthermore, most of these ACORN affiliates listed either an Elysian Fields address or an Erie Street address in New Orleans. So, according to Moncrief, ACORN 8 is engaging in exactly the same behavior that ACORN engaged in.

There are however some important differences between ACORN and ACORN 8. First, often the board members of ACORN affiliates were unaware that they were on the board of many of these affiliates. For instance, last summer Matt Vadum ran a story about Ron Sykes, who was registered as a lobbyist by ACORN financial arm, Citizen's Consulting Inc. When contacted by Vadum, Sykes said he was not only unaware that he was a lobbyist but a part of CCI altogether.

Second, the relationship weren't merely common board members and addresses, but common bank accounts, or at least, multiple bank accounts all located at one bank. (whether or not these bank accounts were all controlled by one person is still unclear)

Moncrief never proves either of these points. In fact, it's unclear that any of these groups have much money or bank accounts. Furthermore, there's no evidence that anyone was put on a board without their knowledge. It's not at all uncommon for people to serve on multiple boards. Serving on a board is mostly a matter of prestige. The work often amounts to a few days of intense work ever quarter. Yet, Moncrief makes this a very nefarious activity. For instance, Michael McCray, ACORN 8 board member, also serves on the board of the International Association of Whistleblowers, which is,...if I have to explain that you may as well stop reading.

An Internet search of one of the progressive ACORN 8 organizations reveals that the The International Association of Whistle-blowers (IAW) was established in 2007, and was founded by Michael McCray, Esq, Dr. James J. Murtagh MD and Zena Crenshaw, Esq. Amazingly, the initial meeting of the IAW was held the week of May 11-18 2008, just as the ACORN embezzlement scandal broke.

Back at Glenn Beck’s chalkboard. It appears that a group of friends may have established a network in direct competition with ACORN while serving as board members and used this same network to, among other things, boost their credibility with awards and sham conferences while using the ACORN scandal as a spring board into the national spotlight.

I wrote about McCray's whistleblowing here. James Murtagh was a player in my first investigative expose on Emory University and Grady Hospital. Ms. Crenshaw I am not aware of however all three consider themselves whistleblowers. Marcel Reid also considers herself a whistleblower and so all four are on the board of IAW.

Moncrief also continues to hammer a common theme which is that ACORN 8 dismissed corruption on the part of President Obama because they were sympathetic to his agenda.

One of the ACORN 8 affiliates, Power Over Poverty Under Laws of AmericaRestored (POPULAR) has even started an “Obama Lights the Way” campaign in order to push their agenda on Capitol Hill.

In fact, "Obama's Light the Way" is a campaign by POPULAR to raise awareness of complaints made to the Department of Justice that have gone uninvestigatied. Moncrief never explains what it is and in fact, it's unclear that she even knows what it is. One could say that Moncrief merely wants to attach ACORN 8 to Obama in any way possible no matter how innocuous the situation really is.

Moncrief then gets to the heart of the matter.

Conveniently for America, at the very moment that ACORN was imploding, a group materialized and offered a solution to “save America.” The group appeared non-threatening and often exclaimed shock at the very mob protest activities that ACORN had engaged in for decades. With the help of several well placed Republicans and Conservatives whom they used for credibility, the ACORN 8, offered a revisionist history of ACORN while peppering stories with innuendos of danger. In a op-ed piece published in 2009, the co-founder of McCray’s IAW posted this prepackaged ACORN 8 statement (emphasis mine).

That's at the heart of the dispute between Anita Moncrief and ACORN 8. Moncrief once worked for ACORN affiliate Project Vote. She readily admits that she was a true believer and even called herself a "radical". She's "seen the light" and now professes to be a conservative. She views any community organization as a tool of radicals. (she's not yet explained how the Tea Parties, also a community organization, is different) Meanwhile, ACORN 8 all believe there's a place for community organizing but see ACORN as having been corrupted and now no longer working on behalf of the people it professes to serve. They want to build a community organization that would get back to ACORN's original mission. That would seem to be a debate on policy not an investigative piece, but Moncrief has instead built a long investigative series that so far has uncovered that members of ACORN 8 also serve on other boards and that sometimes these groups use as their main address the address of Marcel Reid's property.

Moncrief also attempts to brand Marcel Reid a radical by tying her to Ron Karenga.

Before Election day 2008 Fox News was the only major media outlet willing to take on the Obama Campaign machine, but as a frightened radical, I listened to Marcel Reid, a women who was mentored by the radical Ron Karenga and she discouraged me from working with Fox by citing racism, bias and a hatred for Obama. Documents show that Reid, who was still negotiating with ACORN to retain her position on the board, agreed to signed a joint defense agreement with ACORN and, it was decided to not “go after Wade” until AFTER the last presidential election:

Karenga is a former Black Panther, started Kwanzaa, and an overall radical. When Marcel Reid was in college, she took a class taught by Karenga. That's the only evidence of ties between the two. Yet, Moncrief makes the claim that this makes Karenga her "mentor". The link on the document goes nowhere, at least now.

Moncrief also relies on dubious evidence.

The situation is almost too convenient and according to ACORN insiders with knowledge of the events that led to the formation of the ACORN 8, it is. Insiders paint a tale that began with an alliance among Marcel Reid, Karen Innman, Carol Hemingway and most importantly, Bertha Lewis. According to reliable evidence,

Reid, Innman and Hemingway provided Lewis with the crucial votes to elect her as interim Chief Organizer of ACORN after founder Wade Rathke was removed from the organization. Apparently Lewis agreed to help elect the trio to the ACORN interim management committee, with substantial perks like trips, computers and hotel stays.

Huh!?!?!? I've used anonymous sources, but this is ridiculous. If you're going to use an anonymous source, their information must be specific. Here Moncrief references vague"insiders" that make even vaguer claims of "alliances" and "reliable evidence". What does any of this mean? What is this reliable evidence? It's not at all clear. If the evidence is reliable, it needs to be stated. All Moncrief does is reference unknown people, making unknown charges, and the sum total is nothing more than a smear campaign against Reid, Karen Inman, and the rest of ACORN 8. That's exactly the sort of journalism that Hot Air proprietor Michelle Malkin would condemn if it were targeted at Conservatives.

Worst of all is that Moncrief, Michael Gaynor, and Michelle Malkin, continue their entirely conflicted and unacceptable relationship without disclosing it. Anita Moncrief readily uses Michelle Malkin's bandwith and quotes from Michael Gaynor without fully disclosing what is going on. Michael Gaynor has spent more than a year writing about a hundred articles lionizing Anita Moncrief. Anita Moncrief was Michelle Malkin's one and only source for the seven most explosive pages in her book, Culture of Corruption. Isn't it appropriate of all three to disclose this when writing about each other, which each do regularly? Yet, Anita Moncrief has absolutely no problem going on Michelle Malkin's web site after she made Malkin by providing her with explosive charges. She has no problem quoting Gaynor as though he's impartial knowing full well that he's run somethin akin to a public relations campaign on her behalf for more than a year. While all of this is going, Moncrief writes an investigative piece in which we're supposed to believe that there's something nefarious going on because the same people serve on more than one board and one address is used as the main address for more than one organization.

Finally, for full disclosure, I use members of ACORN 8 as sources on matters related to ACORN. I've also communicated with journalists like Matt Vadum and I've interviewed Wade Rathke himself four times. I've reached out to Moncrief, Gaynor and Malkin numerous times with no response. So, you can speculate on my motivations but to say I haven't tried to get the whole story is unfair.

1 comment:

karen said...

Thanks for seting the picture straight. As a member of ACORN 8 and one who was accused of having perks--Not only is it not true but I am still owed for items tat were to be reimbursed.