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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wade Rathke Sets the Record Straight

This article had a rather startling observation by former Chief Organizer Wade Rathke about ACORN, the organization he lead for nearly four decades.

The scandal-plagued grassroots group ACORN may not survive another year,
its longtime leader said Monday.

Wade Rathke, who began the Association of Community Organizations for
Reform Now in 1970 and stepped down last year, spoke at the University of

ACORN became a punching bag for conservatives after allegations of voter
registration irregularities surfaced last year, spawning investigations in
several states.

Then came a video recording showing ACORN workers in Baltimore giving
advice to a couple posing as a prostitute and her pimp.

I was surprised by this statement because when I spoke with Rathke he made a point not to second guess or make too many statements that disparaged his former group. (he was however critical in regards to the firing of his common law wife Beth Butler but in general stayed away from criticism)

I emailed Rathke and he told me that he was essentially quoted out of context. Rathke said that he was simply quoting from

ACORN's lawsuit 10 days ago on defunding. Nothing more.

In fact, ACORN did file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Congress' cutting off funds to them. In that lawsuit, according to Rathke, it was ACORN's position that the organization wouldn't survive for another year. Rathke didn't mean to suggest that he believed this.

In fact, he also told me that he told the reporter that he hoped that this wouldn't happen, something the reporter, Chris Conley, didn't include in the piece. This is a small point however Rathke has been careful in his statements toward his former organization and this one was taken completely out of context.

I finished the piece late and haven't had a chance to speak with the reporter. I'll update if we connect.

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