ACORN

FRC Discovers Elusive Obamacare-ACORN Connection

The Family Research Council has caught wind of a new theory percolating in the right-wing blogosphere and in certain circles on Capitol Hill: that the Department of Health and Human Services is using a new Obamacare rule to empower the long-defunct ACORN to commit voter intimidation and fraud.

The new rule in question is HHS’s solution to the problem of signing up 30 million uninsured Americans on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. Under the rule, HHS will recruit “navigators” to walk uninsured people through the process of finding an insurance policy on their state’s exchange. According to the Washington Post, “Groups such as unions, chambers of commerce, health clinics, immigrant-service organizations, and community- or consumer-focused nonprofits can use the grants to train and employ staff members or volunteers to provide in-person guidance — especially to hard-to-reach populations — and to provide space for them to work.”

Here’s where ACORN comes in: A draft questionnaire [pdf] for insurance applicants, in compliance with 1993’s “motor voter” law, gives applicants the option of registering to vote.

Enter Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana, chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight, who last week attacked the plan to ask insurance applicants about voter registration, saying, “It raises questions as to why HHS is gathering voter information, how the agency intends to use such information and how the information could be used by the navigators.” His fears were then picked up by Breitbart.com, which announced this week, “HHS resurrects ‘ACORN’ through Obamacare.”

Yesterday, the Family Research Council picked up this story and ran with it in its daily email, warning that an “army of ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and union activists” will use their roles as insurance navigators to “influence people’s party affiliation.” The email adds: “With this administration, it isn't a question of whether they would abuse their power--but when!”

The rule, which is available for public comment for the next few weeks, also includes a "voter registration provision," leading many--including Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.)--to question how this army of ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and union activists would twist their access to influence people's party affiliation. With this administration, it isn't a question of whether they would abuse their power--but when!

ACORN, of course, disbanded in 2010 after a right-wing smear campaign accused it of large-scale voter fraud – accusations that turned out to be completely false. But that hasn’t stopped 49 percent of Republican voters from believing that ACORN stole the 2012 election for President Obama – an illusion gleefully perpetuated by groups like the FRC.

Harshbarger Report Provides Path Forward for Key Community Organizing Group

In response to the release of a report by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger following his independent inquiry into ACORN's structure and operations, People For the American Way president Michael B. Keegan said, "The Harshbarger report provides sorely needed perspective on ACORN. In recent years the group has been accused by its opponents of doing just about everything, and no claim has been too wild to be passed off as fact."

Sean Hannity Asks the Tough Questions about So-Called “Winner” of Presidential Election

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s historic election, the McCain campaign and RNC led a coordinated campaign to cast the integrity of the vote into doubt. They claimed ACORN was engaging in massive voter fraud. They claimed that Obama was receiving illegal foreign contributions. They claimed that the “liberal media” was skewing the polls in favor of Democrats.

In other words, they were writing themselves an insurance policy in the event of a contested election or narrow loss. But it wasn’t even close.

As a result, the anticipated barrage of conspiracy theories and false charges never materialized. Yet not everyone could just let it go.

Here’s the current poll on Hannity.com:

(h/t: Bob Geiger)

McCain-Palin Pit Bulls Turn Feral

There's a long history in American politics of exploiting divisions and fanning bigotry to win elections. In recent decades those strategies were honed by Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. Now the torch has passed to Steve Schmidt, and he’s done just about everything possible to fan the flames.

Schmidt’s tactics and the right-wing echo chamber have convinced millions of Americans that the nation is about to elect someone who hates America and “pals around with terrorists.” Just take a look at this video of supporters outside a Palin rally:

In recent weeks, the right wing has grown even more frenzied as McCain and his allies pushed the ACORN voter fraud hoax. Not only is Obama a Manchurian candidate, the thinking goes, but his evildoer comrades at ACORN are trying to steal the election. It’s little wonder that some people are going berserk.

McCain, Palin, Schmidt, Limbaugh, Hannity and the rest of them have created something very powerful, but very ugly, and it’s grown too big for them to control. Here is just some of what happens when you train your pit bulls to fear and hate and attack, and then they get loose:

Obama lawn sign replaced by rebel flag

Obama sign burned on black family's front lawn

Anti-Obama Fury Spills Over Into Down-Ticket Contests: "Bomb Obama"

Death threat, vandalism hit ACORN after McCain comments

ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails

Obama Called a Socialist and 'Un-American'

McCain supporters heckle early voters

Dead bear covered with Obama signs found at school

People For the American Way is tracking such incidents around the nation. If something happens in your community that people should know about, please get in touch.

Hate You Can Believe In: ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails

It’s bad enough that the employees of ACORN have had to endure days of baseless and outlandish attacks by John McCain and the RNC. But after McCain outrageously claimed before a national audience on Wednesday night that ACORN was “maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy,” the group came under attack, literally. In the following days, ACORN’s Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized and at least one employee received a death threat.

And for nearly two weeks, ACORN offices across the nation have been subjected to an onslaught of racist and threatening voicemails and emails. We have secured copies of some of the most disturbing and offensive messages and have reproduced them below in order to show the very real consequences of the Right Wing’s overheated and misplaced “voter fraud” rhetoric.

Warning: the emails and voicemails below are highly explicit and have only been edited to remove personally identifying information. Please also note that, where relevant, the proper authorities have been notified.

Voicemail #1:  

“Hi, I was just calling to let you all know that Barack Obama needs to get hung. He's a fucking nigger, and he's a piece of shit. You guys are fraudulent, and you need to go to hell. All the niggers on oak trees. They're gonna get all hung honeys, they're gonna get assassinated, they're gonna get killed.”

Email #1: This email was received by the Cleveland office. The subject line was the name of a senior staffer who had recently appeared on TV to defend the group.

According to McClatchy, the email was traced back to a Facebook account featuring a McCain-Palin sign.

Email #2:

Voicemail #2:

"You liberal idiots. Dumb shits. Welfare bums. You guys just fucking come to our country, consume every natural resource there is, and make a lot of babies. That's all you guys do. And then suck up the welfare and expect everyone else to pay for your hospital bills for your kids. I just say let your kids die. That's the best move. Just let your children die. Forget about paying for hospital bills for them. I'm not gonna do it. You guys are lowlifes. And I hope you all die."

ACORN Hit by Threats and Vandalism in Wake of McCain Comments

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert released the following statement:

"On Wednesday night, John McCain outrageously claimed before a national television audience that ACORN was 'maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.' In the two days since, the community organizing group has suffered vandalism at its Boston and Seattle offices and has faced an onslaught of threats and hostile emails.

Right Wing Smear on ACORN Leads to Outrageous McCain Debate Claim

Media Uncritically Recites Right-Wing Talking Points, Turns A Blind Eye To Real Voter Suppression

People for the American Way (PFAW) will take out a full-page ad (PDF link) in The New York Times charging the right wing with misleading the public in the ACORN voter registration controversy. The ad also challenges the press for failing to examine the fabrications made against the voter registration group and turning a blind-eye toward the right wing's ongoing effort to disenfranchise voters.

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert's Remarks on 2008 Election Integrity

People For is extremely concerned with the fairness of our elections. That's why we are a founding member of the Election Protection coalition. And that's why we're extremely concerned about the Right Wing's diversionary and desperate political attacks on ACORN. This ploy is designed to intimidate voters, cast doubt on the integrity of the elections, and make it harder for certain people to cast a ballot in the November election.

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