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 released the following statement:
"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. If ACORN's antagonists are to be believed, the group stole the 2008 election, is responsible for the housing mortgage meltdown, and will receive billions in federal bailout funds.
"While today's report should dampen this paranoia, that's no doubt expecting too much. After all, right-wing groups and talkers from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck all the way down have gained much by fanning the flames. But fair-minded observers should take note.
"The Harshbarger report reveals an organization thatis comingto terms with its shortcomings and hasaplanto address them. It also highlights anorganization that does vital work on behalf of low-income and minority Americans. The group's voter registration efforts, while much maligned by the right, have contributed to significant, legitimate increases in minority voter participation.
"We hope that members of Congress and the media will take note of today's report and reconsider their rush to judgment."
People For the American Way recently released a “Right Wing Watch: In Focus” report on “The Rise of the New McCarthyism” exploring the right’s attacks on leaders and groups including ACORN. You can read the report here.
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