ACORN & Pigford: Government As Political Slush Fund
I remember sitting in the basement of Andrew's home, briefing him on the activist group ACORN, of which I was regrettably too familiar. Andrew would look up from his screen, imploring, "How is that possible? Why does nobody know about this?" Andrew had recently come into possession of the now famous O'Keefe videos and I was his friend who had spent years fighting the corrupt organization.
Years later, the roles would reverse and I would respond during several late night calls, "that can't be right" has Andrew detailed the Pigford fraud. Being around DC a long time, I vaguely remembered news reports about the original Pigford settlement but thought it was cordoned safely in the past. I couldn't believe there was a new effort to reopen the federal coffers nor how blatant it had become. Very soon, though, I realized Andrew was onto something. At the old BigGovernment site, we detailed the potential fraud and Andrew urged everyone he knew to take the story seriously. Even allies in conservative media largely ignored the story. After Friday's expose of Pigford fraud in The New York Times no one can ignore it now.
ACORN and Pigford are corollaries to the leftist theory of using government funding to promote a political agenda. ACORN's prime mission was organizing low-income and minority citizens to exert political power. On a daily basis, it agitated for wage hikes or housing subsidies, for example, but those were just means to build a political organization to elect leftist politicians. ACORN's training manual advised organizers to identify controversial local issues and organize around them. Not so much to resolve the issue, but to identify voters who could be mobilized politically. A large part of the organization was funded by government grants, awarded by political allies.
Pigford was an even more explicit political pay-off. The original settlement, forged from a lawsuit involving around 800 black farmers, was a good faith effort to address past discrimination. The Pigford II settlement, championed by Sen. Barack Obama, who once worked closely with ACORN, opened up payments to more than 80,000 claimants, each receiving at least $50,000.
John Boyd, who was the leading activist champion of the Pigford II payouts was a critical organizer for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in South Carolina during the 2008 primaries. Obama's victory in the Palmetto State helped him regain momentum against Hillary Clinton. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see how Pigford II was an important ingredient in his victory there.
For the left, the end goal is always political power. ACORN, Pigford or any particular issue are merely a means to that end. ACORN, as it was constituted, no longer exists. At some point, the Pigford fraud will play out. The left will replace them with new organizations and new grievances. And, when they do, Breitbart will still be here.
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