NEW YORK — The founder and chief organizer of the controversial former group known as ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has come out in defense of Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate for December’s Senate special election in Alabama.
Legendary radical leftist organizer Wade Rathke was responding on his personal blog website, chieforganizer.org, to an article authored last week by this reporter titled, “Roy Moore Challenger Doug Jones Pushing ACORN Pet Project Known for Devastating Workers, Small Businesses.” Rathke continues to head ACORN’s still-active international affiliate.
The Breitbart News article factually documented that Jones is pushing a living wage scheme for the state and country that has a history of hurting small businesses, negatively impacting local economies and decreasing employment opportunities for low income workers.
The Breitbart News piece further reported that Jones is closely linked to a George Soros-financed legal activist organization behind the early crafting of local living wage legislation. The living wage was a project of ACORN, which played a central role in enacting the scheme in several cities.
Since the Breitbart News article was released, this reporter has penned numerous other articles further tying Jones to Soros-financed radical organizations seeking to fundamentally transform the U.S. In one case, Jones spearheaded a major initiative for a Soros-financed legal activist group.
Rathke responded with a blog post titled, “How Breitbart and Bannon Work Their Politics Using Innuendo and Random Association.”
In the piece, Rathke doesn’t point out a single factual error in the Breitbart News story on Jones and the ACORN pet project.
Instead, Rathke baselessly clams that this reporter attempted to take readers down a “wormhole” by engaging in “innuendo and guilt by association.” This while Rathke minimized Jones’s numerous associations with Soros-financed groups and the Alabama politician’s long, documented association with the Soros-financed legal activist organization in question, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.
Domestically, ACORN claimed that it disbanded in 2010, six months after undercover video footage infamously showed some of its workers giving tips on how to cheat on taxes. However, some of ACORN’s biggest domestic chapters, including its branches in New York and California, rebranded themselves under new names and continue to be active.
ACORN International continues to operate with Rathke as its chief organizer. Rathke’s ACORN International describes itself as a “federation of member-based community organizations that is active in Canada, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, India, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, South Korea, Czech Republic and Italy with partners in the Philippines and emerging affiliates in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Rathke founded ACORN in 1970. He is also a founding board member of the Tides Foundation and continues to serve as a Tides adviser. Tides, itself funded by Soros, is one of the largest donors to radical leftist causes in the U.S., providing over $3 billion in grants on behalf of partners and donors. Tides was a main donor to ACORN.
The list of annual Tides grantees is too numerous to document in this article. A small sampling of the more well-known Tides grantees in 2016 alone include Code Pink, the Movement for Black Lives (a coalition that has included Black Lives Matter and the Soros-financed anti-police activist group Black Youth Project), the Soros-funded pro-Palestinian J Street group, the Soros-backed Sierra Club Foundation, the Soros-financed Southern Poverty Law Center and scores of others.
Rathke’s blog post, meanwhile, claims the Breitbart News expose of Jones is a “case study for how this kind of modern right-wing red-baiting works.”
Rathke claims the Breitbart report tying Jones to the radical left rested mostly on Jones campaign website calling for the enactment of a “living wage,” which would hike the minimum wage above the federal minimum.
A short “living wage” section on his website reads:
People in Alabama should not have to work two or three jobs just to provide food, housing and other necessities for their families, often foregoing healthcare and other needs. I strongly support ensuring working Alabamians receive a living wage for their hard work. It is past time. They are then less reliant on the government and those dollars help lift the economy.
On his site, Jones does not provide the economic history of the living wage, which has negatively impacted local economies and was pushed by a coalition of radical left-wing groups. Nor does he state what he means by a living wage, specifically how far he would push Alabama to raise the minimum wage that businesses and government must pay employees beyond the federal minimum.
The politician has said that if he is elected he would vote to raise the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to above $10 an hour nationwide. He declined to give an exact amount in a recent interview.
“I’m not one of these people who thinks that raising the minimum wage to a living wage is going to stifle competition, or going to lead to automation and cost jobs,” he told USA Today.
Referring to Jones’s push for the living wage project and his statements on hiking the minimum wage, Rathke, misspelling the name of this news agency, misleadingly writes that “[Steve] Bannon and Brietbart then try to hang him from the nearest tree with that thin thread.”
“The rest of the piece is a brief thumbnail sketch of the history of ACORN’s living wage campaigns, the horrors allegedly visited on workers from the victory for living wages in Santa Fe and Seattle, neither of which were ACORN wins.”
Contrary to Rathke’s conspiracy theory, Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, played no role in the crafting of the article on Jones and the living wage plan.
Rathke referred to the following two paragraphs in the Breitbart News expose on Jones and the longtime ACORN project:
Contributing to the living wage campaign was the George Soros-funded Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school. The Center’s lawyer, Paul Sonn, took a leading role in helping to craft wage ordinances and ballot measures for numerous cities and states, the Times reported.
Jones himself has close ties to the Brennan Center. In 2014, Jones served as co-chair of a panel of then current and former federal prosecutors that produced a white paper for the Center on criminal justice reform.
Surely you can follow this. Jones, a former federal prosecutor worked on a paper about criminal justice reform with the Brennan Center, a legacy project of the former US Supreme Court Justice, and another project of the same center had a lawyer who worked with ACORN, so therefore Jones is probably wearing an ACORN t-shirt around his house and sleeping with an old ACORN button under his pillow.
This reporter’s story on Jones and the living wage was the first installment of an ongoing series of investigative reports regarding Jones. Rathke might want to review several more reports deeply tying Jones to the Brennan Center and other major Soros-funded groups.
Earlier this week, another Breitbart News article reported that Jones spearheaded a Soros-funded Brennan Center effort that sought to fundamentally transform the role of U.S. Attorneys from one of prosecuting criminals to activists enacting a so-called progressive criminal justice agenda.
Among other things, Jones’ project at the Soros-funded Brennan Center called on federal prosecutors to reduce or avoid sentences for drug offenders, make decisions about seeking jail time on individual cases based upon federal incarceration levels and use their pulpits to “spread change” and work with outside “community organizations” to root out the “causes of violence.”
One section of the report seeks to put U.S. Attorneys in the role of social justice warriors who go to schools to preach against “bullying,” coach Little League teams and mentor at risk youths. All this while working to “develop solutions to problems that do not involve prosecutions, such as mediating disputes and participating in school intervention programs.”
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School is a liberal policy institute that says it “focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice.” It has been the recipient of numerous grants from Soros’s Open Society Foundations totaling over $7,466,000 from 2000 to 2010 alone.
Another article, released on Thursday, documented that Jones took a leading role in an effort by the Brennan Center to grant full voting rights nationwide to felons released from prison, including those convicted of murder, rape and other violent crimes.
Besides his direct role advocating for the votes-for-criminals scheme, Jones is also listed by the Soros-funded organization as a “supporter” of the voting drive for felons alongside a group of radical Soros-financed organizations. Jones is himself tied to some of those other Soros-funded groups.
The Soros-funded groups listed with Jones on the Brennan Center’s website include the Alliance for Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union (the recipient of a $50 million Soros grant), Black Youth Vote!, the NAACP and scores of others.
CAF co-founder Robert Borosage previously served as director of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which is known for espousing pro-Soviet views during the Cold War.
Borosage also helped found the controversial Apollo Alliance, a project of the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Apollo, which changed its name to the Blue Green Alliance following negative publicity about its far-left politics, was endorsed by ACORN.
Another co-founder and director of CAF—listed on Brennan’s website alongside Jones—is Robert Hickey, who also co-founded the Soros-funded Economic Policy Institute, which itself is listed with Jones on the same Brennan Center webpage list of “supporters.”
Also listed alongside Jones is the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, to which Soros’ Open Society Foundations gave a whopping $50 million. The group seeks to decriminalize drug offenses.
When Jones spearheaded the effort on behalf of the Soros-funded Brennan Center that sought to fundamentally transform the role of U.S. Attorneys, a key aspect of Jones’ Brennan campaign was to push reduced sentencing for drug offenders. This has also been a major policy aim for Soros.
Another group listed alongside Jones is the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), which is famous for defending protesters from radical groups arrested during disruption campaigns. A notable former member of the National Lawyers Guild is Bernardine Dohrn, the NLG’s first national student organizer. Dohrn was a leader of the Weather Underground anti-American domestic terrorist group along with her husband, former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.
Also listed as a “supporter” with Jones is Sojourners, a Christian evangelical ministry known for embracing so-called liberation theology, which is described by Discover the Networks as teaching that the New Testament gospels “can be properly understood only as calls for social activism, class struggle and revolution aimed at overturning the existing capitalist order and installing, in its stead, a socialist utopia.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
This article was written with additional research by Joshua Klein.