Census Cut Ties With ACORN; It Should Cut Ties With SEIU, Too

The U.S. Census Bureau delegated work to outside groups for the federal 2010 census. Following the release of undercover videos showing ACORN workers helping a fake pimp and prostitute illegally secure housing, the Census Bureau terminated its partnership with ACORN. The House and Senate voted to block federal funding for ACORN and ACORN-related affiliates, including SEIU. While the Census Bureau terminated its partnership with ACORN, it left its close connection with SEIU intact.

Given SEIU’s co-location with ACORN in Chicago and SEIU’s intimate financial relationship with ACORN, we should take action to protect the public from the corruption of the 2010 census. To defend the integrity of the process, the Census Bureau should end its close relationship with ACORN’s close sister organization, the SEIU.


Official filings show that SEIU, referenced in the U.S. Attorney’s indictment of Governor Rod Blagojevich, contributed more than $4 million to ACORN and its affiliates since 2006. According to recent Department of Labor filings, the SEIU employs ACORN Founder and ACORN International Chief Organizer Wade Rathke. Mr. Rathke was recently exposed for running a cover-up of an embezzlement scheme run by his brother.

In Chicago, SEIU Local 880 and SEIU Local 1 contributed more than $230,000 to ACORN groups in Illinois and Texas since 2006 – the most recent to “support election efforts.”

SEIU Local 880, which until recently boasted it was founded by ACORN, used an ACORN e-mail address on its Web site and tax filings, was co-located with an ACORN “tax center” and employed the former president of ACORN Illinois, according to official records. Recently, the IRS terminated is relationship with ACORN tax preparation offices.

In a 2006 end-of-year report issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, SEIU Local 880 recounted working with ACORN to reelect Governor Blagojevich and referred to ACORN as its “sister organization.” A new report issued by the Committee in July reports SEIU and SEIU Local 880 are official members of the “ACORN Council,” according to whistleblower documents acquired by the Committee.

Earlier this year, SEIU Local 880 became “SEIU Health Care Illinois and Indiana”, located on the floor below ACORN Housing’s national headquarters and rents its own space from an ACORN front group called the “Chicago Organizing and Support Center” (COSC).

Official documents show COSC registered at two addresses – one in Chicago (at the same address as SEIU Local 880/ACORN) and one in New Orleans (at the same address as ACORN New Orleans). The Illinois Secretary of State’s Web site shows COSC’s incorporation status was revoked on September 11, 2009 – one day after the ACORN videos surfaced. The Louisiana Secretary of State shows the group’s status active but not in good standing for failure to file its annual report. The House Committee on Oversight’s July report also named COSC as a member of the “ACORN Council.”

SEIU and ACORN Timeline in Illinois

1983 – SEIU Local 880 claims it first organized through ACORN

2002 – SEIU Local 880 files tax return using ACORN email address as contact

2006 – Local 880’s Web site last updated; email seiu880@acorn.org ; address 209 W. Jackson, Chicago

2006 – SEIU Local 880 (located at 209 W. Jackson, Suite 201) disburses $92,006 to Illinois ACORN WNB (located at 209 W. Jackson) for “Membership Campaign Service”

2007 – SEIU Local 880 (located at 209 W. Jackson, Suite 201) disburses $60,118 to ACORN Chicago (located at 209 W. Jackson) for “Membership Services”

2007 – SEIU Local 880 employs former ACORN Illinois President Denise Dixon

2008 – SEIU Local 1 (located at 111 E. Wacker in Chicago) disburses $58,150 to “Houston ACORN” for “Reimbursements for Lost Time” and another $20,000 to “Support Election Efforts”

2008 – Lake County voter registration fraud allegations linked to SEIU coordinator

2008 – Illinois Secretary of State revokes status of ACORN on November 14th

2008 – ACORN’s Web site lists Chicago ACORN’s “Tax and Benefit Access Center” at 209 W. Jackson, 2nd Floor in Chicago

2008 – SEIU Health Care Illinois & Indiana pays rent to Chicago Organizing and Support Center

2009 – Illinois Secretary of State revokes status of ACORN Community Labor Organizing Center on January 9th

2009 – SEIU Local 880’s Form LM-2 (located at 209 W. Jackson) declares Local 880 ceased operations as of March 31, 2009 and transferred all remaining assets to “SEIU Health Care Illinois Indiana”; SEIU Health Care Illinois & Indiana’s Web site shows address at 209 W. Jackson, Suite 200 in Chicago

2009 – U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report on July 23rd names 361 entities in the “ACORN Council,” including Chicago Organizing and Support Center

2009 – Illinois Secretary of State reports “involuntary dissolution” of ACORN Community Land Association of Illinois on August 14th

2009 – IL Secretary of State revokes status of Chicago Organizing and Support Center on Sept. 11th