Time for a RICO investigation of ACORN
...past time, actually
By this point, everyone is familiar with the most recent scandal involving ACORN, (having its employees caught on video in multiple offices offering help in committing loan fraud, setting up a brothel and smuggling in underage illegal aliens to be prostitutes). But there is a laundry list of other, more serious charges which scream out for a national RICO investigation by the Justice Department.
From Peter Roff over at US News:
A report issued last summer by the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to Sunday's Washington Times, "presented evidence that ACORN had engaged in criminal misconduct."
Among the findings, the report said, ACORN:
- Engaged in tax evasion, obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting a cover-up of nearly $1 million embezzled by Dale Rathke, brother of group founder Wade Rathke;
- Committed investment fraud, depriving the public of the right to "honest services," and engaging in a racketeering enterprise affecting interstate commerce;
- Conspired to defraud the United States by using taxpayer dollars for partisan political activities;
- Submitted false filings to the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Department of Labor; and,
- Violated the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act.
Any one of these is a serious allegation. Taken together, they give ACORN most every appearance of being some sort of massive criminal enterprise worthy of a federal investigation of the sort made under the terms of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act—or RICO. In fact the group and its affiliates are currently the target of more than a dozen lawsuits related to voter fraud in the 2008 election alone.
In the aftermath of the more recent (and public - thanks to Fox News) scandal, Obama has worked to distance himself from his "community organizer" buddies...and the US House and Senate were put on the spot with votes to end federal funding from various channels. But much, much more needs to be done.
If this list of charges, in addition to conspiracy to commit loan fraud, offering to help set up brothels, voter registration fraud, voter fraud, etc. - all committed by a national organization doing business in multiple states - doesn't rise to the level of qualifying for a RICO investigation, I don't know what would. Our government will owe some apologies to a lot of the guys in the mafia.
In some ways, it's even worse than the mafia, in the sense that a lot of their organized corrupt activities involve our civic process - and our tax money.