ACORN Brass, Union Organizers Divide $10 Mil Retirement Fund
Embroiled in a multitude of corruption scandals, the “defunct” Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has liquidated and distributed to its cronies millions of dollars from in an in-house retirement fund at the center of a major embezzlement scheme.
The recent payout was discovered in the course of Judicial Watch’s ongoing investigation of the Obama-tied community organization that operated fraudulent voter registration drives during the 2008 presidential campaign. Last year JW published a special report (“The Rebranding of ACORN”) outlining ACORN’s illegal activities, including its involvement in the housing market meltdown.
ACORN members also embezzled at least $5 million under the helm of founder Wade Rathke and his brother, Dale Rathke, the group’s former chief financial officer. In fact, Dale got busted for stealing $1 million from ACORN in 2000 and the money came mostly from the nonprofit’s in-house retirement fund, known as the ACORN Beneficial Association (ABA). ACORN executives kept the crime from board members and law enforcement, according to media reports.
Last month the ABA liquidated and distributed more than $10 million in assets to ACORN veterans and union organizers, JW’s probe found. ACORN founder Wade Rathke actually brags about it on his blog, where he writes: “For some of the people who I hired in the early 70’s who logged in 10, 20, and even 30 years working with me, these transfers are serious money in the six figures. A couple of my long time union organizers with Local 100 are looking at enough money to think about trying to buy houses for the first time, retire debts, and put aside savings.”
This is a disgrace considering that, despite a myriad of legal scandals, ACORN for years enjoyed a huge flow of taxpayer dollars to promote its various leftwing causes. Congress could no longer ignore the issue and finally passed a law in 2009 banning federal funding for the Chicago-based community activist organization. The measure specifically prohibits any federal contract, grant, cooperative agreement or other form of agreement from being awarded to any ACORN affiliate or associate.
The Obama Administration has still managed to slip its various spinoffs some cash, however. Last year JW uncovered documents that show an ACORN reincarnation called Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) got a $79,819 grant to “combat housing and lending discrimination.” The money came via the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of a $40 million effort to educate the public and combat discrimination.