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Acorn dropped by Census Bureau

September 12, 2009

Census severs ACORN ties

Ben Smith of Politico

ACORN’s incredibly sloppy voter registration operation got it repeatedly into hot water last fall, driven by an internal culture that I’ve always taken as more mercantile than conspiratorial: The worthless fake registrations don’t seem to have produced any votes.

The latest ACORN expose, in which a conservative producer and his partner got two ACORN employees to give him advice on running his prostitution business and evading taxes with their underage Latin American prostitutes (really) has dealt the organization a final blow as far as the Obama administration is concerned: The Census has chosen to stop working with the group, with Census Director Robert Groves writing ACORN President Maude Hurd that public “concern” about the group has become “a distraction from our mission” and that recent events — an apparent reference to the expose — has “added to worsening negative perceptions of ACORN.”.

This does what Republicans had long failed to do: Affirms GOP attacks on ACORN, and effectively puts it beyond the pale as a contractor for national campaigns. That will cost ACORN quite a bit of money; it’s not entirely clearly that it will do all that much damage to the Democrats’ field operations, on which ACORN was always as much a parasite as an ally.

The video is worth watching, incidentally, and evidence of a conservative new media sphere — in this case, Breitbart’s Big Government — that’s finally, in opposition, catching up. The workers secretly filmed are giving incredibly scummy tax advice — though despite the obvious political implications, the expose has no real bearing on the kind of election-stealing conspiracies often alleged.

UPDATE: A Commerce Department official clarifies that ACORN didn’t have a contract with the Census Bureau, but merely an arrangement — like other civic groups — to promote and publicize it.

UPDATE: ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring says the group is “deeply troubled” by the actions of the “two ex-employees” caught on tape, but says eight other ACORN offices turned the faux pimp away.

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