Some not-so-surprising news this morning:
An internal investigation of the community-organizing group ACORN found no pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staffers on undercover videos shot by conservative critics of the group.
The videos of ACORN staffers offering advice to a woman and a man posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend triggered a firestorm of criticism this fall, with some ACORN employees appearing willing to support illegal schemes involving tax advice, misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children.
The videos “feed the impression that ACORN believes it is above the law,” stated the Harshbarger report, intended as an independent examination of the issues.
“We did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff involved; in fact, no action, illegal or otherwise, was ever taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers,” Harshbarger said in a statement. “Instead, the videos represent the byproduct of ACORN’s longstanding management weaknesses, including a lack of training, a lack of procedures and a lack of on-site supervision.”
Harshbarger’s report says ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, should return to its roots, focusing on community organizing and should hire an independent ethics officer to oversee an internal governance program that is already under way.
In other words, ACORN employees acted poorly but broke no laws, a conclusion which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has been following this story.
Despite all the right-wing sound and fury, nothing ACORN did is worthy of criminal charges, let alone the Congressional inquiry some of the more unhinged conservatives were demanding.
Now that this is out of the way, and since we’re all very concerned about taxpayer-funded organizations breaking the law, when are we going to investigate Blackwater? That seems like a perfectly logical next step to me.
Of course, I won’t hold my breath waiting for those anti-ACORN conservatives to jump on this bandwagon.