Despite years of warning signs about voter fraud, embezzlement and other potentially criminal behavior by and within ACORN-the Association for Community Organizing and Reform Now-only a handful of state attorneys general apparently didn't need to be embarrassed by recent alternative media reporting and videos before taking some action against the liberal ACORN organization.
Most state attorneys general have sat by idly, perhaps for political reasons with a trail quite probably leading to Washington some say, while ACORN has been busy racking up unchecked legal offenses.
"State attorneys general long ago should have investigated ACORN, and enforced various state laws against it," said Mark Fitzgibbons, president of Corporate and Legal Affairs of American Target Advertising. Fitzgibbons is a vocal opponent of ACORN.
"State attorneys general claim to have unique regulatory and enforcement authority over nonprofit organizations. Along with other state charitable oversight officials that require nonprofits to file information purportedly to prevent violations of law, state attorneys general have unique access to information that could have been used to take action against ACORN. Were they asleep, derelict in their duty, or worse?"
A question was posed by Fitzgibbons in a recent news release about ACORN's alleged offenses: "...Was failure to act the result of direct and indirect political support of politicians by ACORN, its direct affiliates, and its indirect affiliates such as the Service Employees International Union?"
The ACORN Financial Justice Center graded state attorneys general in 2008 on their work in the home foreclosure crisis, which some believe ACORN-supported policies helped create. Basing its grades on factors, including endorsing U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd and other federal Democrat legislation-and using taxpayer funds to train pro bono lawyers-ACORN gave grades of A+ only to Democratic attorneys general; no Republicans appear on the ACORN list.
The list of ACORN's A+ attorneys general by state: Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut), Martha Coakely (Massachusetts), Andrew Cuomo (New York), Lisa Madigan (Illinois), Tom Miller (Iowa), and Lori Swanson (Minnesota). Vermont Attorney General Sorrel, a Democrat, received a grade of F on ACORN's list.
"Perhaps its time to investigate and review why so many state attorneys general failed to act, or act sooner, against ACORN. Attorneys general should begin by disclosing contributions received from, state taxpayer funding for, and attorneys' general ties, meetings and financial affiliations with, ACORN and its vast network," said Fitzgibbons
Only a handful of Democrats and one independent sided with ACORN on the Senate vote defunding the controversial organization: Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
As a private attorney in 1995, President Obama, a Democrat, represented ACORN in a voter-registration lawsuit in Illinois.
Editor's Note: Several readers vent about U.S. Senators Leahy's and Sanders' support of controversial ACORN. See this week's Letters to the Editor.