Age of Accountability

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis shocked the entire country by appearing on FOX News this past Sunday. Today, however, she’s made a liar by her own organization. I have no trouble believing Lewis ordered this herself:

ACORN has filed suit against James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, the two independent reporters who ran the actual sting operation, and against Andrew Breitbart, owner of Breitbart.com and Biggovernment.com, which aired the controversial ACORN videos.

Recap: earlier this month, a shocking video was posted on Biggovernment.com in which O’Keefe and Giles, posing as pimp and prostitute, went to the ACORN offices in Baltimore, Maryland to see what would happen if they asked for help and advice for their “situation.” They told the ACORN workers–Tonja Thompson and Shera Williams–that they made most or all of their money through Giles’ work as a prostitute, and they needed to hide their illicit activities from the IRS. Moreover, they wanted to buy a house to use as a brothel and wanted to staff it with underage girls from South America.

Thompson and Williams didn’t bat an eye. Both pretended like it was business as usual and gave the pair a laundry list of tips on how to evade detection by lying to the IRS and other authorities, including how to avoid paying taxes on ill-gotten gain and how to represent themselves on tax returns (they were really supposed to call themselves “performance artists”).

It didn’t stop there. There are reportedly no less than seven videos total, possibly eight. Each sting is at a different ACORN office, in every corner of the country. In each incident the same advice was given by different people. The reporters themselves later said that they didn’t expect to get anything of use out of the first meeting, and they certainly didn’t expect it to be so widespread. The operation revealed a systematic misuse of taxpayer and grant dollars for ACORN workers to help people use illegal means to get ahead.

After the first video was aired, most of the MSM ignored it–except FOX News. Within seconds of their first report on the sting, ACORN sent FOX producers a nasty-gram to stop showing the videos or reporting on the controversy (you could have set your watch by their timed reaction). When video after video revealed the same issues at every major ACORN hub in America, though, Congress took notice. They voted to de-fund ACORN. And Lewis had to stand up and say something, so she said it to FOX, whom they’d already threatened with a lawsuit.

Just days after her pontification about the actions of those employees being “unconscionable” and “inexcusable,” however, Lewis must have had a change of heart.

What’s interesting about the lawsuit is that it’s only for ACORN’s damaged reputation and the two Maryland employees–not all the others. And the entire basis of the suit is the Maryland Wiretap Law, which is quoted in the complaint. But if you read the quotations, it refers to “interception” of communications; nowhere does it refer to recording one’s own conversations. There’s a difference. O’Keefe and Giles weren’t setting up cameras and microphones to tape conversations they weren’t involved in, they were taping themselves.

So in reality, they didn’t violate the MWL. And it’s incredibly disingenuous for ACORN’s fearless leader to feign acceptance of responsibility for the poor actions of their employees, then turn around and sue the people who brought the grievances to light.

She’s basically saying, “yes, we were wrong, but we’re gonna make you pay for calling us out on it.” It’s a bully tactic, pure and simple. If Lewis were really sorry for what had been done, if ACORN weren’t really a criminal racket, and if it truly were just an isolated problem (at seven or eight offices all across the country, no less), there would be no lawsuit. It’s not just the two employees suing–it’s ACORN suing on their behalf. They’re demanding $1 million for ACORN’s reputation and $500K each for the two employees. And legal fees to boot.

Ah, the age of accountability. We’re so much more honest now than we were a year ago, aren’t we?