Patrick Gaspard, considered one of the most powerful figures in the Obama White House, is a "longtime ACORN operative" and former union official, according to a report posted Monday on the American Spectator's online blog.
Gaspard's name recently surfaced as the official President Obama dispatched to urge beleaguered New York Gov. David Paterson not to run for another term. Paterson insists he'll continue to run for governor even without Obama's support.
Gaspard has extensive ties to organized labor and community-organizing groups. One measure of his influence in the White House: He holds the same "political affairs director" title that belonged to Karl Rove during the Bush administration.
The Spectator's Matthew Vadum, a senior editor at the Capital Research Center think tank, reported that Gaspard was the New York political director for top ACORN official Bertha Lewis before 2003. Lewis is the CEO and "chief organizer" for ACORN, which is the subject of more than a dozen investigations for vote-registration fraud nationwide.
The House and Senate recently moved to cut off ACORN funding after a series of videos revealed the willingness of its staff to help establish a reputed child-prostitution ring based in San Salvador. Obama refused to support ending federal funding for ACORN, however, telling ABC: "It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to."
Vadum cited the blog maintained by ACORN founder Wade Rathke, ChiefOrganizer.org, as his source for the Gaspard-ACORN link.
In May, Rathke described how officials of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) teamed up with HealthCare Reform Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle to pry big price concessions from private health firms.
Speaking of the advantage that comes from having powerful friends in high places, Rathke wrote: "Tell me that (Local) 1199’s former political director, Patrick Gaspard (who was ACORN New York’s political director before that) didn’t reach out from the White House and help make that happen, and I’ll tell you to take some remedial classes in 'politics 101.'"
The Spectator described Gaspard "ACORN's Man in the White House." It also reported that he was national field director in 2004 for American Coming Together (ACT), a get-out-the-vote organization.
The FEC hit ACT with a $775,000 fine for campaign-finance violations — one of the largest FEC fines ever — and it reportedly ceased operations in 2005.
Gaspard also worked for eight years for SEIU Local 1199, a hospital workers local, according to the Village Voice.
The Spectator report detailed what it calls the "fuzzy" line between the SEIU and ACORN.
Vadum reported that SEIU Local 880 and the SEIU Local 100 that Rathke heads are "part of the ACORN network of organizations."
He reported that the locals were listed as such on ACORN's Web site, buts the references recently were removed.
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