Successor groups to the defunct liberal activist group ACORN are denying the allegation of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa that they are engaged in “fraud” by raising money for other causes and giving it to the protesters, Politico
Former ACORN leaders acknowledge playing a role in organizing a rally in support of the Occupy movement last month but scoff at the notion that they control the movement or fund it.
“We have never given any money to Occupy Wall Street,” New York Communities for Change Executive Director John Kest told Politico. Issa’s accusation, first reported on Fox News, that money given for other causes had instead gone to the Occupy movement is “just absurd,” Kest said.
New York Communities for Change is a successor to ACORN.
“I’d like to say this [Occupy Wall Street] was our idea, and we had something to do with it, but we didn’t,” Kest said. “It’s coming from a totally different place – it’s a different constituency than we tend to organize. It’s just tapping into something we knew was there in the communities we work in, but we didn’t necessarily know it was something that existed all throughout society.”
Indeed, ACORN collapsed partly from the fact that it relied on a narrow group of supporters, many say.
“Had there been something like this before 2008, a movement redefining what some of the issues are nationally, ACORN would probably not have gone down,” John Atlas, the author of a recent sympathetic history of the group, told Politico.
Unlike Occupy Wall Street, ACORN was dependent on the establishment, he said. “They were all getting money from corporations and big foundations. If you’re getting money from corporations, big foundations, and even the government, it’s hard to attack them.”
New York Communities for Change has worked with the Occupy movement on rallies for a tax on millionaires and helped organize a labor union-backed rally in support of Occupy Wall Street. The liberal group’s members — generally poor and minority New Yorkers who pay dues to the group — and staffers attended the event.
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