In a House Judiciary committee, the attorney for the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee, Heather Heidelbaugh, testified that ACORN whistleblower, Anita Moncrief, was informed by the NYTs reporter, Stephanie Strom the paper was killing a late October 2008 story of the Obama-ACORN link because “it was a game changer” in the election.
Philadelphia’s Michael Tremoglie writes in his article of The Bulletin:
Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the Committee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee’s litigation against ACORN, she had been a “confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom.”
Ms. Moncrief had been providing Ms. Strom with information about ACORN’s election activities. Ms. Strom had written several stories based on information Ms. Moncrief had given her.
During her testimony, Ms. Heidelbaugh said Ms. Moncrief had told her The New York Times articles stopped when she revealed that the Obama presidential campaign had sent its maxed-out donor list to ACORN’s Washington, D.C. office.
Ms. Moncrief told Ms. Heidelbaugh the campaign had asked her and her boss to “reach out to the maxed-out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN.”
Ms. Heidelbaugh then told the congressional panel:
“Upon learning this information and receiving the list of donors from the Obama campaign, Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at The New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, “it was a game changer.”’
Since many will seize on the “she said, she said” moment here, let’s recap Anita Moncrief for those not in the know.
Ms. Moncrief only made her first contacts with the PA Republican State Committee *after* the NYTs decided to “spike” the story.
Ms. Moncrief makes for an unlikely ACORN villian. She was (is?) an Obama supporter, and still a devoted Democrat. But she has been disillusioned with ACORN’s agenda after working with them since 2005.
The ACORN head honchos dismiss her as merely a “disgruntled employee”, emphasizing her own sketchy past to diss the messenger. She was let go when she put $3000 approx on the company expense account. She has apologized and is making recompense for the misappropriated funds.
Seems rather harsh in light of the admitted ACORN scandal by founder, Wade Rathke… who kept his brother Dale on the ACORN payroll for a decade, and covered up his embezzlement of $1 million to not only the public, but to the ACORN inner circle themselves. Obviously, Ms. Moncrief was disadvantaged by no ties to Rathke at birth. But the double standard is undeniable. If they can cover up a mil, keeping on what would be a loyal ACORN worker willing to pay back $3000 in expenses should be a no brainer.
Since her last days in ACORN and life post-ACORN, Ms. Moncrief’s open transfer of the inside knowledge wealth has spoken for itself. Her exposé of ACORN isn’t because of her expense incident… it is to reveal the political power grab by a non-profit, using the poor as their mantra.
In John Fund’s WSJ article last October, Mr. Moncrief’s testimony in a Pennsylvania court while investigating ACORN’s voter fraud charges also included confirmation that the Obama campaign had provided ACORN with “…lists of potential donors by several Democratic presidential campaigns, including that of Barack Obama, to troll for contributions.” A relationship that could constitute a violation of federal election laws.
The Obama campaign denies it “has any ties” to Acorn, but Mr. Obama’s ties are extensive. In 1992 he headed a registration effort for Project Vote, an Acorn partner at the time. He did so well that he was made a top trainer for Acorn’s Chicago conferences. In 1995, he represented Acorn in a key case upholding the constitutionality of the new Motor Voter Act — the first law passed by the Clinton administration — which created the mandated, nationwide postcard voter registration system that Acorn workers are using to flood election offices with bogus registrations.
Ms. MonCrief testified that in November 2007 Project Vote development director Karyn Gillette told her she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and had obtained their donor lists. Ms. MonCrief also testified she was given a spreadsheet to use in cultivating Obama donors who had maxed out on donations to the candidate, but who could contribute to voter registration efforts. Project Vote calls the allegation “absolutely false.”
She says that when she had trouble with what appeared to be duplicate names on the list, Ms. Gillette told her she would talk with the Obama campaign and get a better version. Ms. MonCrief has given me [John Fund] copies of the donor lists she says were obtained from other Democratic campaigns, as well as the 2004 DNC donor lists.
Ms. Moncrief was also upset at ACORN’s protection mob tactics in their “Muscle for Money” campaign to intimidate businesses into contributing grants. Per another story by Tremoglie just days ago:
Ms. Moncrief testified, at the time, the money obtained from donors on the list was allegedly to be used for voter registration drives. According to Ms. Moncrief, “There really isn’t a difference between Project Vote and ACORN.” She said they have the same staff and share the same offices.
If proven, ACORN and Project Vote could at the very least, lose their tax-exampt status for engaging in politically partisan activities. ACORN’s questionable activism extended into what Ms. Moncrief called a “Muscle for the Money” program.
Ms. Heidelbaugh told the panel that Ms. Moncrief said there were two programs with that name — one official and one unofficial. The official program is the marketing name ACORN gives for its voter registration drives.
But the unofficial program, is directed at corporations for donations. Ms. Heidelbaugh quoted from Ms. Moncrief testimony,
“[ACORN was] paid by SEIU (the Service Employees International Union) to harass a man named Mr. Rubenstein, and they wanted me to go out — the D.C. local did, wanted me to go out and break up a banquet dinner, protest out in front of his house…. it was always referred to as ‘Muscle for Money’ because they would go out there, intimidate these people, protest … And instead of, you know, reforming the way they did the rapid anticipation loans, they ended up giving money to the ACORN tax sites … The companys would pay money to get the protesting to stop….the insiders at ACORN called it “protection”… programs were carried out against Sherwin Williams, Jackson Hewitt, H&R Block, the Carlyle Group and Money Mart.”
Tho Ms. Moncrief doesn’t speak much about the current POTUS, she has plenty to say on her blog about ACORN, the Sandlers, John Podesta and George Soros. In her four-part series, “ACORN And The Sandlers”, she reproduces a 2006 memo sent by Zach Polett, Project Vote Executive director and director of ACORN Political Operations about the “Proposed Process for Developing a 5-Year ACORN Political Business Plan” that focuses on “…build the kind of long-term, permanent electoral capacity that progressives need to take back power in America.”
She then describes how they set the stage for the foreclosure break-ins as publicity, and speaks of another internal memo stating goals: “”Electoral plans redistricting and holding congress and 2010 Gubernatorial races (47)…Senate in 2010c Questions about getting to 60 in 2008. So 2010 becomes an additional push for more seats. “
While Ms. Moncrief may be a liberal progressive at heart, she also recognizes a mob scam when she sees one. From her blog diaries:
Obviously preparing for power was not meant for the poor, but for the Democrats that are currently in office with the dubious help of ACORN and generous donations from the Sandlers. To some it may appear that the Sandler’s donated more than just their money, but also structural support to ACORN and the Democratic Party. Besides site training by staff for ACORN, according to ACORN insiders, the Sandler funded Pro Publica referred the Advance Group to ACORN for crisis PR. Pro Publica has also been accused by some of managing the news.
The phrase preparing for power resonates not only with ACORN and the Sandlers, but also with the events that I testified about and reported to the New York times in 2008. In September of 2007, I prepared a listing of all of the Chicago area donors in anticipation of a fundraising trip by either Karyn Gillette (Project Vote Development Director) or Zach Polett. Sometime after this fundraising trip, as I have testified in court, ACORN received the Obama donor list. In addition to this, Zach Polett gave a pep talk to staff at a retreat in November of 2007, and mentioned that he had the opportunity to supervise Barack Obama and that ACORN produces leaders and gets results.
ACORN’s results appear to be one sided in nature with direct benefit going to their strategic partnerships, the Sandler’s, who have not returned calls for comment, could be held liable in the same way that ACORN attacked Household Finance. Lisa Ranghelli in her reports details how
… ACORN was directly influential in the successful pursuit of a multi-state lawsuit against Household by Attorneys General in every state, resulting in a settlement of $484 million in direct compensation to borrowers. During the Household campaign, ACORN also helped hundreds of borrowers in several states get thousands of dollars back from Household in fees, credit insurance, significant loan modifications, and in some cases refinances into better loans.
BTW, Ms. Moncrief’s blog is a plethora of inside info. No wonder that ACORN has now labeled one of their own the enemy. Still, she remains a dedicated Democrat, seeking to expose the shadier side of power within her chosen party.
But back to the NYTs. I told you a bit of Ms. Moncrief’s story in order to shed more light by the expected “hearsay by hearsay” accusations against the NYTs for killing an story that may have affected the outcome of the 2008 Presidential election.
And exactly what does ACORN, the Times and reporter Strom have to say for themselves against these accusations?
“None of this wild and varied list of charges has any credibility and we’re not going to spend our time on it,” said Kevin Whelan, ACORN deputy political director in a statement issued last week.
Stephanie Strom was contactee for a comment, and The New York Times’ Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Catherine Mathis replied with an e-mail in her place.
Ms. Mathis wrote, “In response to your questions to our reporter, Stephanie Strom, we do not discuss our newsgathering and won’t comment except to say that political considerations played no role in our decisions about how to cover this story or any other story about President Obama.”
Two facts are certain. First: the New York Times had the ACORN-Obama story via Moncrief’s long term relationship with Strom; and second: they did not run it. They may deny that their refusal to run the story was not politically motivated. But they will also find it hard to defend what is news today, was also not news back in October.
And they wonder why their business is going down the toilet. But with the 1st Amendment as cover, they will escape any scrutiny.