In an amusing case of the pot calling the kettle, Anna Burger, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), told Representative Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) that the SEIU had dumped ACORN during a Sept. 30 hearing conducted by the House Financial Services Committee. Apparently Mrs. Burger felt that ACORN was too toxic for the SEIU to associate with.
Certainly it is quite amazing that the SEIU has taken the step to dump ACORN as a vendor. Groups such as SEIU rarely reassess associations preferring to stubbornly stick to their guns in most cases.
During the hearing, Rep. McHenry mentioned to Mrs. Burger that the U.S. Census Bureau, the IRS, and even Bank of America had cut ties with ACORN because of the community organizer’s declining credibility and apparent criminal activities. Burger replied, “SEIU has also cut all ties to ACORN.”
“We have. In Illinois, I believe that I’m correct, that the ACORN institution, the consumer protection, the community organization in Illinois cut its ties to ACORN two years ago and so in Illinois there was [sic] no ties in the last two years between any SEIU work and ACORN.”
SEIU records show that the union paid ACORN $1.4 million in 2008 for “Contracted Services (including services such as the Organizing Apprenticeship Program and Childcare Worker Organizing Campaigns).”
Representative McHenry was surprised by Burger’s claim, to say the least. Everyone else should be, too. If not surprised, then certainly skeptical. Certainly the SEIU might have stopped using ACORN itself, but as we saw in an earlier piece here, ACORN has many hundreds of front corporations, so assuring us that the SEIU has truly cut ties to ACORN is not something so easily taken at face value.
Of course it must be remembered that one of SEIU’s oldest union locals has long-standing ties with ACORN. SEIU Local 880 has been associated with ACORN since the 1980s. In fact, long-time ACORN operative Keith Kelleher is Local 880s headman.
Naturally, ACORN tried to help the SEIU out last April by quietly scrubbing from its website all mentions of its ties to the union. But removing a mention from a website and actually cutting ties are not one in the same.
In any case, what we are seeing is the rats attempting to jump ACORN’s sinking ship. Would they be doing this if there wasn’t something real behind these controversies?
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