Thursday, September 17, 2009

Acorn - A Frenzy To Condemn

A major issue within Acorn was recently revealed by a conservative sting that Acorn and some liberals call entrapment. The sting consisted of a young man and a young woman portraying a pimp and a prostitute looking for a loan to purchase a house to be used for prostitution. The couple asked for and received advise from some of the several offices that they visited. The couple was advised on how to borrow the money for an illegal business without being caught. Some of the Acorn offices either refused to talk to the couple or called the police to report them. But, a few offices gave them the advice they sought.

No matter how you look at this the Acorn employees/volunteers that advised the couple were very wrong to do so. I find it hard to believe that an honest person of average intelligence could be lulled like innocents into committing this wrong. The Acorn staff that advised the couple were either stupid, dishonest or a combination of both. If this is entrapment, then it was well deserved.

This doesn't prove that Acorn management promotes or condones such acts but it does strongly suggest that Acorn is not adequately managing their organization down to the local staffs. How are these people hired, trained and supervised? The size of an organization is no excuse for allowing it to get out of control to the extent that it is abusing, if not violating the law.

The government agencies that employ Acorn are also at fault for not ensuring that Acorn management had the systems in place to properly hire, train and supervise their employees/volunteers. Acorn has been working for the government for 15 years. The Federal government has paid them about $53 million during that time period. The government agencies using Acorn should cease doing business with Acorn while they evaluate its management systems to determine whether to continue using Acorn in any capacity.

You can find violators of policy and the law in every large organization. During my 30+ years with a large corporation, there were several instances of illegal activity. Each of the violations was committed by one or a few mid-management personnel. The offenders were punished by the company and/or law enforcement and policies adjusted as necessary. The corporation did not deserve to be dissolved because of these violations, which were neither widespread nor frequent. The same might be true of Acorn.

On the other hand, investigators might also find that Acorn is thoroughly corrupt as was Arthur Andersen, which was the accounting firm for Enron. In which case, Acorn deserves the same end that Arthur Andersen met. Arthur Andersen voluntarily surrendered its licenses to perform accounting in the US after having become one of the largest accountants in the world.

Some of the politicians that had not taken action to adequately investigate Acorn when there were already suggestions of misconduct, are now in a frenzy to be seen and heard condemning Acorn. Typical. One of them is U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), who was a guest this week on Joe Scarborough's show on MSNBC. Shelby stated that he has been following Acorn for a long time. Shelby believes that the government should permanently cease doing business with Acorn and that Acorn should be investigated. Shelby stated that Acorn is thoroughly corrupt. Scarborough asked Shelby what departments of the government actually use Acorn. Shelby didn't know. Scarborough asked Shelby for specifics about the corruption but Shelby said he only knew that the corruption was widespread. Scarborough asked him how many organizations like Acorn are providing similar services for the government and how much the government has spent on them. Again, Shelby didn't know.

If Shelby has been following Acorn for a long time and knows that the corruption in Acorn is widespread such that they should be disqualified as a government contractor, why doesn't Shelby know everything about how Acorn is used, how much they have been paid and the other instances of corruption?

Could it be that Shelby is just blowing off his big mouth for political purposes?

If Acorn has been working for the federal government for 15 years for a total compensation of $53 million, the the agencies of the federal government that employed Acorn deserve to be investigated if corruption within Acorn is actually widespread as "reported but not substantiated" by Richard Shelby, Big Mouth Political Opportunist.


Kansas Bob said...

I suspect that Acorn is a drop in the bucket compared to all of the corruption in DC.. $53 million just doesn't seem to be that much.

Sad about Shelby.. looks like the MSM didn't give him a pass.. and Joe is a bit right of center :)

Joe said...

We certainly have learned to think of $53 million as chump change. What used to be a LOT of money is nothing today. The Federal Government spends $53 million every 10 minutes, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

None of the talk shows should permit their guests to say anything they want without a reasonable challenge. There is more to be learned if there is a debate - a civil debate. I don't like watching shows whose host and guests all talk at the same time.

Chris Matthews is one of my favorite people but he is a horrible host to many of his guests. He never shuts up. Even when I don't agree with his guest, I want the person to have chance to speak.

Laura said...

I agree with your blog and your comment. You know how I feel about Chris Matthews - we agree with almost everything he says, but hate the way he speaks over his guests.