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CRS: ACORN Videotape Makers May Have Violated Federal, State Law.

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 12:01 PM
Original message
CRS: ACORN Videotape Makers May Have Violated Federal, State Law.
CRS: ACORN Videotape Makers May Have Violated Federal, State Law.

In response to a request from Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, the Congressional Research Service issued a report finding absolutely zero cases in which ACORN violated the terms of its federal funding in the past five years.

But the report may have more harrowing implications for the creators of the infamous "prostitution videos" that prompted Congress to cut ACORN's funding, a move that a judge recently ruled was unconstitutional. According to the CRS report, the videographers may have violated federal law -- specifically the Electronics Communication Privacy Act:

The allegations concerning recording the conversation with ACORN affiliated individuals without their consent and subsequently disclosing the violations, at a minimum, of 18 U.S.C. 2511(1)(a), (b), and (c) to qualify for the one party consent exception of 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d), meaning the alleged conduct would not be considered unlawful under ECPA.

The authors of the report seem fairly certain that the makers of the video tape violated state laws in Maryland and California, concluding that "the laws of Maryland and California appear to ban private recording of face to face conversations, absent the consent of all of the participants."

In addition, CRS found no evidence for of the most pernicious and widely held right-wing theories about ACORN -- that it "steals" elections by deliberately collecting false registrations.The report could not "identify any reported instances of individuals who were improperly registered by ACORN attempting to vote at the polls."

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month...
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yeah, we knew that. But the video is now "the truth."
So no matter what anyone says... Hey, I remember the people crying for ACORN's blood on DU.
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Hepburn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. California is most certainly and "all party" consent state...
...and, yes, taping ~~ audio, video, or both ~~ private meetings, converstsaions, etc., are a violation of the law. One may tape someone doing something in public without their consent because there is deemed to be no expectation of privacy in a public act. However, private meetings, phone conversations, etc...bozo no-no unless all involved gave consent.

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DuckyCase Donating Member (58 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
3. What exactly did ACORN ever do that made it such a boogeyman?
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. They encouraged po' folks to participate in the system
Registering voters, organizing folks to petition their government for redress, enforcing fair housing laws, the usual Communistic nonsense of persuading poor people that they have a say in how things are run, too. ACORN seems almost willfully unaware that the structures of government are reserved for the wealthy only.
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DuckyCase Donating Member (58 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Welp...That'll do it. But where do the corruption charges come from?
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. see my post #7 and this link
Edited on Wed Dec-23-09 02:41 PM by Hekate
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DuckyCase Donating Member (58 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. So that's it? I keep hearing about ACORN being the Mob x al Qaeda x the Nazi Party...
There have to be dead bodies somewhere, right?
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. What I've been saying, Li'l Newbie, for 10 years is "Who does it serve?" and "Consider the source"
Welcome to DU, DuckyCase.

I'm not one of the more cynical ones here, but in the cluster of misery that was the Bush the Lesser administration I started asking myself who was being served (aka benefitted) by whatever the latest brouhaha was.

Democrats are not saints, but the mission of the Republican Party since Clinton was sworn in has been to make every Democrat in office and every socially beneficial program look corrupt and incompetent. In fact, that meme started with Ronald Reagan.

It was only when I looked anew at what operatives like Grover Norquist said and actually took them at face value did I realize that it was because Republicans had become the party that wanted the reins of power but didn't believe in government. They really didn't have any use for actual governance -- for fixing bridges before they collapse, for building public schools and paying teachers, for ensuring that the very food we eat is wholesome and unadulterated.

It doesn't benefit you and me, but as an accountant friend of mine says, "Follow the money." Strangely, when she follows the money and I follow the public policy, we come to the same place. It benefits mega-multinational corporations and those whom they serve.

And that's where you'll find the dead bodies.

Hekate

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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. They are the largest organizing and advocatcy movement for the poor.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. ACORN registers low income and minority voters to empower them to ...vote.
They help people get involved in transforming their own communities. The horror, the horror!

As far as I can tell, the Repubs looked for a convenient target and then cut ACORN out from the herd and hunted them down. The Repubs did what they have become so good at: they lied and put money behind the lie. Why? Because they can. Why? To make anything remotely Democratic look corrupt.

I've done voter reg for the Democrats, and I can tell you that as regards some of the alleged complaints against ACORN: a registrar is required to take ALL registrations, check them for completion, and turn them ALL in. If a Repub wanted to register, fine. If someone wanted to put their name down as Betsy Ross or Mickey Mouse, whatever. It is not the responsibility of the person at the card table in front of the grocery store to filter those forms -- that's the responsibility of the County Registrar of Voters.

Republican Party = Party of Liars

Hekate


http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=17851
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. One thing to add
Folks who do voter registration drives are required by law to turn in all the cards that are filled out, as you said. The reason for this? Because a Republican group (if memory serves, it was in Nevada) was registering voters and either altering them to register people as Republicans, or tossing the registrations for non-Republicans. So the law was changed, but the Republicans adapted right away (cf. The Borg collective from Star Trek: The Next Generation for their businss model).

Republicans have never been much on getting people registered to vote, but they watch like hawks groups that do. So when the change came down that all completed cards had to be turned in to the local registrar, the Republicans were there to complain about every registration filled out in the name of Mickey Mouse or Betsy Ross and squawk about "voter fraud." Naturally, they were wrong, as this was "registration fraud," and despite their best efforts, Republicans have never shown an instance where someone registered as Mickey Mouse actually cast a ballot (which would be "voter fraud"). ACORN and other voter registration groups have become pretty adept at reviewing the cards they collect, and flagging the suspicious ones for the local registrar, helping to make sure that only properly registered citizens are eligible to vote.

Some people say that there are Republican operatives who fill out the fraudulent registration cards, and then holler about the cards that have been turned in. But that would require a decidedly cynical person to believe that Republicans could ever be that transparent in ginning up a fake controversy. So the media obediently report just the allegations shrilled by Republicans without ever checking too deeply into the substance. But there's no particular reason why they would. You know?
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-23-09 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. They help the poor and minorities to have a voice in this
society by helping them to register to vote. They also have worked for decades to ensure that minorities are not discriminated against when they apply for a mortgage. Bolstered by the Community Reinvestment Act (legislation that is hated by the right) which makes it illegal to refuse a mortgage to anyone based on race, they have fought for decades to help minority buyers get the loans they apply for regardless of their race. This is probably one of the main reasons they are hated by the radical right.

Most of James O'Keefe's videos have a racial component in them, including the ones mentioned in the OP. Eg, his assumption that ACORN workers would be familiar with 'Pimps and Whores' and therefore it was a good way to get them to incriminate themselves. He was also accused in college of being racist by some of his peers.

The right does not want the poor voting, because when they do they generally vote for Democrats. The vitriol against them before the 2008 election was triggered mainly by the fact that they were responsible for helping over one million people to register to vote. Numbers like that could change the outcome of an election.

Paul Weyrich, one of the heroes of the right said don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

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