Remember ACORN? If not, try and stretch your memory back to the 2008 presidential campaign and the months that followed.
The controversial community organizing group -- which is now defunct -- came under fire for purportedly engaging in voter fraud.
Now, Fox News is reporting that the former New York office for ACORN is heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement -- so much so, that former members are apparently organizing door-to-door canvassing, events, and other related activities. Considering that this is supposedly a "leaderless" movement, these allegations are curious. Fox News reports:
The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). That organization was created in late 2009 when some ACORN offices disbanded and reorganized under new names after undercover video exposes prompted Congress to cut off federal funds.
NYCC’s connection to ACORN isn’t a tenuous one: It works from the former ACORN offices in Brooklyn, uses old ACORN office stationery, employs much of the old ACORN staff and, according to several sources, engages in some of the old organization’s controversial techniques to raise money, interest and awareness for the protests.
If true, it seems ACORN has gone through more of a re-branding than it has a closure. Fox goes on to report that the NYCC has hired 100 or so former staffers who were once affiliated with the defunct organizing group.
And with purported pay for these individuals coming in at $100 per day, an important question is spawned: How are these activities being funded? These staffers are allegedly paid to attend and support Occupy Wall Street. Some are also said to be doing door-to-door fundraising (this money is then used to pay for supplies, staff and travel to bring the former ACORN employees to New York to protest).
According to sources, some of the fundraising ploys NYCC has devised are a bit suspect, as staffers allegedly target union members based on an address list and then knock on their doors to ask for contributions. Apparently, this is done under a union guise and the people being solicited aren't told that the money is actually going to be used to fund Occupy Wall Street.
“All the money collected from canvasses is pooled together back at the office, and everything we’ve been working on for the last year is going to the protests, against big banks and to pay people’s salaries—and those people on salary are, of course, being paid to go to the protests every day,” one of the staffers told Fox News.
“They’re doing the same stuff now that got ACORN in trouble to begin with. And yes, we’re still ACORN, there is a still a national ACORN,” the staffer allegedly continued.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, though. On September 30, Kest wrote the following on the NYCC web site, voicing his support for the Occupy Wall Street movement:
It has been amazing watching #OccupyWallStreet grow over the past two weeks. As someone who has been involved in the social justice movement in New York for more than 30 years, it's a rare occasion that I get to watch a movement like this develop from the outside.
Over the past several years, while the big banks have destroyed our economy and working people have fought to make do with less and less, the richest one percent of Americans continue to take of more of the pie.
That's why I'm excited to announce that New York Communities for Change and many of our allies in community organizing and labor will be showing our support for #OccupyWallStreet next week.
Aside from this "support," NYCC has already shown its dissatisfaction with banks. Below, see a protest led by the group against Chase bank back in May:
Another woman claims she was hired from a homeless shelter, paid $10 per hour and then sent to the protests. She says she held "big orange banners" that promoted NYCC in large letters. Now, she says she is working in Long Island to canvass for a campaign against foreclosures.
Read the rest of the report here.