This is going to be interesting, because under discovery, ACORN's attorney will have the right to look into videographer O'Keefe's financial records. Gee, I wonder if anyone else was funding him - and if so, who?
ACORN, the community organizing group embarrassed recently in a video sting, said Wednesday that it needs to determine whether it has major internal problems, but it also struck back, filing a lawsuit against the people who conducted the secret investigation.
Bertha Lewis, head of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, told reporters in a conference call that ACORN does not support criminal activity and that it thinks the filmmakers should have obeyed Maryland laws. In the state, where one video that embarrassed ACORN was made, the act constituted illegal wiretapping, the suit says.
The videos airing in the past two weeks show ACORN housing counselors advising two young conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute on how to conceal their criminal business.
Lewis said she wants a newly hired investigator to find the organization's weak spots, and she said she will make public the findings. Scott Harshbarger, a former Massachusetts attorney general hired for the investigation, vowed a "robust, no-holds-barred" review that would be "transparent." Lewis said ACORN in the meantime will have to turn away many low-income clients it normally helps with threatened foreclosure or tax preparation.
"We want to be sure that before we start helping people with services that our operation is running well," she said. "It doesn't hurt us financially. It does hurt the poor people we have served for many years."
Congress voted last week to ban federal funding for ACORN, and the organization hired Harshbarger to investigate and recommend changes.
On Wednesday, the new head of the federal Census Bureau revealed his reason for dropping ACORN as an agency partner. He said the bureau's link to ACORN was hurting efforts to get Americans to participate in the count. And Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Wednesday asked the House Judiciary Committee to summon Lewis, ACORN founder Wade Rathke and other ACORN officers for a hearing on its activities.