ACORN hired a former Attorney General, Scott Harshbarger of Massachusetts, to conduct an independent review of how ACORN operated after those sleazy v
December 9, 2009

ACORN hired a former Attorney General, Scott Harshbarger of Massachusetts, to conduct an independent review of how ACORN operated after those sleazy videos were released by FOX. The resulting report concludes that ACORN did not engage in any criminal behavior, even though some of it looked pretty out there.

ACORN, the community organizing group which found itself embroiled in the latest of several controversies after some of its workers were recorded providing advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute, was cleared of illegality in the matter by the former Massachusetts attorney general.

But Scott Harshbarger, the lawyer ACORN hired to conduct a review, criticized the organization for bad management which it said contributed to the ACORN's problems. A major problem, he said, was that the organization grew too quickly, neglecting training of its workers and other essentials.

Harshbarger says this about their conduct:

While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers. Instead, the videos represent the byproduct of ACORN's longstanding management weaknesses, including a lack of training, a lack of procedures, and a lack of on-site supervision.

ACORN has always claimed that these were isolated instances and not a systemic problem, though this report suggests that they were at least a product of systemic disorganization, something ACORN obviously needs to repair.

What the report does say, moreover, is that the rogue videographers edited the videos and likely manipulated the final product:

TPM sez:

Harshbarger also notes that the videos were sometimes less than perfect representations of the events they depict. He writes:

>The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O'Keefe's and Ms. Giles's comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.

In the wake of the scandal, Congress voted to cut off all federal funds from ACORN. In response, the group is suing the US government, arguing that the measure is a bill of attainder, and therefore unconstitutional.

A real news network would have spent the time necessary to prove the accuracy of the tapes. FOX News never tried to act like a news organization when they received the tapes. It's their responsibility as journalists to verify the information the tapes contain, but instead FOX repeatedly aired them in hopes of destroying ACORN, a group that has a history of great work with lower-income families. The damage has been done as Congress joined in the vilification process.

Proof, once again, that this is not a news network. It's a propaganda mill posing as one.

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