Ned Ryun, the wingnutty twin son of thankfully-disgraced former Congressman (and former middle distance runner) Jim Ryun, is worried:
ACORN is going to be helping with the 2010 census. I think that’s a sign of the apocalpyse [sic] for the week; kind of like letting the fox guard the hen house. It should make us all a little nervous that a group which has come under suspicion for widespread fraud in over 12 states would somehow be involved with the census. So my thought is: why don’t the big conservative grassroots organizations like Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, American Solutions, etc. spread the word among their membership and recruit workers to help with the census? As far as I know, none of those groups have ever been under suspicion for fraudulent behavior.
First, ACORN is a great group that did a lot to rebuild New Orleans, even as the Bush administration (which Ned Ryun served in) sat on its hands. Furthermore, accusations of fraud were greatly overblown.
But that doesn’t tickle my funny bone. What does interest me is checking out the claim of fraud. And a quick check with Gizoogle reveals that Americans for Tax Reform was accused of having “perpetrated a fraud” on the American public over its involvement with Jack Abramoff (Ned’s father got a house for below market value from an Abramoff-affiliate; Ned may even have lived in that house at one point or another). That’s a report from the U.S. Senate, and wasn’t based (as the ACORN allegations are) on the behavior of contractors of state affiliates. In this case, “officials of the nonprofit groups, including Americans for Tax Reform, a prominent conservative group run by the Republican strategist Grover G. Norquist, agreed to ‘carry out Mr. Abramoff’s requests for help with his clients in exchange for cash payments.’ ”
But “perpetrated a fraud” could just be hyperbole, right? Maybe not:
Senator Max Baucus of Montana, said in releasing the report that the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service would “have to determine whether tax laws were broken, but in my view, these groups’ dealings with Jack Abramoff certainly violated the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of the laws” on tax-exempt groups.
What became of Abramoff? “[T]he former lobbyist pleaded guilty to conspiring to corrupt public officials, including members of Congress, in a wide-ranging scheme that involved funneling his clients’ money through tax-exempt groups.”
This is who we want involved with the census?