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Republican Darrell Issa Compares ACORN with Bernie Madoff: ACORN Has Done Some Good, But “Bernie Madoff Gave to Charity, That Doesn’t Necessarily Make Up for the Bad Work Done”

Reported by Julie - October 11, 2009 -

It was On the Record w/Greta (10/7/09), under the headline “ACORN McCarthyism?”, and Greta van Susteren talked to Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California (the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) about ACORN. Yes. Again. Issa was responding to a comment made by ACORN Chief Organizer, Bertha Lewis in which, as reported by The Caucus, “She decried a ‘modern-day Acorn McCarthyism,’ and blamed some of the group’s current problems on its more than 40-year history of ‘going after the rich and the powerful.’” Republicans stirring the pot and then playing victim – novel concept. With video.

First, let’s hop right into a bit of Issa’s history of “investigations.” Most recently, Issa, among other House Republicans, demanded to know “how much the [Obama Administration] czars make, their job descriptions, the organizational structures and the questionnaires they reportedly had to fill out, among other things.” The Republicans are either (1) dumb as dirt, (2) suffering from Alzheimer’s, early onset, or (3) shamelessly hypocritical. Issa seems to encompass a combination of all three. As reported by Salon, “While appearing on Fox News, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Ca. was asked about this seeming double standard and admitted that Republicans didn't object when it was Bush who was doing the czar-appointing.” Then WTF . . . .

But back to On the Record . . . .

Greta began with some nice, slow lobs – well, lobs may be overstating it -- saying, “[The] CEO was speaking today, and she has said that it was like McCarthyism, what is going on vis-a-vis the Republicans versus ACORN. I take it you don't agree with that.” That’s it, pin him to the wall, Greta, you hard-driving journalist, you.

“We’re in the minority . . .,” Issa said, “We’re simply able to put out the facts . . . and ultimately we’ve been vindicated by the facts of what happened at ACORN . . .”

Prompted by van Susteren’s hard-as-nails questioning, Issa confirmed that ACORN is still getting money from Congress.

Van Susteren shamelessly led Issa, asking “Are you of the mind that all ACORN money spent so far has been wasteful or subject to fraud . . . ?” Call me crazy, but I think a real journalist might have asked, “What is your view on the money ACORN has spent so far?” Just sayin’.

Issa conceded that, “. . . Some of what ACORN has done has been in support of good causes and they bring that up all the time. But you know, Bernie Madoff gave to charity, that doesn’t necessarily make up for the bad work done . . . There are lots of charity non-profit groups out there who regularly compete against ACORN for those same grants, they would do them without the adverse side effects.“ I waited on the edge of my seat for van Susteren to ask Issa what other organizations he was referring to, and how he knew they would be taint-free. I am, in fact, still sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting, three hours later.

The whole comparing ACORN to Madoff thing . . . I’m surprised he didn’t compare ACORN with Hitler – after all, Hitler loved his dog and his mother, and had a soft spot for Eva Braun. Madoff swindled individual investors out of gajillions, and ACORN helps the poor. The comparison is coming into focus . . . no, it’s really f’ing not.

“What do you expect ACORN to do at this point,” van Susteren asked Issa, puppy-dog helpful, “. . . Or do you think it should be the Justice Department going in and doing a full-scale investigation . . . ?” Way to pitch it, van Susteren – follow the Fox News playbook by giving him the conclusion he’s supposed to reach, then do everything in your power, short of answering the question for him, to make sure he reaches it.

Issa lobbed it back, saying, “Bertha Lewis has an opportunity even today to have outside auditors, real live independent auditors, not a Democrat operative . . . but if she calls in . . . Price Waterhouse Coopers . . . and says, audit our books . . . then she could begin to rebuild the organization.” A rebuilt ACORN – Republican style. Maybe they could go into business organizing Tea Parties. Would that satisfy the right-wingnut masses?

“Why don’t you think she’s done that?” van Susteren asked.

“I don’t think she’s done it for the same reason as we don’t know whether $1 million or $5 million was embezzled more than 8 years ago.” Issa said. “This is a group that lives on its internal secrecies and doesn’t want us to know where the money went.” This is a group that has formed corporations that are available on Secretary of State websites for anyone to view – and the reason, according to Nathan Henderson-James of ACORN, with whom I spoke personally, is so that the money is kept segregated for each division of ACORN’s works.

Greta then asked, “Are you satisfied that five million is the top . . . or . . . are you suspicious it could be more?” I’m beginning to think van Susteren didn’t even need Issa to conduct this interview: She could just ask the question with the answer embedded in it, and talk to herself.

“Embezzlement is a business of secrets and it’s very hard to know how much was misdirected in that case . . .,” Issa replied. “A lot of money’s been misdirected as a matter of practice - money is recruited from all kinds of sources that ends up in political activities.” Waiting, waiting . . . shall we help Greta? How about, “How do you know it ends up in political activities, Mr. Issa? Do you have any proof of this? What political activities? What money? Where did the money come from and where’s your documentation?”

Greta began her customary Republican-guest-stroking (although nobody was stroked by Greta like Sarah and Todd – especially Todd – Palin were stroked by Greta), saying, “I know you’ve been in Congress about eight years . . . why did it take two young people with a camera, the Congress has been dishing this money out to them, why didn’t you check up see where your money was going . . . .” Ooh, ooh, I’ve got this one – ‘cause his guy, W, was in office and his guy, W, was the guy handing out the cash to ACORN. Now that President Obama is in office, it’s suddenly a problem.

Issa gushed, “I’m very thankful for those two whistleblowers because they did in a matter of minutes on Fox what my 88-page report and six months of work . . . couldn’t do. It got the attention of the media so the media is beginning to look at all the sins of ACORN, including one-third of all their voter registration applications being fraudulent . . . .” Whoo-hoo, Greta? You out there? Questions, maybe, about his proof that one-third of all their voter registration applications are fraudulent? And maybe, just maybe, a little something about how the video that Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe made is alleged by ACORN to have been doctored? And the fact that the pimp ‘n ho duo, along with Andrew Breitbart, who posted the video on his website, are now being sued by ACORN? And the fact that those two “whistleblowers” may be in hot water with the State of Maryland for illegal taping?

“Can we be confident that this has sort of lit a fire under Congress and now the Congress is going to be more vigilant in terms of money that’s handed out . . . feel a little better, sleep a little better at night?” van Susteren asked with a girlish flirtatiousness.

“No,” Issa replied. Unspoken: I won’t sleep at night until ACORN is dead and gone and buried and no longer able to register voters in predominantly Democratic areas (because when that happens a black guy gets elected President) and help poor people – primarily minorities -- battle rich, greedy, predatory entities who prey on the poor and who I just happen to love because so many of them are my BFFs.

Greta’s interviews are always special, aren’t they?