Amid new ACORN scandals, lawsuit revives an old one

 

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed two Freedom of Information lawsuits, one of which could re-open the strange case of alleged embezzlement in which ACORN's founder and former chief organizer kept an embezzlement scandal “in the family.”

Ten years ago, Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, embezzled nearly $950,000 from the ACORN affiliate that he headed, Citizen's Consulting Incorporated. When the theft was discovered, his brother Wade and a handful of other ACORN officials kept the matter secret not only from authorities but even from members of ACORN's board. According to The New York Times, they treated the money that Dale stole as a loan to be paid back gradually.

He paid back about $215,000 until last year, when the embezzlement was finally made public by whistleblowers, creating a scandal. The rest of Rathke's debt was finally covered by a major donor, but many of those involved in the coverup continue to work for ACORN and its affiliates. (Wade Rathke justified the secrecy at the time by saying the scandal could have discredited the group's mission.)

Judicial Watch has filed suit demanding documentation from the Department of Labor that could indicate whether this cozy arrangement violated federal retirement benefits law. The lawsuit seeks records pertaining to ACORN and eight related organizations, including the Service Employees International Union and two of its local affiliates.

 

The other lawsuit by Judicial Watch seeks several documents, including two specific audit reports, related to AmeriCorps grants that went to ACORN Housing, an ACORN sister group. 

 

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton released a statement criticizing the Labor Department for failing to respond to the original Freedom of Information requests in a timely manner.

“These new FOIA lawsuits show that the Obama administration has taken a ‘stonewall’ approach when it comes releasing ACORN documents,” he said.

 

Beltway ConfidentialUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

From left, Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden inaugurated as 46th president as Trump era comes to an end

Todd Spangler Detroit Free Press Taking over the reins of government at… Continue reading

San Francisco City Hall is lit in gold and amber to remember victims as part of a national Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19 on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco joins national COVID memorial ceremony

San Francisco took part Tuesday in the first national Memorial to Lives… Continue reading

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
With executive orders, Biden to reverse Trump policies on environment, immigration

Evan Halper Los Angeles Times President-elect Joe Biden will move swiftly to… Continue reading

Private vehicles were banned from much of Market Street in January 2020, causing bike ridership on the street to increase by 25 percent and transit efficiency by as much as 12 percent. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board approves new Better Market Street legislation

Advocates say traffic safety improvements don’t go far enough to make up for lost bikeway

Most Read