Not released Aftermath for ACORN[ edit ] On March 19, , The New York Times reported that ACORN was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy; 15 of the group's 30 state chapters had disbanded over the past six months, and other chapters including the largest, in New York and California had renamed themselves and severed all ties to the national organization.
But if the organization had confronted its own internal problems, it might not have been taken down so easily. We're on life support. Treasury Department 's Inspector General announced it would initiate a broader probe into "the government's oversight of tax-exempt organizations like ACORN when they engage in political activities. The report's other findings included that there were no instances of voter fraud by individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees, and no instances where ACORN violated terms of federal funding in the last 5 years.
The CRS found that O'Keefe and Giles may have violated Maryland and California laws banning the recording of face-to-face conversations without consent of both parties. The video releases were heavily edited to feature only the worst or most inappropriate statements of the various ACORN employees and to omit some of the most salient statements by O'Keefe and Giles. Each of the ACORN employees recorded in California was a low level employee whose job was to help the needy individuals who walked in the door seeking assistance.
Giles and O'Keefe lied to engender compassion, but then edited their statements from the released videos. They show a worker purportedly seeking information from a contact in Mexico to help them smuggle underage girls from Mexico into the United States to work as prostitutes. The video did not show that the worker's "contact" in Mexico was a police official.
The employee collected as much specific information from Giles and O'Keefe as possible during their visit. The worker then contacted Mexican police to warn them of the plot. ACORN is, however, disorganized and its operations were far from transparent, leaving it vulnerable to allegations of illegal activity and misuse of funds.
The report determined that the employees did not commit prosecutable crimes in California. Regarding this contrast between the publicity related to the videos and what actually transpired, Attorney General Brown stated, "The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality.
Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor. CNN began coverage of the story as early as September 9. Hey, ABC, how's it working out for you with two? The young woman and filmmaker who visited those ACORN offices were political activists, and they put together what is, in essence, a very effective political protest against an organization they would like to damage.
And they've done a very effective job of doing that. But I think they're clearly not journalists. ACORN and its supporters had complained "that The Times got the story wrong and, by failing to correct it, has played into the hands of a campaign that has pushed the group near extinction. O'Keefe had presented himself "as a clean-cut young man, sometimes a college student, trying to rescue his girlfriend and under-age girls from an abusive pimp.
The record does not support them. If O'Keefe did not dress as a pimp, he clearly presented himself as one: The pair had set up the workers rather than doing investigative journalism. Attorney and the U. Criticisms of the undercover videos[ edit ] In September , before the investigations revealed the selective and heavy editing of the videos, Alexandra Fenwick of the Columbia Journalism Review described the video ensemble as a politically motivated piece that lacked context and did not present accurate information.
She characterized the work as raw information instead of journalism. She said some elements of the ACORN videos seemed "shadows of journalism's muckraking past" and were commendable. Giles and O'Keefe have been criticized for accuracy problems. Within weeks, political journalist Mike Stark revealed that O'Keefe did not wear such clothing to the ACORN offices, but rather he wore subdued clothing and a tie, and in one instance posed as a candidate for Congress.
Why aren't the unedited videos already in the public domain? The Daily News quoted a law enforcement source saying that "They edited the tape to meet their agenda".