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ACORN Picks Lefty To Investigate Itself

From a relieved New York Times:

Acorn Appoints Former Prosecutor to Conduct Review

By Jim Rutenberg

September 22, 2009

Facing a continued barrage of criticism, the Acorn grassroots organization announced this morning it had brought on the former attorney general of Massachusetts, Scott Harshbarger, to oversee the internal review of its practices that it announced last week.

Mr. Harshbarger had served as the Massachusetts attorney general for two terms during the 1990s and, after a failed bid for governor in the state, went on to become the chief executive of the advocacy group Common Cause. He is currently at the white shoe firm of Proskauer Rose, where he focuses on corporate investigations and defense, and on nonprofit governance and ethics cases.

Maude Hurd, the chair of Acorn’s board of directors, announced his appointment this morning.

While Mr. Harshbarger comes from the liberal, Democratic side of the political divide, his background could help Acorn combat skepticism about the investigation into its own practices

Acorn’s “outside advisory council” overseeing the internal review process, however, includes several of the organization’s top supporters. One council member, John Podesta, is head of the Center for American Progress, which shares major donors with Acorn, Herb and Marion Sandler; another council member, Andy Stern, the leader of the Service Employees International Union, has been closely allied with the group on several issues over the years

Mr. Harshbarger had worked in proximity to the group at least once, when he was the Massachusetts attorney general. Both he and Ms. Hurd won concessions from Fleet Financial Group when it was seeking to acquire Shawmut National bank in 1995. Ms. Hurd secured Fleet’s agreement to provide a $120 million loan program for minority home buyers nationally; Mr. Harshbarger won Fleet’s agreement to provide $210 million in small business and consumer loans, The Boston Globe reported at the time.

Acorn did not provide a specific time frame for the investigation but says it is refusing new clients in its tax, housing and benefits counseling programs until the review is complete.

By the way, Mr. Harshbarger found public prominence and political success, like Janet Reno, by prosecuting cases in the day care sex abuse hysteria of the 1980s.

He obtained the conviction of Gerald Amirault and other employees of the Fells Acres Day Care Center in Malden, Massachusetts.

The Amirault conviction has been widely criticized as a gross miscarriage of justice by publications as politically diverse as The Wall Street Journal (April 30, 2004) and The Nation (Feb. 28, 2002).

Mr. Harshbarger served as president of the public interest organization Common Cause for three years, where he spearheaded the successful push for campaign finance reform in 2002 (McCain-Feingold).

Mr. Harshbarger, is the chairman of Proskauer Rose’s pro bono initiative. Here is what the law firm considers pro bono work:

Proskauer Rose LLP – Pro Bono

The Firm maintains ongoing referral relationships with many organizations, including: The Legal Aid Society; New York Legal Assistance Group; Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts; Lawyers Alliance for New York; Volunteers of Legal Services; New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; Health Law Advocates; the ACLU of Massachusetts; the District of Columbia Bar Association; the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence; Human Rights Watch; and the California Women’s Law Center.

Elsewhere, they list the following as their “Distinguished [Pro Bono] Referral Partners”:

ACLU of Massachusetts Greater Boston Legal Services, Alliance for Children’s Rights Health Law Advocates, Bedford-Stuyvesant Legal Services Human Rights Watch, Bet Tzedek Lawyers Alliance for New York, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, California Women’s Law Center Legal Aid Society, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services Legal Services for New York, Center for Urban and Community Services My Sister’s Place, Court Appointed Special Advocates National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Disability Rights Center New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, District of Columbia Bar Association New York Legal Assistance Group, The Door Southern District of Florida Volunteer Lawyers’ Program, Essex-Newark Legal Services Urban Justice Center, Gay Men’s Health Crisis Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Here is Mr. Harshbarger bragging about one of his accomplishments, in an interview with the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (a pdf file):

No wonder he feels such empathy for ACORN.

And speaking of elections, here are his FEC Individual Contribution search results for our hero:

Individual Contributions Arranged By Type, Giver, Then Recipient

Contributions to Political Committees

HARSHBARGER, L SCOTT
WESTWOOD, MA 02090
NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

KENNEDY, EDWARD MOORE SENATOR
VIA KENNEDY FOR SENATE 2000

03/16/1999
250.00
99020072389

HARSHBARGER, L. SCOTT
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138
PROSKAUER ROSE LLP/ATTORNEY

TSONGAS, NICOLA S
VIA NIKI TSONGAS COMMITTEE, THE

09/25/2007
250.00
27931382302

HARSHBARGER, L. SCOTT
WESTWOOD, MA 02090
MURPHY HESSE TOOMEY & LEHANE LLP/

DELAHUNT, WILLIAM D
VIA DELAHUNT FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE

12/05/2003
1000.00
24990289775

HARSHBARGER, SCOTT
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138
PROSKAUER ROSE/ATTORNEY

EDWARDS, JOHN
VIA JOHN EDWARDS FOR PRESIDENT

09/21/2007
1000.00
28930127832

01/09/2008
500.00
28930696051

OBAMA, BARACK
VIA OBAMA FOR AMERICA

04/24/2008
500.00
28991063908

HARSHBARGER, SCOTT
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138
PROSKAVER ROSE LLP/ATTORNEY

UDALL, TOM
VIA UDALL FOR US ALL

03/17/2008
500.00
28020501758

08/19/2008
250.00
29020092947

HARSHBARGER, SCOTT
WESTWOOD, MA 02090
MURPHY HESSE TOOMEY & LEHANE/ATTO

KERRY, JOHN F
VIA JOHN KERRY FOR PRESIDENT INC

09/30/2003
1000.00
25971200608

08/10/2004
1000.00
24991236736

HARSHBARGER, SCOTT
WESTWOOD, MA 02090
NORTHEASTERN UNIV

DNC SERVICES CORPORATION/DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

02/08/1999
250.00
99034663193

Total Contributions:    6500.00
Joint Fundraising Contributions 

These are contributions to committees who are raising funds to be distributed to other committees. The breakdown of these contributions to their final recipients may appear below

HARSHBARGER, SCOTT
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138
PROSKAUER ROSE/ATTORNEY

OBAMA VICTORY FUND

07/31/2008
2300.00
28932561885

Total Joint Fundraising:    2300.00
Recipient of Joint Fundraiser Contributions
These are the Final Recipients of Joint Fundraising Contributions

HARSHBARGER, SCOTT
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138
PROSKAUER ROSE

OBAMA, BARACK
VIA OBAMA FOR AMERICA

07/31/2008
500.00
28932640056

07/31/2008
1800.00
28932640055

Recipient Total:    2300.00
TRY A: NEW QUERY
RETURN TO: FEC HOME PAGE

Who can doubt that he will put an end to all of ACORN’s nefarious dealings?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “ACORN Picks Lefty To Investigate Itself”

  1. Right of the People says:

    Lawdy, lawdy, I don’t see nuttin’ wrong here! Nod, nod, wink, wink.

  2. retire05 says:

    It seems tht Mr. Harshbarger is going to have some assistance from none other than the ever so honest former San Antonio mayor and Secretary of Housing, Henry Cisneros.

    http://www.ksat.com/news/20983938/detail.html

    You do remember Henry Cisneros, right? And how he was booted from Clinton’s cabinet because he couldn’t seem to keep his mouth shut while he was dropping his pants? Cisneros, while he seemed to do a lot for San Antonio on the “convention” scene, killed a budding career (he had a real shot at being America’s first Hispanic president) due to a little thing like dishonesty, a trait that Dems seem to have a real problem with.

    So you have to major Democratic operatives going to do an “honest” internal audit of the most corrupt organization in America? Yeah, I’m confident in their findings, arn’t you?

    • P. Aaron says:

      We’re so lucky to have all those powerhouse media watchdogs to keep us up-to-date on this latest development.

  3. ONail says:

    Looks like business as usual. Did anyone actually think that our statist-in-chief would let his right arm be amputated? ACORN will remain ACORN even if they have to change their name. This is the organization the dems are counting on to make sure “all” the votes are counted.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Move on everybody……nothing to see here.

  5. Tater Salad says:

    This is one complete joke ! The fox has now entered the hen house!

  6. trmade98 says:

    Check out http://www.dailyjobcuts.com and ask yourself if we are missing a big picture here..

  7. BigOil says:

    Reminiscent of Barry investigating himself on the Air Force One flyby over New York.

    Birds of a feather…

  8. Confucius says:

    Who is going to pay Mr. Harshbarger?


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