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  • The Rotten Acorn

    Posted by Shannon Love on October 20th, 2008 (All posts by )

    A lot of people like to explain that the fake registrations that ACORN submitted resulted from either (1) the inevitable mistakes of registering millions of voters or (2) workers paid for meeting quotas defrauding ACORN itself by filing false registrations. 

    I think both the explanations superficially valid. Given my experience in large corporations and a grasp of statistics, I find it perfectly creditable that:

    (1) A large number of mistakes will show up if an organization deals with millions of people. For example, if an organization interacts with a million people and carries out 99.9% of those interactions perfectly, that means that 1,000 interactions failed. That will be true of retailers, hospitals and “non-profits”.

    (2) Unscrupulous people in any organization attempt to game the internal procedures in order to maximize their own gain. This behavior takes the form of everything from stealing office supplies, to the ubiquitous problem of sales making promises the rest of the company cannot keep, to faking work not actually done. 

    However, I also know that the same people who defend ACORN today would never defend a for-profit corporation using the same arguments. Indeed, they would usually presume that any malfeasance  resulted from a conspiracy by the corporate officers at the highest level. Even if they could not prove conspiracy, they would hold the corporate officers strictly responsible for creating incentives for the employees to cheat [h/t Instapundit] and for not instituting internal checks to catch such cheating. 

    So, I think we should hold ACORN and other “non-profits” to the same standards we hold “for-profits” to. The corporate officers of ACORN knew or should have known that their workers were corrupting the electoral process.  They should be dealt with accordingly. 

     

    9 Responses to “The Rotten Acorn”

    1. Joe Y Says:

      Many years ago, when I was a young radical leftist, I worked for an ACORN group (not actually called ACORN, but one of their community orgazations), an experience that was crucial in my taking seriously non-leftist thought. As recently as this summer, an ACORN group canvassed my neighborhood “to save the environment.” I talked to two of the canvassers (my house was hit twice). Nothing much seems to have changed, including ACORN’s quite competent management structure, which means, to save a long explanation, that there is absolutely no way that people all through the ACORN heirarchy didn’t know what was going on.

    2. Plan B Says:

      Who’s been arrested at ACORN?

      http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/20/republican-voter-registration-chief-arrested-fraud-california/

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Plan B,

      Who’s been arrested at ACORN?

      Nobody yet although clearly laws were broken. But I take your point, one Republican commits individual voter fraud so that they, personally, can vote in a jurisdiction they do not live in clearly outweighs tens of thousands of fraudulent registrations, some linked to fraudulent votes cast in previous elections, committed by a leftist organizaiton.

      Yep, the usually double standard, one bad deed by a Republican equals thousands of bad deeds by Democrats.

    4. Sean F. Says:

      >>So, I think we should hold ACORN and other “non-profits” to the same standards we hold “for-profits” to.

      You’re not serious! We should all be against any multi-million dollar severance payouts to the leaders of ACORN. And that’s with *or* without any non-ISO option acceleration.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Sean F,

      We should all be against any multi-million dollar severance payouts to the leaders of ACORN.

      Actually, ACORN leaders that didn’t commit crimes should get whatever severance the contracted for. The idea that peoples employment contracts can be renegotiated at the whim of 3rd parties is very dangerous. None of the rest of us would like the idea that some politician could whip up a frenzy and cut our severance pay.

    6. Mike Drew Says:

      “I also know that the same people who defend ACORN today would never defend a for-profit corporation using the same arguments.”
      Of couse they always think that every corporation is evil and that the answer to all their problems can be solved by government. Illuminaties of the Left-Wing party would not think that this is a double standard. Well stated Shannon!

    7. Mike C. Says:

      Plan B,

      Who’s been arrested at ACORN?

      Nobody yet…

      Well, maybe not this election cycle. But in the last couple years, ACORN workers have been convicted of voter registration fraud in Wisconsin, Colorado, Missouri and Washington state.

    8. Anonymous Says:

      Here is how this works
      1. Register a name 15 times using the same name and 15 different local homeless shelter addresses in 15 different precincts.
      2. Day before election day check each precinct to see which names made it into the voter cards.
      3. Rent a school bus for election day.
      4. Pick up 20 guys from a shelter. Assign each guy 1 name (they have a hard time remembering more than 1 name).
      5. Drive them to all 15 precincts and have them vote straight Democrat ticket.
      6. Go to home precinct and have them vote as themselves.
      7. Pay them and celebrate.

      Alternatively, let poll watchers just vote them themselves during slow periods.

    9. Jonathan Says:

      Voting fraud is a long-festering scandal that mainly benefits Democrats but in the long run undermines the system for everyone. The Democrats are criminal for encouraging fraud and the Republicans are criminal for being complacent about it.