What is a community organizer? ACORN stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles expose ACORN fraud

Citizen journalists exposed ACORN on camera. Now the Obama/Democrat politicians have to sever their ties with the socialist group famous for ballot stuffing, voter registrations by the tens of thousands and illegal loans by the thousands (helping fuel the financial meltdown).  The two citizen journalists asked for tax advice on opening up a house of prostitution and got some good tips from ACORN staff members. 

 

The interview was taped and now Obama has some explaining to do. Why did he pick 9-11 for the first annual day of service? Now ACORN will forever be tied to a tragic day in American history. ACORN is a brownshirt political activist group hired to rig local elections and beef up poor and illegal numbers for federal aid.  What a shitty organization? My god! 

 

Two employees at the Baltimore, Maryland, branch of the liberal community organizing group ACORN were caught on tape allegedly offering advice to a pair posing as a pimp and prostitute on setting up a prostitution ring and evading the IRS.

The video  was recorded and and posted online Thursday by James O’Keefe, a conservative activist. He was joined on the video by another conservative, Hannah Giles, who posed as the prostitute in the filmmakers’ undercover sting.

Wonder why the New York Times or Washington Post didn’t think of doing this kind of real journalism? I think you know the answer.

The video shows the pair approaching two women working at the ACORN Baltimore office and asking them for advice on how to set up a prostitution ring involving more than a dozen underage girls from El Salvador. One of the ACORN workers suggests that Giles refer to herself as a “performing artist” on tax forms and declare some of the girls as dependents to receive child tax credits.

“Stop saying prostitution,” the woman, identified by the filmmaker as an ACORN tax expert, tells Giles. The other woman tells them, “You want to keep them clean … make sure they go to school.”

Both woman appear enthusiastic to help. The tape is on YOUTUBE. Google it. 

James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles visited one of ACORN’s New York offices in August, where they picked up handy tips on how to lie on housing forms to cover up a prostitution business (”Honesty is not going to get you the house,” one ACORN official advises) and how to hide cash from their illicit business (”When you buy the house with the backyard, you get a tin…and you bury it down in there…cover it…and put the grass over it…”).

Watch the whole thing at Big Government. This is now the third videotaped sting exposing the ACORN racket’s law-undermining, truth-sabotaging counseling sessions.

If the Census Bureau no longer trusts ACORN to collect data as a result of these videotapes, why is Congress still allowing taxpayer money to be funneled to the ACORN Housing Corporation?

AHC has received an estimated $16 million in taxpayer funds between 1997-2007, according to the Employment Policies Institute.

 ACORN is now managing apartments in Bedford-Stuyvesant for the newly completed Atlantic Avenue Apartments.

 

The video footage — which has been edited and goes to black in some areas — was recorded and posted online Thursday by James O’Keefe, a conservative activist. He was joined on the video by another conservative, Hannah Giles, who posed as the prostitute in the filmmakers’ undercover sting.

The video shows the pair approaching two women working at the ACORN Baltimore office and asking them for advice on how to set up a prostitution ring involving more than a dozen underage girls from El Salvador.

One of the ACORN workers suggests that Giles refer to herself as a “performing artist” on tax forms and declare some of the girls as dependents to receive child tax credits.

 

 

 

 

Governor Sarah Palin, in her Wednesday night speech to 40 million Americans said, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” Sarah hit a grand slam with that one.

 

But what exactly were Barack Obama’s actions as of community organizer in Chicago?

 

It’s been hidden from the news that Obama was a member of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, ACORN. Google ACORN and you may be surprised to find that it is a liberal/socialist organization involved in voter fraud. Look up the lawsuits ACORN is involved in.

 

 

Obama’s community organizing involved training grievance-mongers from ACORN.

Last week, Milwaukee’s top election official announced plans to seek criminal investigatioins of 37 ACORN employees accused voter registration fraud on a massive level.

 

Obama’s campaign apologized for failing to report $800,000 in campaign payments to ACORN. They were “accidently” filed with the Federal Election Committee as money sent to “get-out-the-vote” and “advance work.”

 

The New York Post has more quotes today from upset community organizers. Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says: “I don’t like seeing the really hard work that goes on in really poor communities being demeaned by cheap politicians.”

 

Hard work such as signing up non U.S. citizens as Democrats with voter cards.

 

The Arkansas connection
You know Acorn. You know the grassroots organization, now a national power, got its start here, led by Wade Rathke (pictured), who spent the group’s formative years wheeling and dealing in Little Rock before moving to New Orleans. The local affiliate remains a powerful voice for poor people.

Depending on your point of view, you’ll be saddened or gladdened to learn this shocking news:

The New York Times reports today that founder Rathke’s brother embezzled $1 million from the organization eight years ago and the matter was handled internally.He stayed on the payroll until a month ago, when whistleblowers finally forced him out.

Wade Rathke said the organization had signed a restitution agreement with his brother in which his family agreed to repay the amount embezzled in exchange for confidentiality.

Wade Rathke stepped down as Acorn’s chief organizer on June 2, the same day his brother left, but he remains chief organizer for Acorn International L.L.C.

He said the decision to keep the matter secret was not made to protect his brother but because word of the embezzlement would have put a “weapon” into the hands of enemies of Acorn, a liberal group that is a frequent target of conservatives who object to its often strident advocacy on behalf of low- and moderate-income families and workers.

Wade Rathke said he learned of the problem when an employee of Citizens Consulting alerted him about suspicious credit card transactions. An internal investigation uncovered inappropriate charges on the cards that led back to his brother.

“Clearly, this was an uncomfortable, conflicting and humiliating situation as far as my family and I were concerned,” he said, “and so the real decisions on how to handle it had to be made by others.”

If one of the prosperous businesses or public officials Rathke and Acorn have bedeviled and humiliated over the years had offered this alibi for wrongdoing, they would be in Lompoc right now.

The greatest economic challenge of our lifetimes is not now, it was 25 years ago under Jimmy Carter — Get ready for the Obama Drama Ding Dongs

In his first news conference since Election Day, President-elect Barack Obama said the United States is ”facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetimes.”

“Obama Drama Ding Dong.” (Let’s see if that phrase catches on). For the next four years we are going to read and hear about crisis after challenge for Obama Drama Ding Dongs. (Inspired by the “Animal House” nightclub scene.)

And the “free press” in America fails to report that Jimmy Carter’s presidency was on an economic disaster with mortgage interest rates of 19 to 21 percent, gas lines, unemployment of over 8.5 percent and the highest tax rates ever seen in the United States since LBJ’s Great Society.

Today’s media is a propaganda machine for the Democratic party. This week the Washington Post in an editorial admitted they had an overwhelming bias to get Obma elected. Woopsie. But the LA Times was even worse. The editors there kept a tape of a toast to a Jew hater named Khalid.

We will see the tape eventually. But will it have been edited? What do you think?

There is no comparative, investigative reporting. Watch America transform into an Eastern European socialist nation with no future and the middle class transformed into a lower-class, mediocre society ruled by the rich, elite class.

Let’s start redistributing the wealth of Barbra Streisand, Michael Moore and Opra

Barack Obama has plans to redistribute the wealth of Joe the Plumber — that’s chump change and the guy has to work with broken pipes and human waste for his money.

How about going after the big fish — liberal Hollywood Democrats like Barbara Streisand, Michael  Moore, Opra Winfrey, Rosie ODonnel, Rob Rhiner, Alec Baldwin, John Travolta and friends?

How about Ted Kennedy, John and Teressa Kerry, even Bill and Hillary Clinton now that they’ve skimmed millions from the system.

What’s so funny about redistributing the wealth? What kind of jokes are they telling in New York and Malibu about McCain and Sarah Palin?

Bill Ayers was out lecturing an adoring crowd of admirers, expressing displeasure that he’s become an issue in the Presidential campaign. The Daily News reports:

The former member of the Weather Underground beamed at the attention paid by the audience of about 60 people, many of whom were decked out in Obama gear. The crowd gave Ayers a warm welcome, guffawed at jokes about “redistributing the wealth” and nodded at his complaints about the “Republican revolution.” After the talk was over, event organizers attempted to sneak Ayers out a back door to avoid the media. Waiting reporters gave chase, but Ayers sputtered, “No comment,” and darted into a cab.

One wonders what that redistributing the wealth joke was — those “property is theft” gags are a hoot, no doubt. Yes, I’m sure with the website and the  new edition of his book coming out, his real hope is to remain far from the limelight.

If you find it odd that sixty people would choose to spend their time with a former terrorist yucking it up about the Reagan Revolution, you might consider how utterly bizarre it would be to enjoy a fulsome political and personal relationship with such a person. It is not something an average voter, I’d suggest, could in his wildest dreams imagine doing.

Once again, you are left to conclude that Obama simply doesn’t hold the same values as ordinary voters. He’s giving a good imitation. But that’s not the same. It really isn’t. –Jennifer Rubin

Who wrote Dreams From My Father? Not Obama but William Ayers?

The evidence of a close kinship between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers is coming out in the open on blogs, talk shows and in magazines. The mainstream media is hoping it will all be “noise” with no consequences. After all, the election is in the bag for Obama with only three weeks left.

Jack Cashill has written a story in American Thinker about the timing and evidence of a ghost writer who may have written Dreams From My Father — the book that put Obama on the national stage.

Time Magazine called Dreams … “the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.”

But Obama had not really written anything up until that. So, did he use a ghost writer? The evidence is there, it is very professional and has a wonderful style. So why doesn’t he name the ghost writer? Or why doesn’t the great writer come forward and say “It was all Obama, I just zipped it up a little.”

Greta Van Sustren is said to be about to break this story.

Come on, this is your time to get some credit. Call yourself just an editor. But let us know who you are?

Wait a minute, what if the ghost writer is Bill Ayres? That would show that Obama is a fabricated man, built by the life-long socialist Ayres.

This is the October surprise.

Recent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives on Obama’s payroll — Senator Chris Dodd oversees Freddie and Fannie and has received hundreds of thousands in contributions from them. Barney Frank’s lover was a director on Fannie

UPDATE: Oct. 2, 2008

Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefited from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s.

So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions.

Enron executives are in prison over much less. In fact far more money was lost to investors after Mr. Frank, trumpeted the great management of Freddie Mack and Fannie May.

We thank Bill O’Reilly for bringing up Barney Frank’s role. Fortunately, we still have a free press in this country. Wait until ’09, if Obama wins he and Nancy Pelosi promise to invoke the “Fairness Doctrine.”

Now that Fannie Mae is at the epicenter of a financial meltdown that threatens the U.S. economy, some are raising new questions about Frank’s relationship with Herb Moses, who was Fannie’s assistant director for product initiatives. Moses worked at the government-sponsored enterprise from 1991 to 1998, while Frank was on the House Banking Committee, which had jurisdiction over Fannie.

Both Frank and Moses assured the Wall Street Journal in 1992 that they took pains to avoid any conflicts of interest. Critics, however, remain skeptical.

“It’s absolutely a conflict,” said Dan Gainor, vice president of the Business & Media Institute. “He was voting on Fannie Mae at a time when he was involved with a Fannie Mae executive. How is that not germane?

“If this had been his ex-wife and he was Republican, I would bet every penny I have – or at least what’s not in the stock market – that this would be considered germane,” added Gainor, a T. Boone Pickens Fellow. “But everybody wants to avoid it because he’s gay. It’s the quintessential double standard.”

Did you read about this in the New York Times, Washington Post or San Francisco Chronicle?

UPDATE: 9/25/08

Countrywide Financial, the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, made large, previously undisclosed home loans to two additional executives of Fannie Mae, the government-chartered firm at the center of the U.S. credit crisis.

This is what Lindsey Graham said on Greta’s show: “And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.”

Imagine what $140,000,000 can do to for ACORN and the Democrat party?

The FBI is investigating Freddie, Fannie, and AGI.
One of Countrywide’s previously undisclosed customers at Fannie was Jamie Gorelick, an influential Democratic Party figure whose $960,000 mortgage refinancing in 2003 was handled through a program reserved for influential figures and friends of Countrywide’s chief executive at the time, Angelo Mozilo. Ms. Gorelick was Fannie Mae’s vice chairman at the time. [Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, listening to testimony on Capitol Hill in April, got a Countrywide refinancing while at Fannie Mae.] Associated Press

Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, listening to testimony on Capitol Hill in April, got a Countrywide refinancing while at Fannie Mae.

Another Countrywide client was recently ousted Fannie Mae Chief Executive Daniel Mudd, though it isn’t clear whether he received special treatment on two $3 million mortgage refinancings he made when he was the company’s chief operating officer.

In an interview, Ms. Gorelick said she had no knowledge of receiving special treatment. A financial adviser to Mr. Mudd said he received interest rates in line with the prevailing market.

The Fannie loans — including a series of already reported preferential loans to former Fannie chief executives James Johnson and Franklin Raines — underscore the close connections between Countrywide and Fannie Mae and raise potential conflict-of-interest issues.

UPDATE: 9/24/08

Statement by John McCain, May 25, 2006:

Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.

Mac and Mae meltdown. Which Democrats benefited from the quasi-government agencies?

UPDATE: 9/24/2008
Opensecrets.com has looked into the public records of direct contributions from the organizations of Freddie and Fannie, not including the donations from top executives. The FBI is opening major investigations into the actions of the organizations.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Invest in Democrats

| | Comments (15)

(For an updated chart that includes contributions from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s PACs and employees to ALL lawmakers back to 1989, including to their leadership PACs, go here.) and data The federal government recently announced that it will come to the rescue of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two embattled mortgage buyers that for years have pursued a lobbying strategy to get lawmakers on their side. Both companies have poured money into lobbying and campaign contributions to federal candidates, parties and committees as a general tactic, but they’ve also directed those contributions strategically. In the 2006 election cycle, Fannie Mae was giving 53 percent of its total $1.3 million in contributions to Republicans, who controlled Congress at that time. This cycle, with Democrats in control, they’ve reversed course, giving the party 56 percent of their total $1.1 million in contributions. Similarly, Freddie Mac has given 53 percent of its $555,700 in contributions to Democrats this cycle, compared to the 44 percent it gave during 2006.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also strategically given more contributions to lawmakers currently sitting on committees that primarily regulate their industry. Fifteen of the 25 lawmakers who have received the most from the two companies combined since the 1990 election sit on either the House Financial Services Committee; the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee; or the Senate Finance Committee. The others have seats on the powerful Appropriations or Ways & Means committees, are members of the congressional leadership or have run for president. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate banking committee, has received the most from Fannie and Freddie’s PACs and employees ($133,900 since 1989). Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) has received $65,500. Kanjorski chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.
Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008

Top Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Name

Office

Party/State

Total

1. Dodd, Christopher

S

D-CT

$133,900

2. Kerry, John

S

D-MA

$111,000

3. Obama, Barack

S

D-IL

$105,849

4. Clinton, Hillary

S

D-NY

$75,550

5. Kanjorski, Paul E

H

D-PA

$65,500

This is a story that you won’t read about in the mainstream media. The Clinton administration marching orders to open up home loans to people unqualified, (socialization of home ownership). Today, the Democrats have taken over the U.S. Congress and have a 50/50 chance to take over the White House.
Look into the Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama connection — they have recieved millions of dollars from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Chris Dodd also received a sweet deal from Countrywide. These same people in “public service” are not investigating the corruption. For the past two years, the Democrats have held the majority controlling status of the House and Senate. So they will not turn in their own.

“Freddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs.

A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions. The top three U.S. senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats and No. 2 on the list is Sen. Barack Obama.

Fannie and Freddie have been creations of the congressional Democrats and the Clinton White House, designed to make mortgages available to more people and, as it turns out, many people who couldn’t afford them… Now remember: Obama’s ads and stump speeches attack McCain and Republican policies for the current financial turmoil. It is demonstrably not Republican policy and worse, it appears the man attacking McCain — Sen. Obama — was at the head of the line when the piggies lined up at the Fannie and Freddie trough for campaign bucks.

Sen. Barack Obama: No. 2 on the Fannie/Freddie list of favored politicians after just two years in the Senate.

Next time you see that ad, you might notice he fails to mention that part of the Fannie and Freddie problem.”

Now let’s look at Franklin Raines, Barack Obama’s campaign manager — previously a Fannie Mae top executive.

This story is serious but it won’t receive any attention from the mainstream media who benefit from a socialist America and Barack Obama as President.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also strategically given more contributions to lawmakers currently sitting on committees that primarily regulate their industry. Fifteen of the 25 lawmakers who have received the most from the two companies combined since the 1990 election sit on either the House Financial Services Committee; the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee; or the Senate Finance Committee. The others have seats on the powerful Appropriations or Ways & Means committees, are members of the congressional leadership or have run for president. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate banking committee, has received the most from Fannie and Freddie’s PACs and employees ($133,900 since 1989). Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) has received $65,500. Kanjorski chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.”

The names of the top four recipients of Campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie over the last 10 years is also interesting – Christopher Dodd, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (all top Democrats for those keeping a scorecard).
About Franklin Raines and James Johnson
James A. Johnson (born December 24, 1943) is a United States Democratic Party political figure. He was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s failed 1984 presidential bid and chaired the vice presidential selection committee for the presidential campaign of John Kerry. He was involved in the vice-presidential selection process for the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama.
Johnson began his career as a faculty member at Princeton University, later moving on to the United States Senate as a staff member and to the Dayton-Hudson Corporation (now Target Corp.) as director of public affairs. He was executive assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale during the entire Carter Administration (1977-1981). Later, he founded and headed Public Strategies, a private consulting firm, from 1981 to 1985 before leaving for Lehman Brothers.
From 1991 to 1998, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the quasi-public organization that guarantees mortgages for millions of American homeowners. Previously, he was vice chairman of Fannie Mae (1990-1991). An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight report from September 2004 found that, during Johnson’s tenure as CEO, Fannie Mae had improperly deferred $200 million in expenses. This enabled top executives, including Johnson and his successor, Franklin Raines, to receive substantial bonuses that they would have otherwise not earned.
As of 2006, he is a vice chairman of the private banking firm Perseus LLC, a position he has held since 2001. He is also a board member at Goldman Sachs, Gannett Company, Inc., a media holding group, KB Home, a home construction firm, Target Corporation, Temple-Inland, and UnitedHealth Group.
Johnson has also served as chairman of both the Kennedy Center for the Arts (1996-2004) and the Brookings Institution (1994-2003). He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Friends of Bilderberg, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission.
On May 22, Democratic Party officials confidentially divulged that Obama had asked Johnson “to lead the process” for selecting Obama’s running mate.On June 4, 2008, Obama announced the formation of a three person committee to vet vice presidential candidates, including Johnson. However, Johnson soon became a source of controversy when it was reported that he had received loans directly from Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial, a company implicated in the U.S. subprime mortgage lending crisis. Although he was not accused of any wrongdoing and was initially defended by Obama on the grounds that he was simply an unpaid volunteer, Johnson announced he would step down from the vice-presidential vetting position on June 11, 2008 in order to avoid being a distraction to Obama’s campaign.
On September 19, the McCain/Palin campaign released an ad showing Obama linked him to Johnson.
What does Don Imus have to say about his old pals? They threw him under the train.
Give us your thoughts, my friends.

Obama — what do you know about ACORN and the garden to nowhere?

Inside the Chicago Democrat machine

Updated: 10/11/08

By Mick Gregory

Watch John McCain roll up his sleeves and bring up ACORN, the Citi Bank intimidation lawsuit, the Annenberg $100 million to nowhere and Tony Rezco.

Jailed political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the Chicago real estate developer who helped launch Barack Obama on his political career, is whispering secrets to federal prosecutors about corruption in Illinois and the political fallout could be explosive.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose administration faces multiple federal investigations over how it handed out jobs and money with advice from Rezko, is considered the most vulnerable but second is non other than Barack Obama.

Rezko also was very friendly with Obama – offering him a job when he finished law school, funding his earliest political campaigns and purchasing a lot next to his house.

Rezko showed Obama around to the king makers and linked him up with Bill Ayers. The rest as they say is history.

Here is another story that  appears to be felony fraud, but you didn’t read it in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle or Washington Post. The tabloid Chicago Sun-Times reported a $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan — a Democrat who is supporting Obama’spresidential bid — is investigating “whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received,” Cara Smith, Madigan’s deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

In addition to the 2001 grant that Obama directed to the housing association as a “member initiative,” the not-for-profit group got a separate $20,000 state grant in 2006.

Madigan’s office has notified Obama’s presidential campaign of the probe, which was launched this week. But Obama’sactions in awarding the money are not a focus of the investigation, Smith said.

Questions about the grant, though, come as spending on local pet projects has become an issue in Obama’s campaign against John McCain.

Obama andKenny Smith announced the “Englewood Botanic Garden Project” at a January 2000 news conference at Englewood High School. Obama was in the midst of a failed bid to oust South Side Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush for a seat in Congress. The garden — planned near and under L tracks between 59th Place and 62nd Place — fell outside of Obama’s Illinois Senate district but within the congressional district’s borders.

Obama vowed to “work tirelessly” to raise $1.1 million to help Smith’s organization turn the City of Chicago-owned lot into an oasis of trees and paths. But Obama lost the congressional race, no more money was raised, and today the garden site is a mess of weeds, chunks of concrete and garbage. The only noticeable improvement is a gazebo. The only tree was sawed down and removed.

The “garden to nowhere” ended up in the pockets of Obama’s campaign staff and maybe Obama himself.

In a previous interview, Smith said the state grant money was legitimately spent, mostly on underground site preparation. Underground? You mean out of sight.

But no one ever took out construction permits required for such work, city records show. And a contractor who Smith said did most of the work told a reporter all he did was cut down trees and grade the site with a Bobcat.

Citing the garden’s failure to take root, NeighborSpace — an umbrella group for dozens of community gardens citywide — moved Sept. 9 to return the site to the city. Its action followed a July 11 Sun-Times report on the grant.

Obama spokesman Michael Ortiz said Wednesday the senator’s staff in Washington will monitor the Madigan probe and an additional review under way by Gov. Blagojevich’s administration to make sure “the taxpayer funds allocated for the construction of the garden are recuperated from CBHA if the agencies determine that the funds were not properly spent.” Obama’s goal is to ensure the site “be used in a way that benefits the community and that any taxpayer dollars allocated are spent wisely,” Ortiz said.

The relationship between Smith and Obama dates to at least 1997, when Obama wrote a letter that Smith used to help the housing association win city funding for an affordable-housing development near the garden site. Plans called for more than 50 homes; a dozen ultimately were built.

Smith also has donated $550 to Obama campaign funds.

The Sun-Times learned about Karen Smith’s involvement in the project through an Aug. 12 Freedom of Information Act response from a lawyer for Blagojevich¹s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The department, according to the lawyer, had ³discovered² 52 pages of ³additional documents² omitted from an initial response in May to a Sun-Times¹ Freedom of Information Act request about the grant.

Neither Smith nor his wife has been accused of any wrongdoing. Smith and his lawyer did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

In an interview in July, Smith said he was never able to raise the money needed for the garden. But the state grant awarded by Obamawas spent properly, he said, on the undergroundwork, withmost of the work done by a contractor whose name Smith got wrong.

The Sun-Times tracked down the contractor, Rodolfo Marin, in Austin, Texas, where he now lives.

“What I was hired for was: Clean up the area and cut the trees — that’s all,” Marin said. He said he rented a Bobcat — a sort of small bulldozer — for the project. “If he spent about $3,000 with me, that was too much.”

Visit this link for more details: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2008/09/07/barack-obamas-1-1-million-botanical-garden-er-100-000-gazebo

McCain showed true leadership by stopping his campaign and asking Obama, the Jr. Senator from Chicago Illinois, to help organize a financial bailout loan. What did he get for it? He was insulted by the Democrat leadership.

So why did the Democrats earmark millions to ACORN?

This is what Lindsey Graham said on the Greta Van Susteren show: “And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.”

Note: ACORN is a front group for Democrat/Socialists convicted of massive voter fraud. Google it yourself.

Sarah Palin has executive and energy experience

When the price of oil reached nearly $149 a barrel and the price at the pump broke the $4 barrier, energy became the top issue of this election. The Democrats (or European socialists if you prefer) are slow to understand economic issues and are still chanting Green Party slogans while the rest of the country has discovered that oil drilling in America has been shut down for the past 30 years off the coast of the U.S.

Sen. John McCain picked a super star in Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska. She knows more about the oil industry than Obama, Biden, Pelosi and Harry Reed put together. Pali’s husband has been a North Slope oilfield engineer.

It’s time to realize that Norway and the UK are drilling and producing billions off their coasts in the North Sea and off the western coast of Norway. Russia has revived to a world power again from oil reserves.

Only the United States remains stupefied by environmental screed. Billions of barrels of oil and natural gas remain untouched in ANWR and off the coasts of California, Washington, Oregon, Florida ant the Carolinas.

Cuba, China and Venezuela are about to start producing oil miles off the U.S. coast.

America is about to be treated to a lesson in economics.