The story in a nutshell:
- Bertha Lewis is the CEO of ACORN.
- In a review of Lewis's contacts list, which was leaked to RedState, Bertha Lewis has the office, cell phone, home number, and private personal email address of Patrick Gaspard.
- Patrick Gaspard holds Karl Rove's position in the White House and was Obama's Political Director during the campaign.
- In addition to Patrick, Bertha has Patrick's brother Michael in her rolodex. She lists Michael as working at the Advance Group.
- The Advance Group is ACORN's lobbying organization.
- In other words, besides having Obama's political director's contact info, the political director's brother works for ACORN via its lobbying shop.
On Sunday, Barack Obama played ignorant on the situation with ACORN. Obama told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, "Frankly, it’s not really something I’ve followed closely. I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money." Never mind that Barack Obama used to work for ACORN.Based on information obtained by RedState, we think Barack Obama may live to regret those words. With everybody focused on ACORN these days, what if we could dig around and see who in the Obama administration shows up in Bertha Lewis's rolodex? Bertha Lewis is the CEO of ACORN.Bertha Lewis is considered one of the 100 most influential women in New York according to Crain's New York Business. She is an activist, organizer, and radical of the far left. When she calls, union bosses and others pick up the phone.It's not that hard to look into her contacts. RedState has seen a list of Bertha Lewis's contacts. We did not seek it out. It just showed up one day unsolicited. We did not ask for it. We did not expect to get it. But now that we have it, we should see who is in there. The contacts came from a credible source who is no fan of ACORN. An ACORN employee gave it to him. Having examined the file for a week and after consulting with others, we believe the list is legitimate. It fits a recent pattern of leaks out of ACORN as the rats scramble from the sinking ship.The list contains the private email addresses and cell phones of scores of powerful and influential people from Al Sharpton to Charlie Rangel. It contains several people inside the Barack Obama administration including one of the closest ties to Barack Obama other than his wife.One word about the list of contacts — some of the contacts are outdated. Like with most people's contact lists, some of the people have not had their contact information updated in a while. I know the file has at least been updated because it also contains Michael Steele and lists him as Chairman of the GOP — an act that did not take place until this year. To be fair though, it is just his generic email address. That is not the case with some others. Likewise, other names on the list are very current and some have portions of their information outdated and other data current.
The Advance Group
To get a sense of the ties to the White House, one must first understand what the Advance Group is. The organization appears over and over again in the list of contacts.Were you to look at its website you'd see nothing of interest. It is a rather innocuous "under construction" page. But behind that page is a host of connections.A review of the Advance Group's lobbyist filings with the State of New York shows it represents several organizations that fight for social justice, minority rights, etc. It also represents the New York Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, or ACORN. And not just any branch of ACORN, but the main branch. Though its name is New York ACORN, it's registered address is New Orleans, LA. While ACORN keeps its organization somewhat nebulous, and also for profit so it does not have to reveal details about its organization, New York ACORN with a registered address in Louisiana is, for all intents and purposes, ACORN.It's registered lobbyist with the Advance Group is Scott Levenson. Mr. Levenson is also named ACORN's national spokesman. He made headlines recently when Glenn Beck threw Mr. Levenson off his show during a segment on ACORN.
Patrick Gaspard was the Executive Vice President for the SEIU until Barack Obama asked Gaspard to become his Presidential Campaign's National Political Director. Once in the White House, Gaspard became Barack Obama's Director of the Office of Political Affairs. He is Barack Obama's Karl Rove, but unlike Rove, eschews the spotlight, which is why so many compare David Axelrod to Rove.Here is a good profile of Patrick Gaspard.
Mr. Gaspard’s official responsibility is to provide the president with an accurate assessment of the political dynamics affecting the work of his administration, and to remain in close contact with power brokers around the country to help push the president’s agenda.In practice, he’s something of an all-purpose fixer, if not the carte blanche policy architect that Mr. Rove was for George W. Bush, or the number-one politics guru that David Axelrod is for Mr. Obama.And while he looks after the president’s interests in Washington, he also uses his position as a lever to manage politically messy situations closer to home.
Gaspard is in the news this week as the man who delivered the horse head to New York Governor David Paterson — telling Paterson not to run for re-election. Patrick Gaspard intentionally keeps a low profile, preferring to work behind the scenes. It makes him effective.
Patrick Gaspard's brother Michael Gaspard works for The Advance Group. Michael apparently keeps a lower profile than his brother. He does not appear on lobbyist disclosures for The Advance Group in the State of New York. Nonetheless, he works there. Ms. Lewis's contacts list confirms Michael Gaspard's employment there.
Tying Bertha Lewis to the Gaspard Brothers
The level of detail Bertha Lewis has for contacting Patrick Gaspard suggests a closeness between the two.Ms. Lewis has Patrick Gaspard's office number, home number, and cell phone number. Patrick's information still contains the 212 area code, which suggests it has not been updated since he moved to Washington, D.C. However, only 131 of the 1,894 contacts, or 7% of the total, list home phone numbers, let alone home, office, and cell phone numbers. For perspective, only 31 of the 1,849 contacts have home, office, cell phone, and business email addresses listed. Patrick Gaspard makes that list.Gaspard's contact information also contains his private personal email address making him among the most detailed contacts on the list. Only Wade Rathke, the founder of ACORN, and a handful of others have as much personal information in Lewis's contacts list as Patrick Gaspard.Bertha Lewis also has Michael Gaspard's office number and cell phone. In addition, as noted above, Michael Gaspard works for ACORN's registered lobbying organization and with ACORN's national spokesman.
Other Administration Connections
A cursory view of Ms. Lewis's contacts lists shows a couple of other obvious administration contacts too.It will come as no surprise that Ms. Lewis keeps up with Shaun Donovan. Mr. Donovan is now the Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. Before that, Mr. Donovan was the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). In New York City, he worked on affordable housing initiatives right up ACORN's alley. His contact information has not been updated since he left the HPD.Then there is Karine Jean-Pierre. She originally worked for John Edwards. In fact, Ms. Lewis's contacts list still has her listed with John Edwards' campaign, but also has Ms. Jean-Pierre's personal and presumably still working personal email address, etc. Ms. Jean-Pierre left there to work for Congressman Anthony Weiner, then became Barack Obama's regional political director.. She is now the White House liaison for the Department of Labor. That's a handy contact.The web of connections from Ms. Lewis's contacts list goes straight into the White House and out the other door into the Departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development, circling back to ACORN's lobbying operation.With the White House trying to distance itself from ACORN, Ms. Lewis's contacts there might make it more difficult. She has clear ties to Patrick and Michael Gaspard, the President's fixer and the man who gets ACORN projects and money.The President can say "I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money," but a review of Ms. Lewis's contacts list suggests that is not the case.