You can read the first part of our examination of ACORN contacts leaked to RedState by clicking here.
Above is a word cloud of the associations in the Bertha Lewis contacts list we received. Some are legitimate business dealings. Forest City Ratner, for example, is both bailing out ACORN and relying on its support for its construction projects. But others are more intriguing.
The larger the name, the greater the frequency of the name appearing in the contacts list. For many years it has been speculated that SEIU and ACORN share a common foundation. This seems to suggest as much. In fact, in at least one appearance on the contacts list, an SEIU official has an ACORN email address.
But were this picture a tree, the trunk would be the Working Families Party. Roger Stone has suggested the Working Families Party is ACORN. Bertha Lewis’s contacts list suggests as much.
Lewis is both the head of ACORN and also the Co-Chair of the Working Families Party. As you can imagine, ACORN would have us believe that those are separate roles. However, information suggests otherwise and we also know that ACORN has a habit of creating political parties for its own ends.
To understand how the Working Families Party is part of ACORN, we need to understand the concept of “fusionism.”
I’ve written about this concept before and it is essential to ACORN’s political strategy.
As I noted back in 2008, ACORN played a vital role in the Chicago area New Party — the far left political party that endorsed Barack Obama.
From my 2008 article on Obama’s New Party ties:
Fusion is a pretty simple concept. A candidate could run as both a Democrat and a [Working Families Party] member to signal the candidate was, in fact, a left-leaning candidate, or at least not a center-left DLC type candidate. If the candidate, let’s call him Barack Obama, received only 500 votes in the Democratic Party against another candidate who received 1000 votes, Obama would clearly not be the nominee. But, if Obama also received 600 votes from the [Working Families Party], Obama’s [Working Families Party] votes and Democratic votes would be fused. He would be the Democratic nominee with 1100 votes.
The fusion idea set off a number of third parties, but the New Party was probably the most successful. A March 22, 1998 In These Times article by John Nichols showed just how successful. “[The Wall Street] Journal’s editorialists fretted last fall about how the New Party was responsible for a labor movement that was drifting leftward …. As [openly declared socialist] Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) puts it, ‘If the Wall Street Journal editorial page goes after you, you can pretty well bet you’re doing the right thing.’”
ACORN knows all about Fusion because it worked with the New Party in Chicago as if the New Party were ACORN’s political party.
In These Times reported on February 17, 1997, that “the [New] [P]arty, with 80 members in the [17th] ward, many of whom are also active in the Service Employees International Union and the advocacy group ACORN, has begun to build a parallel precinct organization.”
With the experiences it garnered in Chicago, ACORN knows how to deploy fusion in elections.
That brings us to the Working Families Party (“WFP”) in New York.
In this “fusion” system, candidates appear on the ballot lines of all the parties that endorse them. The WFP, thus, leverages power by selectively awarding its line to candidates who support its agenda. So, for example, Hillary Clinton in 2000 received 102,000 votes for U.S. Senate on the WFP line, meaning 102,000 people sent her a message that their support was contingent on her supporting the WFP’s agenda. According to WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor, this message gets louder down the ballot. “We brand our endorsed candidates right on the ballot so that voters who might not know the candidate still know how to vote on the important issues,” he says.
According to Elizabeth Benjamin in the New York Daily News,
Even the Democrats – who have become the WFP’s closest allies since the party helped them win a slim majority in the state Senate – are looking to distance themselves. They’ve got plans to build their own field organization.
That would enable Dems to rely less onthe WFP’s controversial for-profit arm, Data & Field Services, which has drawn scrutiny from the city Campaign Finance Board.
This is important because, following ACORN’s pattern of practice, the WFP set up Data & Field Services to skirt around election laws as a for-profit entity. Unfortunately for them, the New York Campaign Finance Board ruled Data & Field Services is part and parcel WFP. That means it has to comply with campaign finance rules.
If it were shown that ACORN is joined at the hip to WFP in the same way Data & Field Services is, then ACORN might also have to comply and disclose — something it does not have to do now.
As it stands now, with the close association between the two, a candidate can get on both the Democratic ballot in New York and the WFP ballot and signal that they are the ACORN approved candidate. With ACORN’s growing negative reputation, it is only a matter of time before it spills over to the Working Families Party.