Patterico's Pontifications


ACORN Sting: Part 2, the Evidentiary Phase (Updated)

Filed under: Government,Law — DRJ @ 7:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As noted in this post, Patterico appeared on last night’s KFI broadcast guest-hosted by Andrew Breitbart. This was the same broadcast in which Breitbart introduced Derrick Roach, a California private investigator who reportedly discovered thousands of pages of ACORN documents trashed by the San Diego ACORN office after the California Attorney General announced he planned to investigate the ACORN videos.

This BigGovernment post summarizes the story and what Breitbart plans next:

“On October 1, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who once again aspires to be the state’s governor, announced that he was investigating not just ACORN in California, but also the truth tellers who exposed the alleged corruption and illegality.

Last night, I hosted a three-hour show on KFI 640 AM, the largest radio station in the country, and use the opportunity to announce the existence of 20,000 deeply sensitive and highly political documents discovered in the dumpster behind ACORN in San Diego on October 9, nine days after ACORN was announced to be under state investigation.

Some might call that “obstruction of justice.”

Breitbart said that the Hannah Giles-James O’Keefe videos are Part 1 of the ACORN scandal and that phase is now on hold. Part 2 is what he describes as the “evidentiary phase” which begins with allegations of the ACORN San Diego document dump. As the persons responsible for enforcing state and federal laws, Breitbart asks California Attorney General Jerry Brown and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder what they plan to do about this.

In law, the evidentiary phase of a lawsuit can be long and boring, but it can also be where a case is won or lost. Think of it as the foundation of a building. It takes time to plan, measure, prepare and pour a foundation and it doesn’t look like much after it’s done … but without a good foundation, the structure will not stand.


UPDATE: ACORN responds that they threw out junk documents (“old leaflets, newsletters, etc”) that are unrelated to the AG’s investigation and inadvertently included some documents with personal information.

29 Responses to “ACORN Sting: Part 2, the Evidentiary Phase (Updated)”

  1. Discovery. The dues-paying job of the junior associate. Guaranteed to cause narcolepsy within 50 paces. The magic bullet that induces settlement.

    Done them all and the mere sight of a list of interrogatories still makes me twitch.

    Captain Ned (28c191)

  2. Discovery, it’s not just a Land Rover model…

    Gazzer (f4dafa)

  3. I suspect in the course of time that ACORN will be disassembled and reconstituted into a new and improved version.

    Tammany Hall has had a long run, why should it change now?

    Ag80 (3d1543)

  4. AG80, that’s why ACORN is so valuable. It’s a clear argument for what the Democrat Party is.

    If (when) they give up on ACORN and start a new organization or organizations to do these crimes, democrats such as Newsweek and ABC will convince some that the democrats slayed a beast that they simply reclothed.

    I hope ACORN is alive long enough to lead to real reforms. Not holding my breath.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  5. ACORN has already morphed into COI (coy?) in official documentation. Community Organizations International or somesuch rot. All that needs to be done is to shut down all the ACORN outfits and open up all the coy outfits. They did it before, they’ll do it again. Slippery little suckers, those coy. Gotta figure out the perfect bait for them.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  6. I’ve updated the post with ACORN’s response.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  7. ACORN/COI is doubling down on their doubling down^9 on stoopid?

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  8. At a convention of Five-Star Chefs, I wouldn’t trust ACORN to secure a Betty Crocker Cook-Book.

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  9. “Everyone! Clean out your desks! They’re on to us!”

    “Uh oh. The shredder broke!”

    “Just pitch it. The garbage man comes tomorrow afternoon.”

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  10. Acorn — coi –like the hydra cut off one head and three more grow back

    drone (12b1d3)

  11. ACORN is not the first incarnation of this organization, and will not be the second-to-last incarnation, either.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  12. #11: Tammany Hall 6.3 beta?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  13. I dunno, red, but I do know ACORN has had multiple name-changes/face-lifts in my life-time (enough hyphenated words in that sentence?) and will continue that track in years to come.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  14. Are there documents from the dumpster whose existence provides evidence of malfeasance? Or is Bretbart’s “scandal” claim merely that it was a scandal that Acorn threw out private documents without shredding them first? I ask because if it’s just the latter — as one might infer from the lack of specificity in his story about any other kind of malfeasance — that’s not a very exciting scandal. Plenty of businesses have thrown out such information without shredding; it may be a sign of incompetence, but not one of corruption. (Not that I doubt Acorn’s corruption has been shown by other evidence, such as the pimp and ho videos.)

    DWPittelli (2de73b)

  15. I ask because if it’s just the latter — as one might infer from the lack of specificity in his story about any other kind of malfeasance — that’s not a very exciting scandal.

    Would Breitbart be asking the state and federal attorneys-general to investigate if it were just old leaflets and newsletters?

    aunursa (862c19)

  16. ACORN responds that they threw out junk documents (”old leaflets, newsletters, etc”) that are unrelated to the AG’s investigation and inadvertently included some documents with personal information.

    We’re missing the REAL scandal here… Why is ACORN contributing to global warming by trashing their old leaflets and newsletters instead of recycling them?

    Al Gore should be the lead investigator.

    aunursa (862c19)

  17. The ACORN controversy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, corruption by individuals has been uncovered and some have lost their jobs. Additionally, at least for now, much of their Federal funding and support has dried up. Conversely, it becomes obvious to many how easy it is to garner Federal money in the name of progress – to help the less fortunate. Whether rebranded or wholly new, such organizations will exist and even flourish given the power we’ve granted (through silence) to our Federal Government.

    In the free market realm, corrupt or poor performing charities generally don’t last long. Plenty of people are willing to give; and the overhead for such charities are comparably small. When fraud or dishonest behavior is found, change comes quickly. When the perceived value diminishes, funding drops.

    When the government levies taxes to support similar (what in the past had been) programs sustained by charities, the oversight is lost in the bureaucracy. Although individuals may take the fall for dishonest behavior, the overall process usually continues. Even when the process is fraught with high costs and poor performance, the program continues.

    We need to move away from the entitlement mentality. Some people need help some times. Charity is fine. Forcing the populous to fund it is not charity.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  18. I agree it is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is good and important to point out the dishonesty and perfidy of the Dems and their fellow travelers. It is good and important to point out this nasty intersection of politics and the waste of our tax dollars flowing to these hucksters. On the other hand, focusing on ACORN rather than the dirty little socialists who want to inflict their dirty little socialisms on us is even more important, and to that end, ACORN is a distraction, albeit it a corrupt and criminal one.

    DWP – Tossing out records, in and of itself, is no big deal, even if local “reporters” like to go dumpster diving at stores looking for their gotcha story. Throwing out records in advance of a legal investigation, is quite a different matter.

    JD (42a8c3)

  19. At this point, I think ALL ACORN personnel ought to be put into the back of police cruisers in handcuffs and held until cleared or their sentence is completed in full.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  20. It is the distraction that bothers me the most. Sure, I want those that committed crimes to be arrested, charged and hopefully found guilty and sentenced. But the real problem is the system. Nothing will stop this from happening again – in the name of charity. And the Republicans are far from sainthood. The Federal system is broken (not to mention broke). The system allows for poor processes; wasted money and other resources; corruption. ACORN is no more than a symptom of the problem; an outgrowth of a tainted process.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  21. If Jerry Brown “announces” an investigation but doesn’t do anything, like issue subpoenas, is it obstruction of justice to throw documents out?

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  22. Hopelessness to defeat endemic corruption is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I think Breitbart is savvy enough that he wouldn’t make an issue out of trivial documents. He also has whistle-blower info, in addition to the dumped documents.

    This whole issue is beneficial: eyes are on Dem corruption; folks question- is Obamacare going to work just as well; and some may rethink their position of gov. involvement in charity altogether – a great example of how gov. involvement doesn’t improve a damned thing.

    jodetoad (059c35)

  23. “Or is Bretbart’s “scandal” claim merely that it was a scandal that Acorn threw out private documents without shredding them first? I ask because if it’s just the latter — as one might infer from the lack of specificity in his story about any other kind of malfeasance — that’s not a very exciting scandal.”

    You haven’t been paying attention to! Breitbart always has the goods, and always gives out small details so that the corrupt left thinks he’s got virtually nothing. They cop to what they know he has (not shredding SSNs), and pretend that’s all there is to this, even lying ridiculously about it. In a week, or a month, or an hour, Andrew will give out a bit more information… we’ll know ACORN was knowingly lying, but they’ll have another chance to fess up, and instead will lie again.

    Rinse, repeat. I wouldn’t bet on Breitbart having nothing but unshredded SSNs. This song is in the 200th verse.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  24. Fox reports that the found documents are more than just trivial papers:,2933,576466,00.html

    Corwin (ea9428)

  25. #5, JH said, “Gotta figure out the perfect bait for them.” What? You servin’ up soft balls there John? Perfect bait?

    Hanna Giles got your bait, all packaged up and ready to go. You see those ACORNs swallow it hook, line, and sinker? Girls and boys, salivatin’ and wigglin’ around. Looked like a feedin’ frenzy.

    That one women, the “dancer/hooker” who shot her husband, she couldn’t keep still, looked like she was gettin’ wet.

    What more could a pack of crooks want? Hot Momma, teen hookers, piles of dirty cash, and a pimp with a past to groom for elected office. I’d say Hanna’s bait is pretty much irresistible to ACORN’s pack of bottom feeders.

    ropelight (3203bf)

  26. Corwin, as I read your linked story, I noticed that Citibank, which apparently helped bankroll ACORN for a while, has stopped and is ‘awaiting the results of the independent investigation’. Of course, Citibank knows that this independent investigation is being run by people cherry picked by ACORN to whitewash the situation.

    ACORN gets to call this investigation thorough and independent, but they have lied so flagrantly that anyone claiming to believe them is trying to help cover for ACORN. Citibank is apparently trying to do that.

    All these incredibly rich democrats have all these twisted connections. Rezko to Acorn to Citibank to Alan Greenspan to Andrea Mitchell to Newsweek to Levi Johnston. It’s not enough for a rich democrat to run a bank or a newspaper… they have to exploit what they have to the full corrupt advantage.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  27. Dustin, I agree; but would replace democrat with federal politician. With very few exceptions, I don’t have faith in any of them; including John Boehner (whom I have voted for as my rep and his office is just a few blocks from my home). The whole lot-of-them are in the tank; corrupted; should be blamed.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  28. It’s easy to say all politicians are corrupt. That’s what the democrats want you to think. They want you to glaze over your eyes and recall that bush had a deficit, Larry Craig had a sex scandal, etc etc. So when democrats do it, they aren’t worse than the GOP.

    but they are much, much worse.

    No need to trust politicians too much. If you simply have a limited government, their ability to screw you is much less. This is why liberals are inherently more corrupt. They have more to be corrupt with.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  29. Just remember Re the investigation of ACORN/Breitbart by CA AG Brown….
    “Moonbeam” has a little “recording” problem in his own house that he needs to finess away while he appears to be going after AB.
    This is starting to resemble a Keystone-Kops comedy.

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