Roskam, Kirk Urge Census Bureau To Reconsider Using ACORN Sister Organization To Recruit Census Workers
Illinois Congressmen Peter Roskam and Mark Kirk today urged the U.S. Census Bureau to end its relationshipwith the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a sister group to theAssociation of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) -- a relationship intended to recruit SEIU workers for the 2010 census. Also joining Congressmen Kirk and Roskam was Congressman Patrick McHenry (N.C.-10).
The U.S. Census Bureau delegated work tooutside groups for the federal 2010 census. Following the release of under cover videos showing ACORN workers helping a fake pimp and prostituteillegally secure housing, the Census Bureau terminated its partnership with ACORN. The House and Senate voted to block federal funding for ACORN andACORN-related affiliates, including SEIU. While the Census Bureauterminated its partnership with ACORN, it left its close connection with SEIUintact.
"ACORN and the SEIU have a long web of connections in Chicago and around the country, and there's simply no place for a group so closely connected to ACORN to be part of something of suchnational importance as the U.S. Census," Congressman Roskam said. "In this time where this Congressional Majority is running record deficits, ACORN should have no place cashing checks from the American taxpayer. We were promised a more open and honest government--that means keeping ACORN from the federal trough."
"Given SEIU's co-location with ACORN in Chicago and SEIU's intimate financial relationship with ACORN, we should take action to protect the public from the corruption of the 2010 census,"Congressman Kirk said. "To defend the integrity of the process, the Census Bureau should end its close relationship with ACORN's close sister organization, the SEIU."
"With the decision to end itsaffiliation with ACORN, the Bureau has shown its desire for a census of thehighest integrity," Congressman McHenry said. "This is an opportunity to follow through on that commitment."
Official filings show that SEIU, referenced in the U.S. Attorney's indictment of Governor Rod Blagojevich, contributed more than $4 million to ACORN and its affiliates since 2006. According to recent Department of Labor filings, the SEIU employs ACORN Founder and ACORN International Chief Organizer Wade Rathke. Mr. Rathke was recently exposed for running a coverup of an embezzlement scheme run by his brother.
In Chicago, SEIU Local 880 and SEIU Local 1 contributed more than $230,000 to ACORN groups in Illinois and Texas since 2006 -- the most recent to "support election efforts."
SEIU Local 880, which until recently boasted it was founded by ACORN, used an ACORN e-mail address on its Web siteand tax filings, was co-located with an ACORN "tax center" and employed the former president of ACORN Illinois, according to official records. Recently, the IRS terminated is relationship with ACORN tax preparation offices.
In a 2006 end-of-year report issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, SEIU Local 880 recounted working with ACORN to reelect Governor Blagojevich and referred toACORN as its "sister organization." A new report issued by the Committee in July reports SEIU and SEIU Local 880 are official members of the "ACORN Council," according to whistleblower documents acquired by the Committee.
Earlier this year, SEIU Local 880 became "SEIU Health Care Illinois and Indiana", located on the floor below ACORN Housing's national headquarters and rents its own space from an ACORN frontgroup called the "Chicago Organizing and Support Center" (COSC).
Official documents show COSC registered at two addresses -- one in Chicago (at the same address as SEIU Local 880/ACORN) and one in New Orleans (at the same address as ACORN New Orleans). The Illinois Secretary of State's Web site shows COSC's incorporation status was revoked on September 11, 2009 -- one day after the ACORN videos surfaced. The Louisiana Secretary of State shows the group's status active but not in good standing for failure to file its annual report. The House Committeeon Oversight's July report also named COSC as a member of the "ACORN Council."