This morning, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk and fellow Republican Rep. Peter Roskam will hold a press conference in downtown Chicago that aims to directly tie SEIU Illinois (which sponsors this website) to the embattled Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (...
This morning, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk and fellow Republican Rep. Peter Roskam will hold a press conference in downtown Chicago that aims to directly tie SEIU Illinois (which sponsors this website) to the embattled Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). In particular, they're pushing the U.S. Census Bureau to sever ties with SEIU because of the affiliation. Here's an excerpt from Kirk and Roskam's press release:
One SEIU local union, the Illinois Homecare Workers and Home Childcare Providers, sprouted from ACORN's organizing efforts and pays rent to ACORN. SEIU national president Andy Stern serves on ACORN’s advisory council. According to his own Web site, ACORN Founder Wade Rathke is the “Founder and Chief Organizer” of SEIU Local 100.
In Illinois, SEIU Local 880 rents office space from the “Chicago Organizing and Support Center”, an ACORN affiliate, and both Local 880 and ACORN have offices at 209 W. Jackson Blvd in Chicago.
Just last week, CBS 2 Chicago investigated the relationship between SEIU and ACORN here in the Land of Lincoln. Reporter Mike Flannery noted that the group known as ACORN Illinois actually "collapsed in 2007" after local leaders Denise Dixon and Madeline Talbott "complained that ACORN's then-national leader, Wade Rathke, put his brother in charge of finances, was concealing key money moves and was, in short, a scandal waiting to explode." "We just felt things were not right at the top," Talbott told Flannery. She and Dixon went on to start the organization Action Now.
Before going after ACORN, Kirk should have thoroughly researched his own voting record as well. From Abdon Pallasch's Friday Sun-Times article:
Kirk himself voted in 2005 to approve a $140,000 earmark for ACORN’s New York office to fight teen delinquency, SEIU's political director Jerry Morrison said.
A Kirk spokesman said he would research that vote but that Kirk would lay out his case against SEIU and ACORN at Monday’s news conference.
Here's the bill Kirk voted for: H.R. 4818. Here's the November 20, 2004 roll call. And here is the earmark itself. (As an aside, there are a lot of other GOP congressmen who approved this spending measure, including Iowa Rep. Steve King, one of the most aggressive and misleading opponents of ACORN.)
Let’s take a look at the state Board of Elections Web site and see who’s gotten financial support from SEIU. Hmmm, the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee got several thousand dollars in 2006 and 2008. Senate Minority Leader CHRISTINE RADOGNO, R-Lemont, got $5,000 in 2008, and her predecessor, FRANK WATSON of Greenville, got contributions in 2006 and 2008.
The contributions weren’t limited to people in leadership. Sen. LARRY BOMKE, R-Springfield, and Rep. RAYMOND POE, R-Springfield, both have gotten donations from SEIU, as recently as this year for Poe. And everyone in the Springfield area knows what kind of radical, left-wing politicians Poe and Bomke are.
Furthermore, the most prominent Republican candidate in Kirk's soon-to-be-vacated 10th Congressional District, State Rep. Beth Coulson, received over $19,000 from SEIU during the 2008 cycle.
Smart thinking, guys.