Posts Tagged ‘woods fund’

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The Sordid History of ACORN and the Ties to the Financial Meltdown

October 7, 2008

Stanley Kurtz has a great article detailing the history of ACORN and its ties to the financial meltdown. Here is the Cliffs Notes version of his work

  • ACORN intimidated banks into making high-risk loans to low-credit customers using provisions of the 1977  Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Chicago ACORN was able to delay and halt the efforts of banks to merge or expand until they had agreed to lower their credit standards and to obtain “counseling” compensation.
  • Heidi Swarts, a strong supporter of ACORN and author of Organizing Urban America, notes that ACORN members think of themselves as “militants unafraid to confront the powers that be” and ACORN protesters break into private offices, show up at a banker’s home to intimidate his family, or pour protesters into bank lobbies to scare away customers, all in an effort to force a lowering of credit standards for poor and minority customers.
  • The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to increase lending in poor and minority neighborhoods, but its exact requirements were vague and open to interpretation. Bank mergers or expansion plans were rarely held up under CRA until the late 1980s, when ACORN perfected its technique of filing CRA complaintsand intimidated representatives of banks.
  • A provision of the 1989 savings and loan bailout pushed by Democratic legislators, like Joseph P. Kennedy, required lenders to compile public records of mortgage applicants by race, gender, and income.  The statistics produced by these studies were presented in highly misleading ways and groups like ACORN were able to use them to embarrass banks into lowering credit standards.
  • IN 1991, House Democrat Henry Gonzales had announced that Fannie and Freddie had agreed to commit $3.5 billion to low-income housing in 1992 and 1993, in addition to a just-announced $10 billion “affordable housing loan program” by Fannie Mae.
  • A mere month later, ACORN Housing Corporation president, George Butts made news by complaining to a House Banking subcommittee that ACORN’s efforts to pressure banks using CRA were still being hamstrung by Fannie and Freddie. Butts also demanded still more data on the race, gender, and income of loan applicants. Many news reports over the ensuing months point to ACORN as the key source of pressure on congress for a further reduction of credit standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a result of this pressure, ACORN was eventually permitted to redraft many of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s loan guideline.
  • In the Clinton administration, Clinton Housing Secretary Henry Cisnersos pledged to meet monthly with ACORN representatives.
  • At this point, both ACORN and the Clinton administration were working together to impose large numerical targets or “set asides” (really a sort of poor and minority loan quota system) on Fannie and Freddie. ACORN called for at least half of Fannie and Freddie loans to go to low-income customers. At first the Clinton administration offered a set-aside of 30 percent.
  • In early 1994, the Clinton administration floated plans for committing $1 trillion in loans to low- and moderate-income home-buyers, which would amount to about half of Fannie Mae’s business by the end of the decade.
  • In June of 1995, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Secretary Cisneros announced the administration’s comprehensive new strategy for raising home-ownership in America to an all-time high. Representatives from ACORN were guests of honor at the ceremony. In his remarks, Clinton emphasized that: “Out homeownership strategy will not cost the taxpayers one extra cent. It will not require legislation.” Clinton meant that informal partnerships between Fannie and Freddie and groups like ACORN would make mortgages available to customers “who have historically been excluded from homeownership.”
  • At both the local and national levels, then, ACORN served as the critical catalyst, levering pressure created by the Community Reinvestment Act and pull with Democratic politicians to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a pattern of high-risk loans.

In addition to Stanley Kurtz’s work, Michelle Malkin has more on this on her site.

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Palin: Obama ‘palling around’ with Terrorists (Ayers)

October 4, 2008

The media has not pushed Obama on his association with Bill Ayers, always seeming satisfied with his “I don’t support what he did” and “I know a lot of people” not to mention “He was forty and I was eight years old at the time” type of answers. Well, The One’s association with Ayers, dating back to the Woods Fund (both served on board together) and Obama being the first chairman of the Chicago Annenburg Challenge (Ayers founded the group), not to mention the “Meet the Candidate” Ayers had at his home to introduce Obama in the mid-90’s needs to be put before the American people. It looks as though Palin will lead the charge.

Of course, the NY Times is doing its part: “A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called ‘somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.'”

“This is not a man who sees America as you see America and I see America.” – Palin.

– AP

Breitbart:

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists” because of his association with a former 1960s radical, stepping up the campaign’s effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters.

Palin’s reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the tumultuous Vietnam War era four decades ago. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, served on a charity board with Ayers several years ago and has denounced his radical views and activities.

The Republican campaign, falling behind Obama in polls, plans to make attacks on Obama’s character a centerpiece of presidential candidate John McCain’s message with a month remaining before Election Day.

Palin told a group of donors at a private airport, “Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.” She also said, “This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America.”

Palin, Alaska’s governor, said that donors on a greeting line had encouraged her and McCain to get tougher on Obama. She said an aide then advised her, “Sarah, the gloves are off, the heels are on, go get to them.”

The escalated effort to attack Obama’s character dovetails with TV ads by outside groups questioning Obama’s ties to Ayers, convicted former Obama fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He and Obama live in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and served together on the board of the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based charity that develops community groups to help the poor. Obama left the board in December 2002.

Obama was the first chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school-reform group of which Ayers was a founder. Ayers also held a meet-the-candidate event at his home for Obama when Obama first ran for office in the mid-1990s.

Palin cited a New York Times story published Saturday that detailed Obama’s relationship with Ayers.