Thursday, September 10, 2009

ACORN Officials Told 'Pimp,' 'Prostitute' How to Lie to IRS

"Officials with the controversial community organizing group ACORN were secretly videotaped offering to assist two individuals posing as a pimp and a prostitute, encouraging them to lie to the Internal Revenue Service and providing guidance on how to claim underage girls from South America as dependents.

The videotape was made public Thursday on, a political blog launched by Andrew Breitbart as a companion site to his blog.

In the videotape, made on July 24, James O'Keefe, a 25-year-old independent filmmaker, posed as a pimp with a 20-year-old woman named "Kenya" who posed as a prostitute while visiting ACORN's office in Baltimore. The couple told ACORN staffers they wanted to secure housing where the woman could continue to maintain a prostitution business.

ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - bills itself as the nation's largest community of low- and moderate-income families "working together for social justice and stronger communities," according to its Web site. The organization has been accused by Republicans and conservative activists with fraud in voter registration drives around the country and has been under fire since last year for its support of President Obama and for its planned participation in next year's census.

A spokesman for ACORN, Scott Levenson, when asked to comment on the videotape, said: "The portrayal is false and defamatory and an attempt at gotcha journalism. This film crew tried to pull this sham at other offices and failed. ACORN wants to see the full video before commenting further."

On the videotape, "Kenya" can be seen telling an ACORN staffer that she earns roughly $8,000 a month. The ACORN employee then suggests to "Kenya" that ACORN could submit a tax return for 2008 showing that she made $9,600 for the entire year - instead of $96,000 - and that ACORN would charge "Kenya" $50 instead of the usual $150 fee for preparing her taxes.

ACORN offers tax preparation and benefits application services free of charge during tax season; it charges nominal fees during non-tax season.

The ACORN staffer can also be seen suggesting that the prostitute list her occupation as a freelance "performing artist."

"It's not dancing, trust me," the "pimp" says.

"But dancing is considered an art," the ACORN staffer replies. "[Exotic dancers] usually go under performing artists, or yeah, they usually go under performing arts, which will be what you are - a performing artist."

The "pimp" later says that he and "Kenya" plan to bring up to 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador to work as prostitutes. Although an ACORN staffer points out their plans are illegal, she also suggests that the girls can be claimed as dependents.

"What if they are going to be making money because they are performing tricks too?" the pimp says.

"If they making money and they are underage, then you shouldn't be letting anybody know anyway," the ACORN staffer says, and laughs. "It's illegal. So I am not hearing this, I am not hearing this. You talk too much. Don't give up no information you're not asked."

The "pimp" then asks ACORN staffers to "promise" not to discriminate against his sex worker because of "who she is and what she does," according to the audiotape.

"If we don't have the information, then how are we going to discriminate?" the ACORN staffer replies. "You see what I am saying?"

If the girls are under age 16, the ACORN staffer says on the tape, then they are not legally allowed to work in the state, regardless of what they do.

"So it's like they don't even exist?" "Kenya" asks.

"Exactly," the ACORN staffer replies. "It's like they don't even exist.""

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