The Corner

Patrick Gaspard, ACORN, and Obama

With the revelation that White House Director of Political Affairs, Patrick Gaspard, has close ties to Bertha Lewis and to ACORN, Matthew Vadum and Erick Erickson appear to be onto something significant. While the Gaspard matter needs further investigation before we form any hard conclusions, it certainly seems to confirm that President Obama’s ties to a whole series of ACORN-controlled organizations are neither minor nor by any means long-past. In fact, making use of what Erickson and Vadum have discovered about Gaspard, we can trace these links still further.

There’s been a good deal of attention to ACORN of late, and deservedly so. Yet for all the fuss, what is arguably the most important Obama-ACORN tie of all has gotten short shrift. During the 2008 election, Obama’s close links to the far-left New Party were revealed and explored (although not by the mainstream press). Yet many seem to have forgotten that the New Party, particularly in Chicago, was dominated by ACORN (and by an ACORN-controlled SEIU union local). During the campaign, I detailed Obama’s New Party ties in two pieces, “Something New Here,” and “Life of the New Party.” Important evidence of Obama’s pursuit of the New Party endorsement can also be found in the September-October 1995 issue of “New Ground,” newsletter of the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Obama’s New Party ties matter because they show that his links to ACORN went far beyond shared on-the-ground organizing, legal representation, training, or even funding (although all of those ties existed and were important). By running for office with the New Party, Obama was effectively indicating that he shared ACORN’s radical political goals.

So it’s of interest that in late 1995, just as Obama was seeking New Party endorsement in Chicago, Patrick Gaspard was working as a New Party organizer in New Jersey. (This was reported in “Jersey Man Hopes to Create Third Political Party,” NPR, “Morning Edition, ” September 28, 1995). Then, in the July 2, 2001 issue of “The Nation,” Gaspard and Bertha Lewis jointly published a reply to a June 4 Nation article by Doug Ireland which had been critical of the New York’s Working Families Party (a successor to the New Party, led by New Party co-founder Dan Cantor, and largely controlled by ACORN and the SEIU). In the course of their letter, Gaspard and Lewis describe their extensive joint involvement in Working Families Party activities. The letter is signed: “Bertha Lewis, ACORN, WFP; Patrick Gaspard, SEIU State Council, WFP.” This does seem to confirm and extend the new evidence of a close political tie between Patrick Gaspard and ACORN’s Bertha Lewis.

No doubt, some will dismiss the newly revealed connections between the Obama administration, Patrick Gaspard, Bertha Lewis, and ACORN as “guilt by association.” Yet it seems to me that the evidence points to something more significant than that. We are talking about a persistent and shared political-ideological alliance between President Obama and the complex of community, labor, and party organizations controlled by ACORN. (See especially “Life of the New Party” for more on New Party ideology.) Again, the Gaspard issue is new and needs further investigation and consideration. Yet preliminary indications are that the Gaspard-ACORN-Bertha Lewis-New Party-WFP-SEIU ties are significant, and tell us something disturbing about the political ideology and intentions of President Obama. In particular, the connection between Gaspard, Lewis, the New Party, and the Working Families Party ought to draw our attention back to what may ultimately be the most important Obama-ACORN tie of all, his time with Chicago’s New Party.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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