ACORN 8

How We Started

The ACORN 8 is a group of ACORN insiders, e.g., members, and leaders at the state and national level — who asked hard questions about an ACORN embezzlement and cover-up that occurred eight years ago within the organization. The founder’s brother Dale Rathke embezzled over $1 million from ACORN, but he was allowed to remain employed at ACORN. The ACORN embezzlement was carried as a loan, and the cover-up was sold to the President and senior staff as something that needed to be handled internally – so that Republicans couldn’t use the information against ACORN.

Our group, now known as the ACORN 8, asked to see the books. This legal request, well within the rights of board members, was summarily refused. We attempted to resolve the problem. Marcel Reid and Karen Inman, having been elected by the national board and given the right to enlist help to straighten out ACORN, hired a firm to investigate the financial operations of Citizen’s Consulting Inc. (CCI), the financial management firm controlled by ACORN.

At that point the staff understood that we weren’t going to be a rubber stamp for ACORN corruption. And we filed a temporary restraining order to stop destruction of financial records, and to get an accounting from Wade Rathke and the accounting firm. That’s when senior staff organized members to get us to stop the investigation and to withdraw the lawsuit. They convinced the majority of the national board to withdraw the temporary restraining order. However, they were not successful in silencing our advocacy or the ACORN 8.

The dissenting eight board members, plus leaders from across the country, obtained a writ of mandamus, a court order to the organization compelling it to properly discharge its duties. But with its large budget and considerable influence, ACORN was able to delay and postpone our efforts. Acting as ACORN whistleblowers, the ACORN 8 does not have the financial resources to match ACORN, but we do have our activism and voices that will not be silenced.