FID in The Providence Journal

by Stephen Beale on February 3, 2010

The Providence Journal news blog covered our criticism of the ACORN event. Here is the complete post:

Ex-ACORN official to speak at Brown, prompting criticism

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University’s invitation for Wade Rathke, co-founder of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, to speak at Brown next Tuesday has prompted criticism from a group whose mission includes the “restoration . . . of academic integrity.”

Stephen Beale, president of the nonprofit Foundation for Intellectual Diversity, a Brown alumni organization, on Tuesday described ACORN as “a disgraced and discredited organization” and said the selection of Rathke “raises eyebrows.”

“Once again, Brown is living up to its reputation as an isolated outpost of left-wing political activism, no matter how deplorable and scandalous,” Beale said.

ACORN has drawn fire from conservatives after a sting by conservative activists who caught ACORN employees in several cities on camera, seeming to give housing advice to a couple who claimed to be involved in prostitution.

Republicans also charged the year before that employees of ACORN falsified voter registrations in Florida.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, set off a firestorm of conservative criticism last fall as one of a handful of senators who opposed action to shut off federal housing funds to ACORN. At the time, he argued that allegations against a few employees do not justify a blanket sanction of the organization.

Rathke served as ACORN’s lead organizer from its founding in 1970 until he stepped down last June, according to Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions.

The former ACORN official will deliver a speech entitled, “Citizen Wealth: Winning the Campaign to Save Working Families,” as part of the center’s Brown Bag Series scheduled for noon next Tuesday at 67 George St.

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