Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hypocrisy, thy name is ACORN

Remember the post 'New Ohio Voter Registration Rules...file this under 'Timing is Everything' covering's (the pro-minimum wage advocacy group) 'problems' with Ohio Election laws?

If you like that one, you're going to love this. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Politics Staff Weblog has an entry by Ted Wendling, Do as I say, not as I do, written on June 13, 2006 (HT: Hits and Misses on Fox's 10/7/2006 Journal Editorial Report;Update: video link) (emphasis added):
Sometimes, political hypocrisy can take your breath away.

This Saturday, the voter-registration group ACORN and America Votes Ohio will hold a rally at Laborers' Local 310 in Cleveland to support raising Ohio's minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has been warring with Secretary of State Ken Blackwell over voter-registration regulations and Ohio's non-compliance with the federal "motor voter" law, also has led ballot initiative campaigns to raise the minimum wage in Florida, Arizona, Michigan and other states.

Eleven years ago, however, ACORN took a decidedly different position on the minimum wage. In 1995, the political-advocacy organization went to court in California to argue that imposing a minimum-wage increase on ACORN would be unconstitutional. It cited two reasons: that an increase would restrict ACORN's ability "to engage in political advocacy by forcing it to hire fewer workers" and that ACORN's employees, "if paid the minimum wage, would be less empathetic with its low- and moderate-income constituency and would therefore be less effective advocates."

It takes unusual chutzpah to make an argument like that second one, a point that wasn't lost on a trio of California appeals court judges. In a unanimous dismissal of ACORN's appeal of a lower court decision, they wrote: "Leaving aside the latter argument's absurdity (minimum wage workers are ipso facto low-income workers) as well as irony (an advocate for the poor seeking to justify starvation wages), we find ACORN to be laboring under a fundamental misconception of the constitutional law."

ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan initially denied that ACORN sought an exemption to California's minimum-wage law, blaming the charge on critics at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank that has criticized ACORN. He shifted gears after being read excerpts of the judges' opinion.

"ACORN does pay -- and always has paid -- the minimum wage," Whelan said, this time blaming the case on faulty arguments made by a former ACORN lawyer. "ACORN asked to withdraw those arguments and has always complied with minimum-wage laws and has worked all over the country to raise the minimum wage."


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