Monday, November 16, 2009

The Constitutional Right To Commit Fraud

ACORN's going to court to sue the federal government for quashing its constitutional right to commit fraud on the American people and facilitate crime and illegal immigration on the taxpayers' dime. How dare that dirty old Congress take their funding away? Why, that's unconstitutional, isn't it? Ex post facto, or bill of attainder, or some such?

There's the usual legalese in the moving papers, but it comes down to ACORN and its possibly terrorist-funded legal team (The Center for Constitutional Rights) claiming that ACORN has a right to the taxpayers' money. It's a right so fundamental, that the Constitution forbids Congress to take it away (the right, not the money). They never actually use the words "right to defraud," but it doesn't take an investigative genius to figure that out from the context. ACORN is claiming that the cutoff of funds (it's actually a non-renewal) effective December 18 violates the Constitution's prohibition on bills of attainder, along with ACORN's free speech and due process rights.

Wow! That's a lot! ACORN has misread history and turned it into constitutional law. Historically, funding for thousands of useless and perhaps even criminal organizations has a tendency to be self-perpetuating because Congress doesn't take the time to look at the money being spent each year, and renews largely out of force of habit. ACORN got caught very publicly committing criminal activity and massive fraudulent transactions, and a preliminary search of their financial records showed a huge coverup of embezzled funds taken by one of its executives and original organizers. It was difficult for even a Congress as stupid as the current one to ignore that kind of national publicity. So, reluctantly, they acted.

But ACORN alleges that it is the victim, not the wrongdoer. So the question becomes, is it "punishment" for ACORN to be denied the future public funds? That is the only way the legal concepts of bills or attainder or ex post facto could be applied. You can't "take" that which has not yet been "given," the funds after December 18 aren't being "taken," and there is no constitutional provision requiring Congress to continue funding any group, good, bad or indifferent.

As for precedent, legal scholar Hans A. von Spakovsky "The bill of attainder clause has never been read to prevent Congress from defunding an organization or a corporation whose employees engage in criminal conduct, and it has rarely been invoked by the modern Supreme Court."

ACORN has very little in the way of sound legal or constitutional arguments, so they use political arguments which have no place in a court of law. The cutoff happened not because hidden-camera videos showed Americans the corruption-plagued group's predilection for crime but because a vast right-wing conspiracy hoodwinked lawmakers. The Complaint states that the legislation "was passed in large part due to a public relations campaign orchestrated by political forces that have persistently attacked and defamed the Plaintiff ACORN, its members, affiliates and allies (other Plaintiffs herein)." Yet no word on why it has a constitutional right to the funds in the first place.

The Complaint continues: "[The tormentors] are motivated by their hostility toward the Plaintiffs' tireless commitment to registering voters, particularly those poor and working Americans who have been consistently disenfranchised and excluded from the American political system." And still, no word on why ACORN has a constitutional right to the funds in the first place. In the law, we call these "naked allegations" with no legal import, designed to get the court to act on emotion rather than the law. Great story, get out the violins, but where's the law?

Leftists and crooks have come out of the woodwork to defend ACORN and twist the facts into unrecognition, but still no constitutional justification for continued funding. It doesn't matter if the organization was created by Mother Teresa, it has no constitutional right to Congressional funding.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a Marxist organization which has actively involved itself in trying to set up legal roadblocks to preventing Islamo- terrorist activities within the U.S., and is delighted to assist any organization like ACORN which seeks to destroy the U.S. system of government by getting it to spend itself into oblivion. This organization has a disgustingly high success rate. Since its founding by leftist labor leaders and admirers of Fidel Castro in the 60s, it has used its self-described legal tactic of "innovative impact litigation" to attack government anti-communist policy, the war on Islamofascism, and American businesses. It was a key player in getting the Supreme Court to grant foreign terrorist detainees access to the civilian legal system (say "thank you," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed).

Major contributors to CCR's legal coffers include CAIR, The Safa Trust Inc. and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, all linked to terrorist activities. Despite its record of harboring and employing board members who have been arrested, convicted, deported or otherwise tied to terrorism, the Wahhabist CAIR gave CCR President Michael Ratner its Civil Rights Award in 2005.

Yet despite all its legal acumen and dubious successes, CCR has yet to state a single constitutional ground on which ACORN can hang its legal hat. Mean old right-wingers is not a ground for continuing to grant taxpayers' money to criminal organizations. And one final scary thought, the major single contributor to the bank accounts of both ACORN and CCR is one George Soros.

14 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

The problem for ACORN is that organizations/contractors don't have a right to receive federal money or contracts. So this can't be considered punishment. Though I expect ACORN has looked long and far for a district court judge who probably will rule in their favor . . . at least until the Second Circuit overturns them.

A real example of a recent bill of attainder was the attempt to tax the AIG bonuses at 90%.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Exactly right. ACORN wants to get funds they have no right to under any legal or constitutional theory, before, during or after their legal problems. No right, period.

The AIG bonuses are based on fundamental constitutional rights, including private property and the right to contract. Whether they earned them or deserved them is a political/moral argument, not a legal one. The Obama administration's action was a clear attempt to skirt the Constitution and void a legally-binding contract.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--I think Andrew's got it right. They'll keep searching for a federal judge crazy enough to entertain such a ridiculous lawsuit, and then it's political, political, political.

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: There's always a Clinton or Carter leftover out there somewhere to waste the taxpayers' money giving a forum to people who steal the taxpayers' money.

patti said...

holy smokes. they'll search for the judge or the sympathetic judge will search them out (illegal?! if so, we all know there are slimy ways around such things).

LawHawkSF said...

Patti: We lawyers even have an expression for it "judge shopping." It worked very well recently for the anti-Prop 8 forces which finally found a federal judge willing to entertain a trial on gay marriage in the face of all logic and precedent, as well as the Constitution.

StanH said...

You’re mean Lawhawk! Those are poor, poor, pathetic, underrepresented, people that society has forgotten. What do you expect, …for them to work? Oprah comes on at 4:00, and there’s Jerry Springer, Montel Williams, and a body needs it’s rest. When you’ve worked so hard on your victim status, do you expect them to just to give that up? For shame Lawhawk, you’re mean : ( !!!!

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: Thank you. It was a compliment, wasn't it?

Writer X said...

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment but I wouldn't mind seeing ACORN on trial. Would there be any benefits to putting these crooks in more spotlight?

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: You'll never see a criminal prosecution of ACORN coming from a Holder Justice Department. But this poisonous octopus has tentacles in every state, and there are no doubt state and local prosecutors who will take the bastards to court.

The best shot so far has been ACORN's threats to sue the people who exposed them. Andrew Breitbart, for one, is ready, willing and able to take them on in court. The civil discovery process could end up being the rope they hang themselves with.

BevfromNYC said...

I want to sue Congress for breach of promise...the pain and suffering alone is astronomical...

StanH said...

If I could be king for a day, I would be both, the most hated, and adored man in history. I’d cut SOBs off the government teat so fast their heads would spin. You guys cover points so well ( a lawyers trait) sometimes my comment could be a simple, “yeah!” So sometimes I option for snark, to help point out the absurdity that is our Barry. A compliment indeed, my friend.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: I thunk so. LOL

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: The clubhouse song for the Democrats is an old vaudeville number: "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life?" I think it's their legal defense to breach of promise. LOL

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