On November 7, 2011, Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sent a letter to Brooklyn-based U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch echoing his concerns about a former ACORN group, “New York Communities for Change” and its alleged “fraud through its participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests.” Issa asked Lynch to investigate potential fraud by the progressive nonprofit group. Lynch, to date, has failed to take action.
Lynch has a history of failing to investigate progressive-leaning nonprofit groups.
In 2013, U.S. Attorney Lynch testified before the Moreland Commission — set up by Governor Andrew Cuomo to investigate corruption — detailing her successful prosecution of several corrupt New York public officials. Despite numerous allegations in the press about fraud relating to Representative Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y., and connected nonprofits, Meeks was never indicted even though at least one of these nonprofits was subpoenaed by Lynch’s office and Rep. Meeks was subject to a House Ethics investigation. Lynch has, however, successfully indicted Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm.
Since 2009, Congressman Issa led the congressional investigation into ACORN. Bertha Lewis, who rose to become ACORN’s President, had her office at 24 Nevins Street in Brooklyn, New York, which was also home to ACORN Housing Corporation, Mutual Housing Association of New York, and the Working Families Party — all affiliates of ACORN and all eventually defunded by the federal government after numerous federal Inspector General and congressional investigations. Today, New York Communities for Change is housed at 24 Nevins Street.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was roundly criticized for firing U.S. Attorneys who refused to investigate allegations of fraud by groups like ACORN — an issue that hastened his resignation. Now, it appears we’re honoring that legacy by promoting a lawyer who ignored clear evidence of misconduct that occurred under her watch. At least we know what we’re getting in America’s next top law enforcement official.
Dan Epstein is executive director of Cause of Action, a nonpartisan nonprofit government oversight group.