Scandals Continue for Obama Allies

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Yosi Sergant and Obama

Scandals Continue for Obama Allies

First, it was the Obamaphilic gang of community organizers at ACORN generating controversy. Now, it’s the lapdogs at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). And once again, an Andrew Breitbart Web site blew the cover off. At BigHollywood.com, Patrick Courrielche, an artist and NEA grant recipient, released a full transcript of an August conference call hosted by "the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and the Corporation for National and Community Service" during which strategy was discussed with a "handpicked arts group" that had worked with Obama’s campaign, including the artist who created the ubiquitous "Hope" poster.

So what, you say? Well, Courrielche reports, "Later in the call, ‘specific asks’ were delivered by Yosi Sergant, then Communications Director of the National Endowment for the Arts," requesting that the art group "create art on several hotly debated political issues, including health care." They were also asked to join "United We Serve," a public-service project led by Michelle Obama. Buffy Wicks, who oversees Obama’s national service initiative at "Serve.gov" (which directs activists to ACORN) at the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, told participants in the call, "[W]e’re going to need your help." Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund writes, "Within two days of the phone call, 21 arts organizations endorsed President Obama’s health-care reform plan."

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Sergant

To summarize, a taxpayer-funded organization (NEA) was "asking" taxpayer-funded artists to help the Obama administration enact a government takeover of our nation’s health care system. Courrielche notes, "This practice has never been the historical role of the NEA. The NEA’s role is to support excellence in the arts, to increase access to the arts, and to be a leader in arts education. Using the arts to address contentiously debated issues is political subversion. And the fact that the White House played a role in encouraging the arts to address contentious issues should also be considered a government overreach." Indeed, to Barack Obama, every government bureaucracy is a potential campaign arm. The community organizer has now morphed into a government organizer.

After being caught red-handed, the NEA first "reassigned" Sergant, though when that didn’t work, he resigned on Thursday. The White House also pushed out new guidelines to ensure such politicization doesn’t happen again. Try not to spew coffee on your keyboard.

From the Left: ACORN Sues

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has filed suit in Maryland against James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, the young conservative activists who posed as a pimp and a prostitute to video tape, in secret, ACORN employees giving illegal tax and loan advice for the creation of a child-prostitution ring using illegal immigrants. Also named in the suit is Andrew Breitbart, whose Web site posted the videos. ACORN alleges illegal wiretapping. However, ACORN claims that one office turned away O’Keefe and Giles and two offices called the police, though one of the latter waited until after advising them. O’Keefe and Giles deny that they were ever turned away. Regardless, assuming that five out of seven offices offered to help two supposed sex-traffickers set up shop and evade taxes, the episode doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture of ACORN. Furthermore, the nuthouse might have committed a grave tactical error since their lawsuit now opens their organization to further discovery.

Meanwhile, the IRS followed Congress (legislation still pending) and the Census Bureau in severing ties with ACORN, saying it would no longer use the organization in its tax assistance program. ACORN offered free advice to some three million low- and moderate-income tax filers in 2009, though as Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto quipped, "[J]ust to be fair to Acorn, we should point out that the majority of those 3 million people do not practice sex slavery."

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