Salon reporter tries, fails at defending Obama nominee with ACORN connection 

Over at Salon, Alex Koppelman takes issue with a report by Matthew Vadum that I blogged about yesterday. Vadum noted that the Senate confirmed Patrick Corvington as chief executive of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and that Corvington was a senior official at a liberal foundation that gave ACORN and other very left-wing organizations a lot of money. Here is the substance of Koppelman's critique:

Thing is, though, the attack was based on bad information. For one thing, Vadum omitted some relevant details. The Annie E. Casey Foundation gives out a huge amount of money every year -- according to tax records, it gave out more than $167 million in grants in 2008 alone. The amount it gave to ACORN over a seven-year period doesn't even amount to 10 percent of that. Moreoever, the foundation's public affairs manager, Sue Lin Chong, says that it no longer even gives money to ACORN -- all of the grants given to the organization ended by early 2009, and the foundation ceased grant-making to it then.

And here's the real kicker: By e-mail, Chong told Salon, "Patrick had absolutely no role whatsoever in approving any grants to ACORN. His program area, Leadership Development, has never made any ACORN grants."

What bad information is he talking about? There is absolutely nothing in either Vadum's report or my brief gloss of it that Koppelman is saying is factually in accurate. Koppelman whines about a lack of context, but the context he then provides only confirms that the foundation Corvington worked for still gave ACORN millions.

And what about all the other money that the foundation gave to left-wing groups such as the National Council of La Raza and the Guttmacher Institute? Whether or not he personally gave ACORN money is largely immaterial, as it's hard to argue that someone serving in a senior position was not in agreement with the foundation's -- and to some extent ACORN's -- political agenda.

While it's true that the Anne E. Casey foundation ceased giving money to ACORN in early 2009, it gave a curious statement months later when the undercover ACORN sting broke:

Casey believes that ACORN Housing Corporation has used the grants appropriately and has done good work by effectively counseling victims and potential victims of predatory lending and refinancing practices. The Casey Foundation ceased its grant making to ACORN in early 2009.

Note that according to Vadum, the Ann E. Casey Foundation gave at least $850,500 to the same Baltimore ACORN office that was enabling tax fraud and underage sex trafficking. Do you have confidence that this same organization was spending grant money wisely? Me neither. Any way you slice it, the ACORN-Anne E. Casey Foundation connection does not reflect well upon Corvington. It's strange that Koppelman would suggest otherwise.

UPDATE: Vadum responds to Koppelman here.

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Mark Hemingway

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