Wade Rathke’s a ‘Dangerous Fellow’

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Acorn |

by Chris Berg

“I’m Recognized to be a Fairly Dangerous Fellow Out There in the Community” – Wade Rathke

Let’s be honest, if Wade Rathke saw me walk into his book signing last Tuesday, he wouldn’t have been at his most candid.  I wanted insight into the man who created this racket that is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or is it the American Institute for Social Justice, or Citizens Consulting Inc?  I’m still not too sure.  I know it operates under 361 different affiliates in at least 43 states and the District of Columbia.

In his newly released book Citizen Wealth, he paints himself as a modern day Robin Hood, stealing from the evil faceless corporations to give to the poor.  But as he recounts these campaigns it becomes clear the corporations have faces, their CEOs, who he doesn’t hesitate to harass at home to demand financial concessions.  Wade’s stilted story almost makes him sound noble as he provides innocuous reasons why he would like to collect and store copies of people’s personal financial records and birth certificates or as he tries to rationalize why people would be well served by becoming dues paying ACORN members.

These past few months I believed Wade’s the blissfully ignorant captain whose been stripped of his command but still seems intent to go down with the ship.  He hasn’t “run” the organization since the very public revelation that his brother embezzled close to $1 million from ACORN and Wade went about covering it up.  He was negotiated out of the coveted “chief organizer” role that he had held for decades.  The ACORN Board allowed him to retain control of ACORN International, but when public pressure started building, he even went ahead and changed its name to COI – Community Organizations International.

Even in exile he denies that ACORN is a criminal enterprise and claims that allegations that federal and tax-exempt funds have been used for political purposes are a “complete fabrication.”

I had to hear him speak.  I had to see for myself if he really bought what he was selling.  But let’s be real.  I’m a twenty-eight year old Republican lawyer… and I look like one.  I wear Brooks Brothers suits, bold ties, and nine times out of ten there’s a pair of elephant cufflinks on my wrists.  If he saw me coming I doubted he would be as open in his proselytizing for community organizing.


I had to tone it down a notch.  No, I didn’t borrow James O’Keefe’s vintage chinchilla shoulder throw.  I just threw on jeans and a t-shirt, jumped in my SUV, and headed off to see ACORN’s Founding Father.

I arrived early and grabbed my seat in the middle of the room.  I expected a crowd.  Instead I was greeted by six reporters and ten supporters.

Wade had barely gotten started when that folksy “aw shucks” Wade Rathke persona took over:

“It’s all a new ride on the rodeo to me” when discussing how he is no longer accountable to ACORN members.

Read the rest of the story at Big Government

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