GLENN: We have Stanley Kurtz on the phone. He writes regularly for publications like the National Review, Weekly Standard, has a Ph.D. from Harvard, also is in the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He’s with us now. This is the guy that he was supposed to be on WLS in Chicago and the reason why I wanted to have him on is because the Obama campaign did everything they could to stop him from that broadcast and I don’t like anybody trying to shut down anybody’s voice, especially Stanley Kurtz, who has credibility here and has something to say. Now, we told you earlier this week that we found something and we couldn’t get all the documentation and that’s what Stanley’s been working on, couldn’t get all the documentation of a lawsuit, a class action lawsuit in 1994, 1995 against Citigroup or CitiBank. Stanley is here to bring us up to speed on what this is. Stanley, welcome to the program.
KURTZ: Glenn, thanks for having me.
GLENN: Sure. What is this class action lawsuit that we stumbled onto?
KURTZ: Glenn, I haven’t been following that lawsuit as closely as I’ve been following Obama’s larger ties to this group ACORN. I think the lawsuit you’re talking about was on behalf of ACORN against a bank trying to —
GLENN: From 1994, 1995. I’m sorry, sir, I thought somebody had briefed you on this one. We found documentation this week that Barack Obama was the attorney, I believe the lead attorney on a class action lawsuit in Illinois back in ’94 and ’95 about unfair practices in the Chicago area and it was settled out of court and we can’t get any more information. So is this the same lawsuit that you’ve been looking at?
KURTZ: Probably. But as I say, Glenn, I haven’t been focused on that lawsuit as I have for Obama’s general support for ACORN. And ACORN, of course, was not just in that particular suit but in general was running a campaign for years against Chicago area banks trying to intimidate them essentially into making high-risk loans to customer with poor credit. That suit was certainly part of the picture but it was only a part of a much larger and very frightening picture that is very much at the root of the current economic crisis.
GLENN: Tell us, because a lot of people are like ACORN, and they may not understand. Tell us who ACORN is. Tell us some of the things that they have done.
KURTZ: Well, Glenn, ACORN is a group of community organizers, probably the most militant group of community organizers. ACORN grew out of something called the National Welfare Rights League which was another militant group in the Sixties. They used to flood into welfare offices, kind of shut them down with protests and demand a great expansion of welfare coverage. And in recent decades that has morphed into ACORN. And ACORN leaders see themselves as unreconstructed far leftist, unafraid to use radical and militant tactics. They follow Saul Alinsky’s direct action, which is another name for these intimidation tactics.
For example, if ACORN wants a bank to start making these high-risk loans, they might break into the office of a banker and flood it with protestors and basically scare the heck out of the guy trying to get him to change the bank’s loan policy. They will even go and protest at the homes of bankers, scare their families. They’ll flood protestors into the lobby of a bank, scare the customers away and, of course, in that way intimidate the banks into doing what they want. And so ACORN uses these Alinsky-ite intimidation tactics. Of course, those are tactics that were studied by Obama, and Obama has had a very close relationship with ACORN for many, many years. He never — that was never —
GLENN: It’s not just an association. He was actually training new people, was he not?
KURTZ: That’s right, Glenn. Back in the late Eighties when Obama was doing his initial organizing work in Chicago, well, he worked for another group called the developing communities project which was part of the Gamma Leo Foundation, which is yet another radical Alinsky-ite group which used very similar tactics and also deployed them against banks. But in the course of his work for that group, he ran into a woman named Madeline Talbott. Madeline Talbott at that time was a high official of ACORN and eventually became the head of Chicago ACORN, and Madeline Talbott had first viewed Obama as sort of a competitor from another community organizer group, but as she got to know him, she became she impressed. She saw him as a partner and she invited him to train her personal staff. So then Obama went away, went to law school and he came back from law school to Chicago. And at that time Talbott remembered him, remembered the good work he had done training her staff and that is why ACORN approached Obama to start doing some of its legal work. Not only the case you were mentioning but the work for ACORN on the motor voter bill that Obama did and —
GLENN: Why is the motor voter idea a bad idea? How is ACORN — give me a little bit here before we come back to some of the other financial stuff. Give me just a slice of how ACORN is involved in voter fraud.
KURTZ: ACORN does an awful lot of voter registration work, some of it directly, some of it through sort of an offshoot of ACORN. Now, they claim that this offshoot is nonpartisan but in fact what they do is to go into neighborhoods that they feel confident will vote Democratic and they try to register voters, but they are, shall we say loose about the legality of what they do and there seem to be a lot of names coming back that aren’t quite legitimate, maybe even illegal aliens that are being registered and ACORN tends to favor and Obama tends to favor any legislation that will make it easier. I think in Ohio now, is it Ohio? One of these states is now passing legislation that allows same-day registration, which makes it almost impossible to check on how legitimate the person is who has registered. ACORN favors —
GLENN: Wait, is that an ACORN move?
KURTZ: I don’t think that’s an ACORN move but that’s the sort of thing that ACORN and Obama have always supported legislatively. I don’t know that ACORN is specifically doing that. But effectively they try for analogous legislative moves and sometimes they just do that on the street, so to speak, whether it’s legal or not, all in behalf of these Democratic candidates. In fact, ACORN, an ACORN organizer put out an article in a journal called Social Policy. Her name was Tony Foulkes. And she — the whole article described how ACORN was able to register voters and get them to the polls to elect Barack Obama as state senator and then senator, but she had to frame the whole article very carefully because technically that would all be illegal. ACORN’s not supposed to be supporting any particular politician and, in fact, it’s very shaky because when Obama was on some of these foundation boards, he was channeling money to ACORN. So it would have been quite illegal for ACORN to become his precinct workers. So they pretend they are acting as individuals rather than as representatives of ACORN. But what you have here is kind of very shady nexus that even if it ends up being just the edge of what’s legal verges on conflict of interest for Obama when he was on his foundation boards channeling money to ACORN which would then go out and register voters that they thought would vote for Obama, pass out literature. They would claim to be working as individuals but a lot of people think they were basically working as ACORN members.
GLENN: Stanley, you say — by the way, we’re talking to Dr. Stanley Kurtz. He writes for the National Review, Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, he is also with Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington. You said earlier about ACORN, a very Saul Alinsky organization. Who is Saul Alinsky and who is the role that Saul Alinsky has played in Barack Obama’s life?
KURTZ: Well, Saul Alinsky, Glenn, was really the man who created this notion of being a community organizer. This was back in the Thirties and Forties, and he wrote a series of books in which he was very unashamed about saying, hey, I’m a radical. One of the famous ones was called Rules for Radicals. And Obama really became a student of Alinsky’s work, an expert on it, learning his notions of power, his notions of organizing, and it was Alinsky who originated this idea of what he calls direct action, which was this use of intimidation tactics intentionally militant and scary, both to intimidate politicians and business leaders into doing what these radical groups wanted and also frankly as a kind of organizing tactic because going out and confronting and intimidating people is very exciting and gets a lot of members into your organization. So Obama became a student of all this. And as I was saying earlier, after his initial stint of training the personal staff of this Madeline Talbott who was an expert in this direction action intimidation stuff, when he came back to Chicago from law school, Talbott had him doing leadership training seminars for ACORN. Now, we don’t know whether he was focusing on these direct action tactics, but he was certainly giving a lot of training to the up and coming leadership of ACORN and these were essentially, you could say the officers in the army that Madeline Talbott was setting out against these banks to try to force them to make these high-risk loans. They were getting a lot of training from Barack Obama. And as I mentioned earlier, Obama was actually funding this activity through his position as a board member on the Woods Fund and also at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, even though that was focused on education, another board that Obama was on.
GLENN: Wait, can you go in there, just for a minute can you just go on what — because this is to his link with William Ayers and what they were trying to teach in school. What exactly was that connection?
KURTZ: Well, back in 1995 Bill Ayers who, of course, is notorious as one of the founders of the Weather Underground and himself a Weather Underground terrorist in the Sixties who helped to bomb the Pentagon and he and his comrades planned the bombing of the Capitol and other bombings again that were used to intimidate the families of federal prosecutors who were moving against groups like the Black Panthers and such. So Bill Ayers, very notorious along with his wife Bernardine Dohrn who was another major leader of the Weather Underground terrorist organization. Bill Ayers, he went on the lamb after a decade or two and finally resurfaced and became a professor of education and people say that Bill Ayers reformed himself, but the truth is he never repudiated any of his bombings and he never repudiated his philosophy. And actually if you read his education work, you’ll see it’s extremely radical. It’s based on the idea that the United States is an intrinsically racist and oppressive country. Essentially it’s a close cousin of Jeremiah Wright’s philosophy. And Bill Ayers created an education philosophy that was centered around teaching students to resist America’s racist and oppressive.
GLENN: Right. It explains why Barack Obama didn’t hear this from his pastor because he’s used to hearing it. He thinks that’s normal. He hearsay this a lot. He’s surrounded by poem who think this way. Agree?
KURTZ: That’s absolutely right. And Barack Obama, we don’t know how many, if any, education books by Ayers Obama read, but we know that he read and recommended publicly in the Chicago Tribune a book on juvenile justice by Bill Ayers which was very radical which embodied many of these ideas and which included a lot about education. So Obama was very aware of this in reality, and Bill Ayers, when he heard in late 1994 that a very well-to-do Republican philanthropist named Walter Annenberg had decided to give $500 million to different groups around the country to improve education in America’s cities, as soon as Bill Ayers heard that, he wrote a grant proposal and succeeded in winning $50 million from this conservative philanthropist. Of course, this is a great example of how radical professors are often able to capture money from moderate or conservative donors without their realizing what’s going on. And so he gets this $50 million to be used on a 2:1 basis to get matching funds. So in the end this foundation that Bill Ayers creates gets about $150 million. And when Ayers gets this grant, they set up a foundation and someone has to be chosen as chairman of the board and lo and behold, who gets chosen but Barack Obama.
GLENN: Okay. Stanley, I am out of time unfortunately. I’d love to have you back next week because this is going to continue. Do you have time? Can you come back? Because I want to get back into this and what specifically — because you’ve been — they have been trying to keep you out of the paperwork and you’ve been hunting for all of the paperwork and you’ve uncovered some amazing things in that and also on ACORN as a developing story. Can I invite you back, sir?
KURTZ: Sure, Glenn.
GLENN: Okay, great. Stanley Kurtz. Stu, let’s see if we can get Stanley to rebook again next week. We just need more time with him.