Activists release new ACORN video
Tape shows pair seeking advice in Philadelphia office
WASHINGTON – Two conservative activists released a new undercover video targeting the community-organizing group ACORN on Wednesday, an attempt to reignite a simmering political controversy surrounding the Democratic-leaning organization.
The new videotape shows filmmakers Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend, soliciting advice about a possible housing loan from workers in the Philadelphia office of ACORN Housing Corp.
Previous videos showed the same pair, also posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend, visiting ACORN offices in other cities.
The Philadelphia visit is significant because of a dispute over statements ACORN has made defending what took place when Giles and O’Keefe visited the Philadelphia office last summer.
Supporters of O’Keefe and Giles said ACORN has lied about whether the two were thrown out of the Philadelphia office, how much time they spent there and whether they explicitly told ACORN workers that Giles was a prostitute.
At a Washington news conference, O’Keefe went through an edited version of what he said was a 32-minute visit to the Philadelphia office.
“At no point were we kicked out, at no time were we asked to leave,” O’Keefe says on the tape of the Philadelphia visit.
Neil Herrmann, ACORN’s lead organizer in Philadelphia, was quoted in news accounts last month as saying that an employee at the office had asked O’Keefe and Giles to leave. On the edited tape released Wednesday, the couple were not asked to leave.
ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring said in an e-mailed statement: “We’ve always been clear about Philadelphia. We got them out of the office as quickly as possible, and filed a police report on them within minutes.”
In the video, the voice of the ACORN employee was muted for legal reasons.
After Tuesday’s news conference, O’Keefe called on ACORN to state publicly that it has no objection to the public release of any its employees’ oral statements on the latest tape.
ACORN has repeatedly asked that O’Keefe release all of the tapes he possesses unedited.
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