Los Angeles had been safe from the ACORN scandal until now: Conservative activist James O'Keefe recently released the second in a series of videos that portray him and a prostitute visiting local offices of ACORN and asking for business help starting up a child-sex operation. The nonprofit group has been in the cross-hairs of right-wingers because of its voter registration drives that benefit mostly the Democrats.
While L.A. dodged a bullet in the first video clip (an ACORN worker, Felix D. Harris, says he'll help out if what the poseurs are doing is "legitimate"), a local office of ACORN doesn't appear to be son lucky the second time around.
Lavelle Stewart, an ACORN housing coordinator, tells the pair, "I think you have to hook up with somebody who is on that international sex business level."
She also says, "I can do research for you ... to get you in that door." And: "14-, 15-year-olds been traveling overseas for years." Finally, she drops Larry Flynt's name, saying she was recently in a business meeting with the porn magnate.
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The piece appears to be heavily cut up, bringing up questions of context. The woman isn't cast in the best light (and ACORN says she left the organization before the video was released). But the group raises questions about the video's time-line and context (it appears to have more cuts than a UFC fighter).
"The tapes are clearly doctored and highly edited and it is our hope this will be responsibly reported on should this become a news story," ACORN said in a written response (quoted in the Los Angeles Times).
Meanwhile California Attorney General Jerry Brown, a man as blue as they come, has launched an investigation to see if -- like allegations levied at his recently departed communications director -- O'Keefe secretly recorded conversations without the consent of the parties involved and without a judge's consent, which is illegal in California.
Round one to ACORN. Round two: Split decision for O'Keefe until ACORN can prove without a doubt the tape was doctored. Round three -- Brown vs. O'Keefe -- is yet to be decided.