What Does This Mean?

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Fri Jun 26 21:17:04 MDT 2009

[Who, exactly, are "the powers that be?" Aren't "We, The People" supposed 
to have the final say? - JAQ:]


Inside Cover

Rep. Conyers' Probe of ACORN Blocked by 'Powers That Be'

Friday, June 26, 2009 8:20 AM

By: S.A. Miller, The Washington Times Article Font Size


House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. has backed off his plan 
to investigate purported wrongdoing by the liberal activist group ACORN, 
saying "powers that be" put the kibosh on the idea.

Mr. Conyers, Michigan Democrat, earlier bucked his party leaders by calling 
for hearings on accusations the Association of Community Organization for 
Reform Now (ACORN) has committed crimes ranging from voter fraud to a 
mob-style "protection" racket.

"The powers that be decided against it," Mr. Conyers told The Washington 
Times as he left the House chambers Wednesday.

The chairman declined to elaborate, shrugging off questions about who told 
him how to run his committee and give the Democrat-allied group a pass.

Conyers spokesman Jonathan Godfrey said late Thursday, several hours after 
the first request for comment, that the chairman had been referring to 
himself as "the powers that be."

Pittsburgh lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh, whose testimony about ACORN at a 
March 19 hearing on voting issues prompted Mr. Conyers to call for a probe, 
said she was perplexed by Mr. Conyers' explanation for his change of heart.

"If the chair of the Judiciary Committee cannot hold a hearing if he wants 
to, [then] who are the powers that he is beholden to?" she said. "Is it the 
leadership, is it the White House, is it contributors? Who is 'the power'?"

The comment spurred similar questions by House Republicans, who asked 
whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was involved in blocking the probe.

"Chairman Conyers has a responsibility to explain who is blocking this 
investigation, and why. Is it Speaker Pelosi? Others in the Democratic 
leadership? Who in Congress is covering up ACORN's corruption?" said 
Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio 

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, ranking Republican on the 
Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and civil 
liberties, said the chairman should be calling the shots.

Mr. Conyers, who heard the allegations against ACORN, was sufficiently 
impressed to realize a future hearing was needed to thoroughly investigate 
the matter," he said. "It's unfortunate that people who didn't hear the 
testimony are making the decisions. The Democratic leadership should step 
up to disclose who instructed Mr. Conyers to drop his plan."

The office of Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, did not respond to 
questions about Mr. Conyers' comments.

Capitol Hill had bristled at the prospect of hearings because it threatened 
to rekindle criticism of the financial ties and close cooperation between 
President Obama's campaign and ACORN and its sister organizations Citizens 
Services Inc. and Project Vote.

The groups came under fire during the campaign after probes into suspected 
voter fraud in a series of presidential battleground states, including 
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Mexico and Nevada.

ACORN and its affiliates are currently the target of at least 14 lawsuits 
related to voter fraud in the 2008 election and a Racketeer Influenced and 
Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act complaint filed by former ACORN members.

The group's leaders have consistently denied any wrongdoing and previously 
said they welcomed a congressional probe.

The group did not respond to questions about Mr. Conyers being convinced to 
drop those plans.

Ms. Heidelbaugh, who spearheaded an unsuccessful lawsuit last year to stop 
ACORN's Pennsylvania voter-registration drive, testified in March that the 
nonprofit group was violating tax, campaign-finance and other laws by, 
among other things, sharing with the Barack Obama campaign a list of the 
Democrat's maxed-out campaign donors so ACORN could use it to solicit them 
for a get-out-the-vote drive.

ACORN also provided liberal causes with protest-for-hire services and 
coerced donations from targets of demonstrations through a shakedown it 
called the "muscle for the money" program, said Ms. Heidelbaugh, a member 
of the executive board of the Republican National Lawyers Association.

Mr. Conyers, a fierce partisan known for his drive to continue 
investigating President George W. Bush's administration, had been an 
unlikely champion for opponents of ACORN.

Before calling for the probe, he frequently defended ACORN. In October, he 
condemned an FBI voter-fraud investigation targeting the group, questioning 
whether it was politically motivated to hamper a voter-registration likely 
to turn out supporters for Mr. Obama's candidacy.

But in March, Mr. Conyers dismissed the argument made by fellow Democrats 
that accusations of voter fraud and other crimes should be explored by 
prosecutors and decided in court, not by lawmakers in Congress.

"That's our jurisdiction, the Department of Justice," Mr. Conyers said in 
March. "That's what we handle voter fraud. Unless that's been taken out of 
my jurisdiction and I didn't know it."

© 2009

Copyright 2009
 All Rights Reserved
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