The rapidly-growing scandal surrounding the questionable, and outright illegal, activities of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is feeding Washington’s addiction for sleaze.

And ACORN wants to make it worse by suing FOX News for its part of broadcasting video of ACORN staffers giving advice on setting up whorehouses and evading the law.

Doing so would open the door on a legal tactic called discovery — giving the other side an opportunity to pry into all the little secrets that ACORN — and probably the President of the United States — need so desperately to hide.

There’s little doubt that ACORN played fast and loose. The organization used taxpayer funds to dispense advice on how to break laws, bend the rules, and rip off taxpayers.

All of this, of course, can — and most likely will — rub off on President Barack Obama, the community activist-turned-politician.

White House sources say the Obama administration is scrambling to distance itself from ACORN and is also advising the group to stop all the nonsense about a lawsuit because that little thing called discovery could bring out other information that could ultimately tie the President to other questionable activities.

Obama downplays his connections to ACORN but his involvement with the radical community activist group goes back many years. Obama served as a “leadership trainer” with the group and sat on boards of foundations that supported ACORN. In 1995, he was part of a group of Chicago attorneys who represented ACORN in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois.

ACORN’s roots go back to the radical National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), a radical activist group known for sit-ins and protests at welfare offices.

In 2003, author Sol Stern, writing for City Journal, noted:

If you thought the New Left was dead in America, think again. Walk through just about any of the nation’s inner cities, and you’re likely to find an office of ACORN, bustling with young people working 12-hour days to “organize the poor” and bring about “social change.” The largest radical group in the country, ACORN has 120,000 dues-paying members, chapters in 700 poor neighborhoods in 50 cities, and 30 years’ experience. It boasts two radio stations, a housing corporation, a law office, and affiliate relationships with a host of trade-union locals. Not only big, it is effective, with some remarkable successes in getting municipalities and state legislatures to enact its radical policy goals into law.

It is no surprise that ACORN preaches a New Left–inspired gospel, since it grew out of one of the New Left’s silliest and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization. In the mid-sixties, founder George Wiley forged an army of tens of thousands of single minority mothers, whom he sent out to disrupt welfare offices through sit-ins and demonstrations demanding an end to the “oppressive” eligibility restrictions that kept down the welfare rolls. His aim: to flood the welfare system with so many clients that it would burst, creating a crisis that, he believed, would force a radical restructuring of America’s unjust capitalist economy.

As a community activist in Chicago, Barack Obama worked closely with ACORN and helped the group with community organizing.

Was he aware of ACORN’s shady side? It’s hard to imagine he wasn’t, just as it was always hard to accept his claim that he didn’t know about the criminal activities of one of his major supporters, Chicago wheeler-dealer Tony Rezko.

Obama is a product of old-style Chicago politics, a hardball world where laws and ethics don’t apply.

As the ACORN scandal continues to grow, Obama’s facade of respectability could melt under the hot lights of scrutiny.

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