Who is behind today’s anti-banker demonstrations? The usual suspects


(photo from stopbankgreed.org)

During Tuesday’s lunch program at CNBC, anchor Bill Griffith asked who was behind the demonstrations at the American Bankers Association meetings in Chicago. The answer is clear: SEIU and a coalition of organizations, many of which are related with ACORN or that have commonly partnered with ACORN over the years.

A few weeks ago, I was solicited to participate in today’s demonstration by a robocall. (My guess is that I was selected because I am a registered Democrat –- perhaps also because I live in a zip code with a large African-American population and a history of ACORN-related organizing.)

Given the option of endorsing the effort or learning more, I chose learning more. The robocall then revealed that I was being solicited by the SEIU Illinois Council.

The phone call then directed me to a website run by a coalition that included several organizations related to ACORN or run by former ACORN officials. (In Illinois, for example, ACORN mostly shut down in 2008, with many of its members moving over to Action Now.) The head of SEIU Illinois Council (the group that took credit for my robocall) is Tom Balanoff, the labor leader who was so close to Obama that he was chosen as Blagojevich’s go-between in Blagojevich’s effort to shake down the Obama team. One of the improper proposals that Blagojevich floated was a job at Change to Win, another of the organizations that is sponsoring today’s demonstrations against bankers. Another sponsor is Citizen Action, the organization that received a large, suspicious payment from the Obama campaign.

A week after the phone call, I received a letter in the mail that began:


Dear Voter:

Thank you for agreeing to join the thousands of people from around the country to tell the American Bankers Association—Enough is Enough!

Note that I did NOT agree to join and I did NOT give SEIU my address, but they probably got it from the voters list. (Given how they misrecorded my preferences, I hope that SEIU is not one of the groups that the Census has hired to record information on people for the 2010 Census.)

So who is behind today’s anti-banker demonstrations? It’s the usual suspects: primarily SEIU, other ACORN affiliated organizations, and groups that traditionally partnered with ACORN in its campaigns against banks.

Yet because of the closeness of the usual suspects to the Obama campaign and the Obama Administration, the more interesting question is: Did the White House put SEIU and other ACORN-related groups up to this? Given that ACORN and its partners have been demonstrating against banks for over a decade, I think that the answer is very probably “No.”

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