Matthew 20 and the Minimum Wage: Conservative Theological Responses to David Barton

Last Thursday, David Barton and the gang on Wallbuilders Live talked about the Bible and economics. During the segment, Barton claimed that Right Wing Watch bloggers criticized his views because they have not read their Bibles. He also mentioned me by name as a Christian professor who also criticized his biblical views. RWW has the audio and transcript. I am going to include the whole segment on Mt. 20 (from 5:00 to about 10:00 on the original), including where Tim Barton implies Ben Carson is wrong in his interpretation of Mt. 20.

Transcript:

David Barton: Right Wing Watch listens to every program we do and they make fun of me because Barton says the Bible addresses the minimum wage. It is highly unlikely that they even know what’s in the Bible. But they’re making fun, oh the Bible doesn’t deal with…yes, the Bible does deal with that. And the concept of a free market means free from government regulation. A minimum wage is the government telling you what minimum wage you have to pay to someone. So let me take you to Matthew 20 for just a moment and look how the Bible is specific even on something like freedom of wages, the viability of employer-employee contracts.

From 41 seconds to 2:11, Barton tells the story of Matthew 20:1-16. At 2:12, Tim Barton interrupts and asks:

Tim Barton: But wait a minute, isn’t that why it’s socialism, because they all got the same thing?
David Barton: They all got the same thing!
Tim Barton: They all were paid the same no matter how long you worked. Everybody makes the same.
David Barton: And some of them put in more hours than others but they all got the same. But this one guy says but wo, wo, wo, wo, wo, wait, but I’ve been here longer. He says now wait a minute, didn’t you tell me at the beginning, you were willing to work for me all day long for that silver coin?
Tim Barton: So you agreed to that!
David Barton: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I did agree to that and then in Matthew 20:15, Jesus says, ‘Is not my money to do with as I please? I’m the employer. Don’t I get to decide what I’m going to pay everyone in this thing?'” No, no, no, the government has a minimum wage. No it didn’t. Jesus says, ‘My money is mine to do with as I please and, by the way, you made a contract with them.’ And then he tells the guy, ‘If you didn’t like the contract, you can go down the road to another vineyard and see if they’ll pay you two silver coins for what you did, but you agreed to work for me for that.'”
So what you have here is Jesus says, ‘The government doesn’t tell me how much to spend, I get to choose my own wages and, two, if you choose to work for me for that, you have an agreement, we have a contract; and three is if you’ve got greater skill, you can sell it to somebody else for a higher price, you can go down the road.’ That’s all free market stuff, there’s no government regulation of wages; and by the way, Right Wing Watch, that is the minimum wage. Government doesn’t tell you want to pay an employee, you make a contract with that individual for whatever they agree on and what you agree on, and if the don’t like that, they can use the free market to go somewhere else and try to get more. All of that is in Matthew 20. That is a great story of socialism versus free market.
Tim Barton: This is not just news for Right Wing Watch, but that too many Christians don’t what this is either. (crosstalk)
David Barton: Oh yeah, because Warren Throckmorton, Christian professor also makes fun of me for saying that. He’s a Christian professor.
Tim Barton: You go down the list.  Even people that would support us. You have people even like Ben Carson that says well, socialism that he seems to think based on this that everybody should get it. There’s Christians across the board that has a very different idea of what this says if they even know what this says, probably at Right Wing Watch they probably don’t know what this says much less understand the interpretation.

Barton teaches that Matthew 20 teaches economic policy about the minimum wage, employer contracts, and employer control of wages. Since the vineyard owner paid everyone what he wanted to pay, Barton reasons that the government can’t tell private business owners how much to pay their employees.
I can’t find a prior post where I disagree with Barton on Matthew 20 (although I certainly do). I have taken issue with his interpretation of various Bible passages but I don’t recall writing about the minimum wage. In any case, I do think he is wrong as do some people who I am pretty sure have read the Bible more than me.
I asked several Bible teachers about Matthew 20. I asked what the parable teaches and if it teaches that governments may not institute a minimum wage. Here are their replies:

Joe Carter, Senior Editor for the Acton Institute.
Our task as interpreters of parables is to find how the relevant meaning of the story applies in our own context. And while Jesus frequently referred to money and economics in his parables, never is the point of any parable to teach us about monetary or economic policy.
The illustrations used in parables are not meant to be normative, though I do believe they can be instructive. For example, since Jesus would not use a positive example that was based on injustice or evil, we can assume that there is nothing inherently wrong with negotiating with people to pay different wages — even for the same type of labor. However, that does not mean that we must take this illustration as a normative basis for personal ethics, much less as a direct claim about government policy.
Also, the statement in verse 14 — “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” — has to be read in a broader context. As the Bible makes clear, we don’t have an absolute right to do what we want with our own money (c.f., Mark 12:17), so it can’t mean that the landowner can do anything he wants. What about the broader context? We don’t know what the economic context even is — probably because it was unimportant to Jesus’ point. We don’t know, for instance, if in this parable the denarius was the government required “minimum wage” for a day’s labor.
There are many prudential reasons for opposing the minimum wage. I oppose it myself because I believe there is evidence that it harms, more than helps, many economically vulnerable groups (low-skilled workers, young African American males, non-native English speakers, etc.). But while my motivation for opposing the minimum wage (i.e., a concern for helping the poor) is based on the Bible, there is nothing in Scripture that directly supports my policy preference, much less forbids a government from instituting a minimum wage.
Adam Dolhanyk, Cornerstone Ministries:
I’ve never read a commentary or heard a sermon that taught anything other than a direct analogy to the kingdom of Heaven; as you said, both regarding Jews & Gentiles as well as people who come to faith early in life vs late in life.
Kevin Labby, Pastor, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church, Winter Springs, FL
There is great temptation to read into the parables things never intended by Jesus. The meaning or, in some cases, meanings of parables are made apparent by examining things like the historical context, prologue (cf. Lk. 18:1; 9), epilogue (cf. Mt. 13:36-43; Mk. 14:13-20), a direct interpretation by Jesus (cf. Mt. 13:18-23; 36-43) and a natural reading of the surrounding biblical context. Regarding this, Dodd adds:

The task of the interpreter of the parables is to find out, if he can, the setting of the parable in the situation contemplated by the Gospels, and hence the application which would suggest itself to one who stood in that situation.*

It’s pretty clear to me that Matthew 19:30 and 20:16 serve as bookends of sorts for this parable. Through the parable, Jesus clearly and simply intends to illustrate the principle that “the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”
Finally in my opinion, this parable has nothing to do with clarifying specific or even general principles of economic justice. That seems entirely forced, and might in fact prove too much. If Jesus intended to communicate principles of economic justice by this parable, one might note that the owner uses his liberty to lavish his wealth on the undeserving, not keep it from them.
* C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom (N. Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961), p. 14.
Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:
The account in Matthew 20 is a parable, in which Jesus is teaching the kingdom of God and how it is entered. It has no more to do with setting economic policies for nations than Matt. 18:33-34 has in setting up debtors’ prisons.
Justin Taylor, Executive V.P., Crossway Books
Evangelical New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg, of Denver Seminary, has authored what has become a standard book on the parables, arguing that many of Jesus’s parables have three main points (one per main character). In his analysis of this parable, he shows that the three groups of characters in this parable all deal with the unifying theme of “the status of individuals before God at the final judgment.” The three main points are as follows, according to Blomberg:

  1. From the earlier groups of workers, one learns that none of God’s people will be treated unfairly (cf. v. 4—”whatever is right I will give you”); that is, no one will be shortchanged.
  2. From the last group of workers comes the principle that many seemingly less deserving people will be treated generously, due to the sovereign free choice of God.
  3. From the unifying role of the master stems the precious truth that all true disciples are equal in God’s eyes. [my emphasis]

What Barton seems to miss is that Jesus is using a fictional story to paint a picture of God’s rule and reign (“the kingdom of heaven is like…”). The result is a portrait of the way God acts with his people. It has virtually nothing to do, one way or another, with whether it is wise, moral, or legal for a secular government to establish a threshold for employers remunerating workers. I happen to think such laws often have the ironic and unintended consequence of hurting the poor they purport to help (contra Prov. 14:31). But it is anachronistic eisegesis to think one can get a good argument about minimum wage from Matthew 20:1–16. If we think that Jesus is doling out economics lessons here, why couldn’t we make the case instead that he was a socialist, paying everyone the same wage no matter how long they work?

Taylor’s final question highlights a critical pitfall of looking at Bible stories written for one purpose (to illustrate what the Kingdom of Heaven is like) to teach public policy lessons in the present. One may find several contradictory lessons depending on what part of the story you examine. On that point, Ryan Kearns, pastor at Redemption Church in Seattle, WA sent along a link to an 2009 article by A.B. Caneday, Professor of New Testament Studies & Biblical Theology at Northwestern College (MN) on the parable. Caneday wrote:

By telling the vineyard parable Jesus offers no commentary upon human contractual work relationships of his day, whether they are just or unjust.24 (page 37)
Efforts to domesticate these unexpected features derive from hearing without adequate discernment. Jesus’ purpose is not socio-political. He is not overturning human employment practices by imposing a new ethic to govern hiring contracts so that all workers should receive the same pay for unequal duration of labor. Jesus’ parable is an earthly story that figuratively portrays things heavenly, not earthly. (page 38)

By the way, Right Wing Watch apparently has read the passage. Kyle Mantyla’s take on the passage sounds remarkably like our conservative Christian Bible teachers above.
The problem here isn’t just that Barton eisegetes the passage (reads into it), it is that he ridicules those who see it differently than him by accusing them of biblical ignorance. For Barton, people who disagree with his novel biblical interpretations are ignorant liberal enemies of God. I think it will be hard to reconcile his attitude with the information presented by the scholars who have commented on this post.
 
I want to thank the Bible teachers and pastors quoted in the post who responded to my request for assistance. 

Year in review: Top ten stories of 2008

As in year’s past, I have enjoyed reviewing the posts from the year and coming up with the top ten stories.
1. Cancelation of the American Psychiatric Association symposium – Amidst threat of protests, the APA pressed to halt a scheduled symposium dedicated to sexual identity therapy and religious affiliation. Whipped up by a factually inaccurate article in the Gay City News, gay activists persuaded the APA leadership to pressure symposium organizers to pull the program. Gay City News later ran a correction.
2. The other APA, the American Psychological Association, released a task force report on abortion and mental health consequences. Basing their conclusions on only one study, the APA surprised no one by claiming abortion had no more adverse impact on mental health than carrying a child to delivery. I revealed here that the APA had secretly formed this task force after a series of research reports in late 2005 found links between abortion and adverse mental health consequences for some women. New research confirms that concern is warranted.
3. Golden Rule Pledge – In the wake of Sally Kern saying homosexuality was a greater threat to the nation than terrorism, I initiated the Golden Rule Pledge which took place surrounding the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth. Many conservative groups were calling for Christian students to stay home. This did not strike me as an effective faith-centered response. The Golden Rule Pledge generated some controversy as well as approval by a small group of evangelicals (e.g., Bob Stith) and gay leaders (e.g., Eliza Byard). Some students taking part in the various events were positively impacted by their experience.
4. Exodus considers new direction for ministry – At a leadership training workshop early in 2008, Wendy Gritter proposed a new paradigm for sexual identity ministry. Her presentation was provocative in the sense that it generated much discussion and consideration, especially among readers here. It remains to be seen if Exodus will continue to move away from a change/reparative therapy focus to a fidelity/congruence ministry focus.
5. New research clarifies sexual orienatation causal factors – A twin study and a study of brain symmetry, both from Sweden and a large U.S. study shed some light on causal factors in sexual orientation.
6. Letter to the American Counseling Association requesting clarification of its policies concerning counseling same-sex attracted evangelicals. Co-signed by over 600 counselors (many of whom were referred by the American Association of Christian Counselors), I wrote a letter to the ACA requesting clarification regarding how counselors should work with evangelicals who do not wish to affirm homosexual behavior. The current policy is confusing and gives no guidance in such cases. Then President Brian Canfield replied affirming the clients self-determination in such cases. He referred the matter back to the ACA ethics committee. To date, that committee has not responded.
7. Paul Cameron’s work resurfaces and then is refuted – Insure.com resurrected Paul Cameron’s work in an article on their website about gay lifespans. The article was later altered to reflect more on HIV/AIDS than on homosexual orientation. Later this year, Morten Frisch produced a study which directly addressed Cameron’s methods.
8. Mankind Project unravels – This year I posted often regarding the Mankind Project and New Warriors Training Adventure. Recently, I reported that MKP is in some financial and organizational disarray.
9. Debunking of false claims about Sarah Palin’s record on support for social programs – I had lots of fun tracking down several false claims made about Sarah Palin during the election. Her opponents willfully distorted her real record to paint her as a hypocrite. I learned much more about Alaska’s state budget than I ever wanted to know but found that most claims of program cuts were actually raises in funding which not quite as much as the agencies requested. However, overall funding for such programs increased.
10. During the stretch run of the election, I became quite interested in various aspects of the race. As noted above, I spent some time examining claims surround Sarah Palin’s record. I also did a series on President-elect Obama’s record on housing, including an interview with one of Barack Obama’s former constituents.
I know, I know, number 10 is an understatement. (Exhibit A)
Happy New Year!

Auto Unions get the memo

United Auto Workers got the memo. Better do something.
I wonder what the concessions will be. CNN Money says the CEOs go to DC today and UAW is getting together tomorrow.
Why would the auto CEOs go to DC with new business plans but without knowing what the Unions might do? Is Congress going to be a labor mediator?
Oh, the deals that will be done.

Auto makers bailout – Open Forum

Apparently, no one likes my suggestion to sell Obama gear to bail out the (Sorta) Big Three automakers, so Congress is debating giving billions to them.

This week, Congress will consider whether to cough up billions of dollars to bail out the troubled companies.
There are loud advocates with strong arguments on both sides.
Proponents of a bailout say that the industry is a victim of the global financial crisis. Wall Street has been bailed out, so why not Detroit?
They say millions of jobs could be lost and more than $100 billion in wages sliced out of an already-fragile U.S. economy.
“It would be a travesty for the irresponsible, reckless behavior of Wall Street to result in the sweeping away of the American automobile industry,” said Mike Jackson, CEO of Autonation, the nation’s largest auto dealership group. “If indeed it came to bankruptcy, it’s going to make what happened with Lehman Brothers and all the consequences of that a nice day.”
On the other side are those who feel just as strongly that the automakers’ problems are their own doing, born of bad business decisions, uncompetitive labor agreements and vehicles that Americans have decided are second-rate.

In my very small sampling of friends, radio DJs, and Internet blogs, the verdict appears to be running against a bailout. Youngstown, Ohio’s Hot 101 radio station is running their own auto bailout promo, giving away a car, since the Washington DC version doesn’t help anyone except execs (at least that’s what the promo suggests).
What say you?

Obama's new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel on Freddie Mac board during scandal

Well, (some of) the media remembered how to investigate. RE: Rahm Emanuel’s time on the Freddie Mac board, ABC reports:

President-elect Barack Obama’s newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, served on the board of directors of the federal mortgage firm Freddie Mac at a time when scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot “red flags,” according to government reports reviewed by ABCNews.com.
President-elect Barack Obama’s newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, served on the board of directors of the federal mortgage firm Freddie Mac at a time when scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot “red flags,” according to government reports reviewed by ABCNews.com. According to a complaint later filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freddie Mac, known formally as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002.
Emanuel was not named in the SEC complaint but the entire board was later accused by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) of having “failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention.”

When (if) the MSM report this story in depth, it will report that some in the GOP saw the problems early on but were blocked by the Democrats in leadership. I am looking for primary sources on this but a number of bloggers report that Emanuel blocked efforts to reform Freddie and Fannie. In 2006, Dems (who had won control of the Congress) were identified as standing in the way of reform:

Democrats are likely to block a Republican proposal to cut the $1.4 trillion combined mortgage assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Republicans have pushed to scale back the investments of the government-chartered mortgage companies, arguing the holdings are so large they threaten to destabilize financial markets.
Frank’s View
Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank, who is in line to chair the House Financial Services Committee, said discussions with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson may still produce a deal.
Any measure would have to include an increase in the share of profits the two mortgage giants must donate to a fund to help low-income people buy housing, Frank said in an Oct. 31 interview. “I am going to get as much as I can,” he said.
Frank also says he plans to push legislation to give company shareholders more power to review stock options and other bonuses for corporate executives.

The irony is that the recent banking/credit crisis derailed the McCain campaign and played a large role in the election outcome. The roots of the current bailout apparently go back at least to the Congressional transition in 2006 when Barney Frank held off a deal on Freddie and Fannie in order to give money to finance low income housing purchases (read: ACORN Housing, and other ways to finance home purchases, many of which were risky loans). And recall, that the first bailout package offered up by the Frank-Dodd-Paulson group included the same kind of mechanism, funneling money to support risky deals. Barney Frank said, “I’m going to get all I can.” And now the Dems have done a very skillful job of convincing many that the credit crisis was none of their doing.

Debate reactions: Open Forum

I think Joe Wurzelbacher (the Ohio plumber) and Bob Schieffer did well.
The questions were more helpful to voters in making decisions. I think the candidates made the differences a bit clearer. If you want a more centralized federal government and social liberal, vote for Obama. If you want spending discipline and social conservatism, vote for McCain.
Bring it…
NOTE TO READERS: For some reason I cannot figure out, your comments are not being posted. I cannot get to the spam queue either to look for them there. Makes it tough to have an open forum, eh? Try again in a bit, hopefully I can get it worked out…
Let me remind readers about this post about Mr. Wurzelbacher’s interview today with Family Security Matters.

Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher talks about his dialogue with Obama and spreading the wealth

UPDATE: Joe Wurzelbacher held a news conference this morning at his Holland, Ohio home. Holland is about 8 miles from Toledo.
In a prior post, I referenced a conversation between a plumber and Obama on a campaign stop in Toledo Ohio. The questioner’s name was Joe Wurzelbacher and he has gotten a bit of attention surrounding the YouTube video. An advocacy group Family Security Matters secured an interview with Mr. Wurzelbacher and I think it is worth the read. Mr. Wurzelbacher seems thoughtful and expresses many concerns many conservatives and small business owners have about the Obama tax plan. Here are some excerpts:

At a recent campaign appearance in Ohio, Sen. Obama was approached by plumber Joe Wurzelbacher, who has concerns about Obama’s proposed tax policies. FamilySecurityMatters.org’s Pam Meister had a candid conversation with him about his experience.
PAM MEISTER: You recently met Sen. Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio, and you asked him a question about his tax policies. What exactly was your question for him?
JOE WURZELBACHER: Initially, I started off asking him if he believed in the American Dream and he said yes, he does – and then I proceeded to ask him then why he’s penalizing me for trying to fulfill it. He asked, “what do you mean,” and I explained to him that I’m planning on purchasing this company – it’s not something I’m gonna purchase outright, it’s something I’m going to have to make payments on for years – but essentially I’m going to buy this company, and the profits generated by that could possibly put me in that tax bracket he’s talking about and that bothers me. It’s not like I would be rich; I would still just be a working plumber. I work hard for my money, and the fact that he thinks I make a little too much that he just wants to redistribute it to other people. Some of them might need it, but at the same time, it’s not their discretion to do it – it’s mine.

Regarding Obama’s statement that he didn’t want to punish success:

PM: …taxing small businesses making $250,000 and above is going to help the people “behind you.” And yes, “spreading the wealth around.” How did you feel about that?
JW: As soon as he said it, he contradicted himself. He doesn’t want to “punish” me, but – when you use the word “but,” you pretty much negate everything you just said prior to that. So he does want to punish me, he does want to punish me for working harder to – you know, my big thing is the American Dream. I work hard. You know, I was poor; my mom raised me and my brother by herself for a very long time until my dad came along. So I know what it’s like to suffer. It’s not like I was born with a silver spoon. Usually it was a wooden spoon and it was on my butt. It was just a contradiction of terms, what he said: he doesn’t want to punish me but he wants to redistribute my wealth. And what I mean when I say my wealth, I mean the collective. Eventually – I mean, just to sound a little silly here, but you need rich people. I mean, who are you going to work for?
PM: Do you fear this is the possibility of America turning more down the socialist road if Obama does become elected and if he is able to implement these policies?
JW: Very much so. You start giving people stuff, and then they start expecting it – and that scares me. A lot of people expect it now. They get upset when their check’s late, they get upset when they don’t get as many benefits as they used to, or when different government agencies are cut or spending is cut here and there for whatever reason – people get upset at that. And that’s because they’re used to getting it and they want more. I mean, everyone’s always gonna want more. People work the system left and right to get more out of welfare, to get more out of state assistance, federal assistance. And if government’s there for them, they’re gonna keep on trying to manipulate it to get more out of it. You got people that come along and say, “Hey, I wanna help you people,” I mean, they’re all ears! They’re like, “Hey, you can help me more, I don’t have to work as hard, I don’t have to do as much, and you’re gonna give me this? Man, that’s great, you’re a good guy.”

I hope McCain or Bob Schieffer raises again Mr. Wurzelbacher’s questions. Like central planning and wealth re-distribution or not, we need to hear more from Mr. Obama about his economic philosophy.

Evidence ACORN and Citizens Services Inc. are not separate entities

Ok, bear with me here. This is getting into the minutia…
In a prior post, I linked to an email from ACORN which issued a call for people to work for ACORN and get out the vote for Obama in the Ohio primary. The recruits were not to call the Obama campaign but to apply directly to ACORN. Here is the email from a blog post dated February 21, 2008:

GOTV for Obama! Ohio ACORN is doing a Get Out The Vote project with the OBAMA Campaign. Ohio ACORN is hiring canvassers to go door to door encouraging voters to vote for Barack Obama.
ACORN is hiring in Cleveland (216)431-3905, Columbus (614)425-9491, Cincinnati (513)221-1737, for Dayton (call Cincinnati), and for Toledo call Cleveland. Or email polnatoh@acorn.org and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate person in each of these cities. Intake and training will be held daily at local ACORN offices. Canvass begins on Wednesday Feb. 27th and will work through election day. Please, only persons wishing to work all or most of these days (Saturday and Sunday included) should inquire.
Please do not contact the Obama campaign directly regarding this post as they are not the organization doing the hiring and it will only distract their staff and volunteers from the other important work they are doing on behalf of Senator Obama.

A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article details this activity paid for by the Obama campaign to the tune of over $800,000.

Obama is the CSI’s first national candidate, although the company has worked for several regional candidates in recent years, said Jeff Robinson, CSI’s executive vice president.
“Our contracts were relatively small for Obama,” he said, declining to specify amounts because of “proprietary” rights of CSI’s clients. The largest project for Obama was during the Ohio primary, he said.
“That was a very short-term contract for one week of work. In Ohio, they asked us to do canvasses in five cities statewide,” Robinson said.
The Ohio primary was March 4. According to FEC records, the Obama campaign paid Citizens Services Inc. $832,598.29, from Feb. 25 to May 17.

I wonder why the payments extended to May if they did only one week of work.
Later in the Trib-Review article, Citizens Services Inc., attempts to create distance from ACORN.

Sunday Alabi, an ACORN activist and spokesman in St. Paul, is one of CSI’s three-person board of directors. Alabi described CSI as a nonprofit consulting firm related to ACORN.
“I do not know the day-to-day work of what they do. I’m on the board,” Alabi said, referring other questions to [Jeff] Robinson, the executive vice president.
Robinson said CSI is a “not-for-profit political and campaign management firm, much like any political consulting firm.”CSI is not tax-exempt under any IRS code, he said. Without tax-exempt status, the organization isn’t bound by IRS restrictions for nonprofits on political activities.
“We have a wide range of clients. We provide political campaign management. We provide field services,” Robinson said. “Our clients are typically considered liberal. Our clients are labor unions, liberal to progressive candidates, nonprofit organizations on the liberal side of the political spectrum.”
In 2006, CSI collected all the signatures and managed successful statewide ballot measure campaigns in Missouri, Ohio, Colorado and Arizona to increase the minimum wage, he said. “We have a good reputation. We provide good services.”
Regarding CSI’s nonprofit status, Robinson said: “We are organized specifically not to make money, but we make money. There are no profits. We have a staff of 60 people around the country, and that eats up our entire profit. We’re not a for-profit corporation, but we are not a group like a United Way.”
CSI is a “separate organization entirely” from ACORN, he said.
“ACORN is a client of ours,” Robinson said. “ACORN has a lot of different partner organizations. We are a partner, but we are separate.”

If ACORN and CSI are separate, then why was ACORN Ohio recruiting for GOTV activities? If ACORN has tax exempt status (not completely sure on that) and receives taxpayer money for educational services (they do), then they should not be engaging in partisan activities. If these sources are accurate then they did do partisan activities in the Ohio primary. One wonders what they will be doing with taxpayer money in November.