Stanley Kurtz of National Review first outed Obama as a member of the socialist New Party during the 2008 campaign but the charge fell on deaf ears as a supine press and a gullible public were both in the throes of hope and change. Only Ben Smith of Politico followed the lead and contacted the Obama. When assured by Ben Labolt, an Obama campaign spokesman that Obama had been a life long Democrat the credulous Smith dropped the matter. Joel Pollak at Breitbart writes that Smith now concedes that Barack Obama sought the socialist New Party's endorsement in 1996 but continues to give Obama, and the New Party, the benefit of the doubt on whether Obama was in fact a member.
Fortunately for the public if not Obama, Acorn of Illinois actually archives it records at, where else, the Wisconsin Historical Society. The New Party was something of a political action wing of Acorn. Kurtz stumbled across the minutes of a meeting held January 11, 1996 which read:
Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions. He signed the New Party “Candidate Contract” and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.Consistent with that statement Obama's name appears on the membership rolls in 1997. Kurtz promises more in the forthcoming issue of National Review.