By Chuck Missler
New allegations of misconduct by ACORN staff has left Capitol Hill scrambling to distance itself from the scandal-plagued organization. This is not the first time the left-wing group has been accused of unethical or illegal activities, however in this case the allegations are so shocking that the damage to ACORN's reputation could be irreparable.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, more commonly know as ACORN, is a non-governmental organization that advocates for low and middle income families. ACORN is a self-described "grassroots community organization" that focuses on a variety of social and economic issues such as affordable housing. ACORN has an annual budget of more than 100 million dollars a year. There are local chapters in 110 cities in 40 states. According to the official ACORN website the organization has helped register 1.7 million people to vote since 2004. Many Americans were first introduced to ACORN last year when the organization's activities became a hot-button issue in the presidential campaign.
Our Tax Dollars at Work
During the 2008 election ACORN was accused of voter registration fraud. ACORN reportedly submitted voter registration applications with the names of dead voters as well as some bearing fictitious names like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Mary Poppins. ACORN's activities are now under investigation in two dozen states. In one case the Nevada Attorney General's office brought charges against two ACORN employees. The felony charges included, but were not restricted to, 26 counts of voter fraud.
Today ACORN finds itself under fire once again. Last week shocking video footage was released of ACORN employees in four different cities. In the videos ACORN employees were caught giving undercover filmmakers, a man and a woman posing as a pimp and prostitute, advice on how to break federal laws. Various ACORN employees gave the undercover couple advice on tax evasion, money laundering, and even how to conceal underage, undocumented sex workers. The footage was taken at ACORN offices in Baltimore, Washington DC, New York City, and San Bernadino. At least four ACORN employees have already been fired in connection with the scandal.
It is estimated that ACORN has received more than 53 million dollars in federal funds. It is therefore no surprise that recent events have prompted fresh outrage among the American public, particularly concerning how our tax dollars are being spent.
Congress has plunged into damage-control mode. On Friday the US Census Bureau officially cut ties with ACORN, which was one of several organizations helping to organize the 2010 census. Monday the Senate voted 83-7 to halt ACORN's Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants. Tuesday the House Minority Leader John Boehner introduced legislation that would break all federal government ties with ACORN. Lawmakers have also called for an official congressional probe and an investigation by the US Department of Justice. For more information on this story, click on the links below.
LA Times: ACORN “needs to clean house” - Hot Air
GOP seizes on ACORN funding - Reuters
Obama and Acorn - Wall Street Journal
ACORN leans on advisory council, including John Podesta - The Washington Times
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