New ACORN report highlights dormant controversy 

Last year's controversy over the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a left-wing group that draws much of its funding from the taxpayer, probably helped begin the turning of public opinion against special government subsidies for liberal groups. It has since been eclipsed by the Obama administration's subsequent and ambitious legislative action, but it remains important.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has not forgotten about it. Hie has released his second long report on ACORN based on "over 50,000 pages of documents: from ACORN offices in California and Oklahoma," and containing information gleaned "from ACORN insiders in Missouri, Colorado, New York and Louisiana, and from Secretary of State investigations in nearly every state"

The ranking Republican on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, who speaks at CPAC today, asserts that a judicial decision blocking Congress's efforts to stop funding ACORN amounts to a new bailout, because ACORN is currently on the precipice financially. Meanwhile, even as it continues to draw down the taxpayer's hard-earned dollar, ACORN's affairs remain a shadowy mess of mixed private, non-profit and government money characterized by collusion between various organizations.

Committee investigators have identified hundreds of ACORN bank accounts, shell organizations incorporated under different sections of the internal revenue code, and even an ACORN controlled accounting firm (Citizens Consulting Inc.) that helps ACORN obscure the true use of charitable donations and taxpayer funds. Documents and testimony from ACORN whistleblowers reveal that ACORN activities – despite contentions that they are intended to help the poor – fulfill a more self-serving and political purpose for ACORN. ACORN is well aware of the legal problems its political activities create as its own attorneys have acknowledged and outlined the potential for criminal and civil violations in private documents for senior ACORN officials.

The report also studies collusion between ACORN and the Service Employees International Union, giving special attention to the "Muscle for Money" program we covered extensively last year:

Muscle for the Money involves using non-profit corporations for electioneering activities and an SEIU strategy to threaten corporations and banks into brokering deals for ACORN’s financial benefit. SEIU and Project Vote used litigation to force demands from government officials. ACORN, through Project Vote, threatened State Secretary of State offices with lawsuits, thus forcing political compromises at the expense of taxpayers.

For more details, have a look at the full 68-page report. ACORN could become an issue once again later this year as new investigations come to their completion and when Congress decides during the next appropriations season whether to continue funding ACORN and similar groups.

About The Author

David Freddoso

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David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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