September 24th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today called on members of Congress to “put up or shut up” on defunding the group ACORN, saying “votes in Congress need to do a little more than just provide political cover for members who in the past have enthusiastically supported ACORN.”
Last week, the House voted 345-75 to approve the “Defund ACORN Act.” This had followed the 83-7 vote in the Senate to prohibit ACORN from receiving housing grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
However, the group is still receiving taxpayer funds, says Wilson. “Although the House and Senate have voted, the ‘Defund ACORN Act’ is not yet law,” Wilson said.
ACORN is still eligible for more than $3 billion under the $787 billion “stimulus” spending bill, and $5.5 billion from the 2010 budget. The group is also eligible for over $500 million of an “affordable housing fund” created under the $300 billion Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008.
Since 1994, ACORN has received at least $53 million from American taxpayers, according to the Washington Examiner, and it receives at least 40 percent of its funding tax-funded sources, according to the Consumer Rights League. This fiscal year it has received $1.6 million received thus far for housing services.
“ACORN has been on a PR and lobbying blitz for the past two weeks,” Wilson added. “They need that money or else they would not be fighting so hard to keep it. And so far, they’re keeping it.”
According to Politico, ACORN’s “Washington lobbying shop has been quietly meeting with sympathetic congressional offices, reminding them that ACORN’s services help low-income residents of urban areas. On the legal front, the group is playing hardball, filing a lawsuit Wednesday against the conservative activists who produced the now famous undercover film in which a fake pimp and prostitute ask for tax advice at an ACORN office.”
“Their goal right now is to make certain that the language of the ‘Defund ACORN Act’ never finds its way into a conference report reconciling House and Senate legislation,” Wilson added. “We’ll know that they were successful when it’s stripped out of the conference reports.”
According to the legislation, no organization may receive funding that has “been indicted for a violation under any Federal or State law governing the financing of a campaign for election for public office or any law governing the administration of an election for public office, including a law relating to voter registration… had its State corporate charter terminated due to its failure to comply with Federal or State lobbying disclosure requirements… [or] has filed a fraudulent form with any Federal or State regulatory agency.”
Last week’s votes in the House and Senate resulted from BigGovernment.com’s exposé of undercover videos revealing ACORN’s operations. On the videos, ACORN employees offered assistance to two journalists posing as a pimp and a prostitue, giving advice on how to evade taxes, set up a brothel, and even use minors as prostitutes.
The revelations have already led to the U.S. Census revoking its partnership agreement with ACORN in the official 2010 Census count. And now, the IRS has cut off ties to the group, ending its involvement with the agency’s volunteer tax assistance program.
“Congress still has not done its due diligence in defunding ACORN permanently,” Wilson said. “And until it does, Americans for Limited Government pledges to remind members who have continually supported funding this corrupt racket in spite of its problems with voter registration fraud and supporting loose-lending policies to unqualified buyers.”
In May, 2009, the House voted to fund ACORN in the “Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act” by a vote of 245-176. The legislation was defeated in the Senate.
“The only way Congress can unravel all of the various funding measures in the ‘stimulus,’ in the ‘Foreclosure Prevention Act,’ and other measures is to pass the ‘Defund ACORN Act’ immediately. They should do it now. Before ACORN spends it all,” Wilson concluded.
Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at email@example.com to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.