ACORN employees have been nailed time and time again for fraudulently registering voters (including Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys football team) — allegedly for the purpose of sweeping Democrats into office. They were caught on tape advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. They were unceremoniously kicked off a U.S. Census Bureau program as a result of a Judicial Watch investigation. And ultimately, the organization was officially cut off from federal funds by Congress and President Obama.
So why is ACORN still receiving taxpayer dollars in defiance of the funding ban? That’s what we’d like to know.
Judicial Watch investigators recently discovered that the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued a $79,819 grant to the Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) — an offshoot of ACORN — in apparent violation of the ACORN funding ban passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2009.
Moreover, this grant was provided to the organization less than a year after ACORN/ACHOA was criticized by HUD’s inspector general in two separate investigations for misappropriating funds from federal grants.
You remember the funding ban, right? It was a signature moment for Barack Obama (dubbed the “ACORN President”) when he signed a law on October 1, 2009, known as the Defund ACORN Act, which effectively prohibited the federal government from funding “ACORN and any ACORN-related affiliate.” Following a lawsuit filed by ACORN challenging the law, which passed both branches of Congress by wide margins, the federal courts in New York upheld the constitutionality of the funding ban on August 13, 2010. The Supreme Court last month refused to hear ACORN’s appeal of this funding ban.
A Judicial Watch investigation revealed that on March 1, 2011, HUD announced a $79,819 federal grant to ACHOA to “educate the public and housing providers about their rights and obligations under federal, state, and local fair housing laws.”
The Government Accountability Office issued a controversial and ridiculous advisory opinion in September 2010 stating that ACHOA is not an “allied organization” of ACORN and is therefore not subject to the funding ban. However, the government’s website listing federal expenditures identifies the organization receiving this grant as “ACORN Housing Corporation Inc.” and even lists ACORN’s New Orleans, Louisiana, address. Moreover ACHOA maintains the same board of directors, executive director and offices as its predecessor, ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc.
Make no mistake, ACHOA is ACORN. So this is a clear violation of the funding ban. But it is also an especially irresponsible waste of taxpayer funds considering the documented corruption at ACORN Housing/ACHOA.
For example, according to a September 21, 2010, HUD inspector general report, which notes that ACORN Housing is “now operating as Affordable Housing Centers of America,” the organization misappropriated funds from a $3,252,399 federal grant. The inspector general concluded that ACORN Housing/ACHOA had charged salary expenses to the HUD grant that “were not fully supported.” The organization also continued to pay its counselors even after they were terminated, did not meet federal procurement standards and allegedly destroyed documents to conceal the fraudulent activity.
The inspector general articulated a number of benchmarks that must first be met by ACHOA before the organization could begin receiving any future federal funds, including reimbursing the government for the misappropriated funds.
A separate November 8, 2010, HUD inspector general report documented additional fraudulent activity by ACORN/ACHOA. The ACORN group “inappropriately expended more than $3.2 million from its fiscal years 2004 and 2005 grants for the elimination of lead poisoning in its housing program,” the report concluded. The misappropriation included the use of funds “not identified in its grant application’s detailed budgets,” including “campaign services” and “grant fundraising activities.”
So why is ACORN still on the government dole, instead of the focus of a major federal corruption investigation? Look no further than the top.
In November 2007, then-Senator Obama addressed ACORN and thanked the organization for its work. Obama has denied that he had any involvement with ACORN other than some legal work he did for them in 1995, but this claim rings hollow when considering statements made by Obama in 2007.
In Senator Obama’s own words: “I've been fighting alongside Acorn [sic] on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, Acorn [sic] was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.” Barack Obama served as the Illinois executive director of Project Vote in 1992. His campaign paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN organization to help “get out the vote” in his successful primary campaign against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.
But Obama is not the only one at the White House pitching for ACORN. As reported by The New York Times in 2009, “perhaps no administration official has had more interaction with Acorn [sic] than [Shaun] Donovan”, who is Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The Times notes that Donovan “worked closely” with ACORN’s politically-powerful New York housing affiliate when he was a New York City housing official. And now he’s helped secure a nice chunk of change for ACORN from HUD’s coffers.
ACORN’s ties to Obama and Donavan run deep. So it is no surprise they would continue to dole out tax dollars to an ACORN affiliate with a documented history of fraudulent activity. This is another instance of President Obama’s appointees stubbornly refusing to follow the law by not denying funding to this crooked organization.
And I have to ask the question: Is the Obama gang ensuring that ACORN is around to help them again in 2012?”
By the way, in 2011, HUD provided $40 million in grants to 108 “fair housing” organizations, representing a $13.2 million increase over the 2010 award. According to HUD’s press announcement, the general purpose of these grants is “to educate the public and combat housing and lending discrimination.” This funding of activist groups like ACORN Housing helped lead to our housing crisis. These socialist revolutionaries leveraged your tax dollars to press for government and mortgage policies that gave housing loans to people who couldn’t afford them. That led to the ongoing mortgage crisis.
You can see that the Obama administration is doing three bad things at once — funding a group barred by law from receiving funds, funding a group that has record of fraud, and funding a group and policies that have helped destroy the housing market (and depressed our economy).
Thankfully, the media has picked up on our story (Fox News Channel extensively covered our new ACORN findings). And I know Congress is almost certain to react.
This is another great example of your support helping Judicial Watch uncover and, hopefully, stop government corruption right in its tracks. In the meantime, I’ll be sure keep you updated as to what happens next with this new Obama ACORN scandal.