As we rapidly approach December 18th, the day when ACORN is again eligible to receive federal funds, we still have yet to see a meaningful investigation of ACORN.
Last week, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice released a “Review of Department of Justice Grants to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Inc. (ACORN) and its Affiliated Organizations.” Unsurprisingly this report “did not find any DOJ direct grants to ACORN.” The report did however reveal approximately $200,000 in sub-grants to ACORN affiliates. This number pales in comparison to the amount of federal money ACORN and its affiliates have received from other agencies.
ACORN and its affiliates have received over $54 million in federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These are the grants that the government should be investigating. How did ACORN spend these federal tax dollars? Were they used for their designated purposes? Does ACORN owe the federal government a refund?
The Department of Justice should have answered calls to investigate ACORN’s criminal and fraudulent activity. The evidence continues to mount, and the Department of Justice continues to look the other way.
Last week Representative Vernon Ehlers, along with Reps. Mary Bono and Connie Mack, introduced House Resolution 911, a resolution “Requesting the Attorney General to appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations regarding the organization ACORN.” The resolution calls on Attorney General Holder to appoint a special counsel because:
“Whereas there has not been a cohesive approach to investigating these allegations;
“Whereas a special counsel should be appointed to investigate, in a cohesive manner, the allegations that Federal monies are possibly being used illegally by ACORN or any of its affiliates, both formal and informal, including all subsidiaries and entities controlled by ACORN;
“Whereas a special counsel should also investigate ACORN’s relationship with all allied organizations and any individual or organization that has been complicit in the criminal activity of ACORN and its employees;”
Representative Ehlers is right; it’s time that the Obama administration takes a serious look into ACORN and the mounting evidence of its wrongdoing. Sadly, the failure to investigate ACORN has not been limited to the Obama Administration.
Representatives John Conyers and Jerry Nadler have failed to launch Congressional hearings into ACORN. Conyers has noted that “the powers that be” won’t allow them.
Even ACORN’s “internal investigation” has yet to yield any results. When ACORN’s “Independent” Advisory Council appointed former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to conduct an internal review he promised preliminary findings by the end of October. As we near the end of November ACORN has yet to publically release any information regarding Harshbarger’s findings, yet this has not stopped them from carrying on their business as usual. Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) Chairman David A. Norcross has called on ACORN “to announce their findings and produce meaningful answers into the issues raised by the ACORN 8, speak to the consequences of the Rathke embezzlement, including its cover up, and address the money laundering that has taken place at its affiliates.”
Rather than addressing the many flaws of the organization, ACORN is instead choosing to attack those who dared to expose them. Hannah Giles, James O’Keefe, and Andrew Breitbart have been sued for exposing ACORN employees counseling individuals on how to evade IRS regulations and engage in criminal activity. ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief has also been sued by ACORN. They haven’t stopped there. ACORN has sued the Pennsylvania Attorney General in an attempt to justify and defend its criminal activity, and most recently ACORN has sued the federal government demanding access to federal funds. ACORN should address its systemic internal problems before attempting to blame and punish others.
While it is comforting that the Department of Justice has not made any
“direct grants” to ACORN, it’s time that Justice mounts a real investigation of
this troubled organization.