One of the most egregious abuses of your hard-earned money has been federal funding for ACORN. This non-profit organization is no stranger to controversy. But its seemingly endless entanglement with criminal investigations, indictments, and consent decrees for voter registration fraud and related crimes in more than a dozen states across the nation didn’t even faze Washington.
Since 1993, ACORN has received $53 million in direct taxpayer-funded assistance. Since January of this year, ACORN has been made eligible for another $8.5 billion through the “stimulus” and the fiscal year 2010 budget. And in May, the House Financial Services Committee considered another bill that would use the taxpayer funds from the Wall Street bailout (TARP) to subsidize a $1.5 billion housing slush fund. So, ACORN could have access to as much as $10 billion more.
And, all the while that Congress and President Obama have been making deposits into ACORN’s trust fund, the scandalous headlines continued: "Nevada charges ACORN illegally paid to sign voters" (AP 05/05/09), "ACORN workers charged with forging voter registrations" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 05/07/09), "Feds give ACORN more money despite indictments" (Examiner 05/23/09), "ACORN Ohio probe underway, illegal voting indictment available" (Capital Research Center 06/05/09), "11 accused of faking voter registration cards in Miami-Dade" (Miami Herald 09/09/09) — to name just a smattering.
It took the release of a series of undercover videos showing ACORN workers in several states advising a couple on how to evade tax laws and get housing grants for setting up an underage prostitution ring to make Congress remember that it has a fiduciary duty to the taxpayers.
For months, I have fought to cut ACORN off. Accessing tax dollars is a privilege, and ACORN’s repeated violations of the law and public trust mean they haven’t earned that privilege. I have introduced legislation (the Taxpayer Protection and Anti-Fraud Act), offered amendments, held press conferences and written letters to the IRS, the Census Bureau, the Speaker of the House, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development — to anyone who could take action to stop this abuse of your money.
The Democrats took no heed of any of this until now. While they countenanced election fraud with a wink and a nod, apparently the outrage of the American people over ACORN aiding and abetting prostitution caught their attention. And, with overwhelming bipartisanship, Democrats finally joined Republicans and passed amendments cutting off ACORN in both the House and Senate.
Yet, as you read this piece, not one dime has stopped flowing to ACORN. We must keep the pressure on both chambers to make sure their recent votes are more than just a publicity stunt to appease the outraged public. Make them deliver! Two votes on two entirely different bills in two different chambers never the ‘tween shall meet. To actually end in the promised result — that is, closing the door on ACORN’s federal funding entirely — each chamber needs to pass the same language and get it to the President’s desk — language intact — for his signature into law.
We know Washington can move quickly when it wants to — witness how the cash infusion for Cash for Clunkers sailed through in a matter of hours.
Until Congress acts with similar unanimity of purpose, it remains to be seen if it really has the nerve, and the desire, to take the necessary and proper actions against this corrupt organization, putting them out of business once and for all.
And rather than wait and hope for Congress to do the right thing, President Obama can and should act now. The President must use his authority to suspend and bar ACORN from federal funding. The evidence against ACORN is ample, and the time for him to make the decision is now. Most Democrats in Congress have seen the writing on the wall. Even the Census Bureau has severed all ties with ACORN for the 2010 census. President Obama, the taxpayers are waiting to see whose side you will choose — theirs or ACORN’s.
It is time for President Obama to step up to his fiduciary duties to you, the taxpayer, and immediately suspend and bar ACORN from any federal programs or funding.