Members of Congress cannot ignore the fallout from the hidden camera exposes of ACORN that have been all over the news within the last week. Several of them are now calling on the Inspectors General for several federal agencies, including the Justice Department, to determine whether ACORN has received agency grants.
Now, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., both the ranking members of their chambers’ government oversight panels, are asking other agencies to do the same.
The federal agencies and departments asked to “review grants, contracts, entitlements and other forms of assistance to ACORN and its affiliates” included the Housing and Urban Development, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Treasury Department, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Labor Department, Small Business Administration and Corporation for National and Community Service.
“As long as taxpayers are subsidizing ACORN and its affiliates, we need to use every measure possible to ensure that those dollars are being spent and managed appropriately,” Issa said in a written statement. “The way in which ACORN and its affiliates have structured their organization raises significant questions regarding their intent and use of federal dollars. Clearly just taking them at their word is not sufficient enough oversight.”
Meanwhile on Sunday, ACORN’s top officer Bertha Lewis dodged repeated calls to come before Congress and testify about the embattled group’s finances and ties to other organizations.
I would be willing to bet that ACORN has gotten Justice grants, Labor grants, Americorps grants…..how else do people think they have survived this long? The other place I would look is the Energy Department.
ACORN itself is trying to blunt calls for a wider, independent investigation by outside groups (or by government agencies like the Justice Department itself) by naming a former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to conduct an internal investigation. Harshbarger is also the former president and chief executive of Common Cause.
Justice ought to have opened an investigation into this group many years ago, and the Attorney General should have planted himself in front of a microphone last week to announce a nationwide task force and probe. Does any else besides me think he would have given himself a hernia running for the mike had the target been a right-of-center activist group?
But, what if it is discovered that the Justice Department has, in effect, aided and abetted the activities of ACORN by providing it with millions of dollars in resources? What impact will that have on the ability of the Department to conduct an investigation of the group? Stay tuned…
Filed under: Pork