Accuracy in Media

ACORN continues to come under fire even as U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) moved an amendment on the House floor that would allow non-profit organizations, such as the aforementioned group, easy access to federal funds.

The non-profit organization has been indicted for voter-fraud in 12 different states. Other recent cases include voter fraud charges by Nevada authorities on May 4. Also, on May 7, Allegheny County, Pa., officials brought forgery and election-law violation charges against seven ACORN employees.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill on May 14, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) questioned Congress’ wisdom of continuing to direct taxpayers’ money into ACORN’s coffers despite the charges brought against the organization.

Accompanying Rep. Bachmann at the press conference was a former ACORN employee, Anita Moncrief, who decided to blow the whistle on the organization’s fraudulent dealings.

Moncrief spoke of the organization’s voter fraud dealings of which she was a witness when she worked for ACORN in 2005. “Employees would be told never to ask people whether they were registered to vote, but instead get their surnames.” According to Moncrief, these names would be used to forge voter registers.

Rep. Frank’s amendment would repeal, Rep. Bachmann’s proposed amendment to prevent organizations indicted for voter fraud and other related crimes from receiving federal funding.

Earlier, Rep. Frank, who is the House Financial Services Committee Chairman, had accepted Rep. Bachmann’s amendment, which was also adopted unanimously. However, according to Rep. Bachmann (who also serves on the committee), “A few hours later, Mr. Frank flipped saying he had reservations about my amendment and wanted to make changes that would gut its meaning and intent.”

Rep Frank’s argued that the “mere institution of an investigation” should not “shut down lawful activity.”

Speaking at the press conference, Rep. Bachmann expressed disappointment over Rep. Frank’s turn-around, saying that denying organizations under investigation tax-payers’ funds did not amount to taking away the due process. “Do organizations have a right to tax-payers’ money no matter what they do?” she asked. She called on Congress to set the bar high on organizations that receive federal money.

Rep Bachmann said that ACORN has received at least $53 million in tax dollars since 1994. She also revealed that ACORN is also set to receive $3 billion from the economic stimulus bill and another $5.5 billion from the 2010 federal budget.

Also at the press conference was Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) Vice President Heather Heidelbaugh. The lawyer stated that Congress has a constitutional requirement to act in the best interest of American citizens by conducting a thorough investigation on ACORN.

The recent charges against ACORN have raised concern over the organization’s credibility to participate in the 2010 census. ACORN is among 281 non-profit groups and 111 corporations that have so far signed partnership agreements with the Census Bureau.

According to Ken Blackwell, the Former Secretary of State in Ohio, one state where the group is active, ACORN’s involvement could lead people to seriously question the integrity and objectivity of the census. The one-time Ohio gubernatorial candidate called for transparency and bipartisan oversight.

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