The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday to end all federal funding for the liberal community activist group ACORN, the latest blow to the embattled organization since videos surfaced last week that showed its workers counseling a supposed prostitute on how to cheat on taxes and loan applications.
The Republican-sponsored measure, dubbed the "Defund ACORN Act," passed in a 345-75 procedural vote as part of a student loan reform bill. Two members voted present.
It was a startling rebuke from the Democrat-led Congress, which in the past has supported ACORN steadfastly in the face of conservative criticisms that it skirts tax laws and election rules while heavily supporting Democratic candidates and liberal causes.
Republicans savored the victory.
"ACORN has violated serious federal laws, and today the House voted to ensure that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to fund this corrupt organization," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican. "All federal ties should be severed with ACORN, and the FBI should investigate its activity."
He called the vote "a victory for the rule of law and taxpayers across the country."
The House vote was one in a series of setbacks for ACORN since the sting videos surfaced. The Obama administration last week canceled plans for the group to work on the 2010 Census, and a Senate vote Monday blocked all funding for ACORN in the 2010 housing appropriations bill.
ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis announced Wednesday a suspension on accepting any new clients for the organization's service programs and an independent audit of the organization's systems and processes in an effort to address the scandal.