- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
IG: ACORN contracting suspect; some funds diverted
Question of the Day
A government audit said Tuesday that the advocacy group ACORN should pay back $3.2 million in federal funding, mostly because it hasn’t shown that its lead-removal work was performed at a reasonable cost.
The auditors also said some of the grant money was spent inappropriately, including for political campaigns and fundraising.
Congress already has cut off ACORN’s federal funding after heavily publicized charges of voter-registration fraud and embezzlement. In March, the community activist group began closing its operations.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general looked at spending designed to eliminate lead poisoning in low-income housing. The grants covered fiscal 2004 and 2005.
The inspector general said HUD should demand records that document why contractors were selected and records that justify the lack of competition.
Another $1.2 million was found to have been spent on ineligible activities, such as payroll taxes and workers’ compensation insurance. A small portion of that money, about $6,000, went for fundraising and political campaigns.
Attorneys for ACORN disputed the inspector general’s findings. Arthur Z. Schwartz wrote that the audit was severely flawed and ignored that ACORN Associates “reached thousands of Americans and helped clean up thousands of homes.”
Mr. Schwartz said ACORN Associates’ contracting practices were known to HUD officials and expressly or implicitly approved before money was spent. He said many of the organization’s records were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
News of the audit came a day after a former ACORN supervisor agreed to a plea deal in a case charging that canvassers were paid illegally to register Nevada voters during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Amy Busefink, 28, of Seminole, Fla., pleaded the equivalent of a no-contest in state court to two misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters. Her plea acknowledged that the state had evidence for a conviction at trial.
The plea agreement could get Ms. Busefink a year of probation, a $1,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.
Her lawyer, Kevin Stolworthy, said Ms. Busefink has never been in trouble before and entered the plea to “have some finality.”
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq