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The 2009 hidden-camera video that eventually brought down ACORN showed staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp _ a technique that would be frowned on in journalism schools. Some employees appeared willing to support illegal schemes involving tax advice, misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children. A Government Accountability Office report cleared ACORN of criminal activities.

Even so, public pressure led Congress to block previously approved funds from going to ACORN and to stop future payments. Roughly 10 percent of ACORN’s funds came from federal grants and the group eventually disbanded.

Weiner’s downfall began on May 28 when Breitbart’s website posted a lewd photograph of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a Seattle woman.

Initially, Weiner lied, saying his account had been hacked. But he pointedly did not report the incident to law enforcement _ a step that could have led to charges of wrongdoing far more serious than mere sexting. At one point, he told an interviewer that he could not “say with certitude” that he wasn’t the man in the underwear photo.

One of two adopted children, and the son of a Santa Monica restaurateur, Breitbart traced his conservative conversion partly to the 1991 Senate hearings on Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court, which he considered unfair. Before rising to prominence, he was a long-serving underling at the Drudge Report, and was also there during the formative days of the Huffington Post.

Breitbart seldom showed restraint with critics and seemed to savor the negative attention his antics earned him. He once told reporters from the stage at a tea party convention, “It’s not your business model that sucks, it’s you that sucks.”

After Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts died in 2009, Breitbart tweeted, “Rest in Chappaquiddick” and called him “a special pile of human excrement.” When critics questioned his tone, he tweeted they “missed my best ones!”

Breitbart is survived by his wife, Susannah Bean Breitbart, and four children.


Associated Press writers Philip Elliott, Mary Clare Jalonick, Jack Gillum and Brett Blackledge in Washington, Sue Manning and Jeff Wilson in Los Angeles, and Ray Henry in Dalton. Ga., contributed to this report.


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