ACORN and other leftist groups eligible to get nearly $4 billion in Obama's fiscal 2011 budget

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*Updated 2/12/10

To add to the list of outrageous earmarks in Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget, it appears left-wing activist groups including ACORN, the embezzlement-prone, voter-registration-fraud-plagued community organizing group, are eligible to receive up to $3.99 billion in taxpayer-backed slush money. 

The funds would come indirectly from the Community Development Block Grant, one of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s longest-running programs. The grant money goes to state and local governments. ACORN and other groups can apply for part of it directly from a local municipality in which an arm of their group is active.

“In that sense, ACORN gets lots of money from the CDBG program—but it is nearly impossible to track it because HUD doesn’t track all the money” after it has gone to local and state governments, said Matthew Vadum, a senior editor at Capital Research Center. “Nobody knows how much ACORN, which has hundreds of different affiliates, has actually received over the years in CDBG funding.”

In the past ACORN has also even received matching funds “from other sources” when it has gotten CDBG money, Vadum said. According to a 1997 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article, ACORN added $250,000 in matching funds to a $50,500 contract the ACORN Fair Housing Program received “to help low- and moderate-income families buy homes.”

The HUD Web site cryptically defines the grant’s purpose as providing “communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs,” not a reassuring description given the group’s recent past history of aiding the community through gratuitous misappropriation of funds.   

Has Congress already forgotten the Sept. 2009 ban it passed on ACORN and ACORN-affiliate funding? Or the video that led to the ban, footage showing ACORN employees urging individuals they thought were a prostitute and her pimp to set up a brothel and advising the pair on evading taxpaying? It would have had a hard time doing so, considering that ACORN is currently suing the federal government for the attempted ban.

Though the largely Democratic House Appropriations Committee voted against the block last December, it is a Bill Clinton-appointee, U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon, who has truly aided the corrupt ACORN cause. Also in December, Gershon issued a temporary injunction against the Congressional funding ban, crying that it ran afoul of the Constitution because under it, ACORN was “singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process adjudicating guilt.” 

In essence, Gershon has said ACORN can’t be punished now because the Obama administration failed to punish it earlier—through a long-overdue, much-needed criminal investigation into the group. But this is absurd, because ACORN is not entitled to such funding; it is a gift, not a right. Congress has the right to cancel contracts whenever it feels like it.

Just ask Blackwater, a company we are wondering whether Gershon would so heroically rush to defend were it to make the same move ACORN is now making.

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Anath Hartmann

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