Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ACORN Funding Investigations Open Across the Nation

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R) has cut funding to ACORN amid the widening scandal facing the group.
"I have instructed the State Fiscal Officer to conduct a comprehensive review of the state's relationship with ACORN, and all state agencies are to cut off funding for any current contracts with ACORN to the extent the law permits," Governor Barbour said.

Mississippi joins a growing list of states severing ties to the group after a video was released showing employees in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn, N.Y., advising two undercover activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute to lie about the prostitute's profession, suggested they launder the money and advised how to hide underage prostitutes.
San Diego's Board of Supervisors might go back and audit the group's voter registrations. Nice. Isn't that a little late? Considering that the group has repeatedly been caught engaging in voter registration fraud - a separate and distinct issue from actual voter fraud - it should have opened an investigation long ago. The ACORN office in San Diego says that if their voter registrations should be audited, so should all the other registrations. Good point (even if broken clocks are right twice a day). Local and state elections officials have repeatedly shirked their responsibilities to confirm that those who register to vote are actually eligible to vote (including failing to cull the deceased from voter rolls). But, special scrutiny should be paid to ACORN-related registrations primarily because of the flexible moral and ethical conduct of ACORN employees as witnessed on the multitude of videos.

Maryland Attorney General has finally launched an investigation into ACORN activities, stemming from the video showing the Baltimore office's gross misconduct. That's after Baltimore officials appear more than willing to overlook matters:
Hours after the Justice Department's inspector general announced Monday that he plans a review of funding to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Maryland's top law enforcement officer also moved to launch an investigation.

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) asked and received permission from Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute "conduct involving" ACORN.

Gansler's investigation effectively usurps Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. She had called the secret taping of ACORN employees giving tax advice to a man and woman posing as a pimp and prostitute illegal under Maryland's requirement for two-party consent for audio recordings.

"As time went on, it became clear that the local authorities were not going to look into it," said Raquel Guillory, Gansler's spokeswoman. "It's obviously something that needed to be looked into, and that's why we've taken this step."
Baltimore's more interested in prosecuting James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles than going after the gross misconduct at ACORN. Curious how that works. Instead of trying to deal with the huge mess that O'Keefe and Giles kicked over with their expose, Baltimore's prosecutor wants to hit the duo. Nice.

It's also good to see that the US Justice Department is finally opening an investigation. They're going to look for improprieties in any funding obtained through the Department. I would suggest that Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services likewise open investigations given that ACORN may have obtained funds through both of those agencies as well as part of their homeowner assistance programs and other community programs.

Such investigations are long overdue (going back years in fact), but there is no way one can possibly ignore the mess.

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