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ACORN remains funded

| Sunday, July 17, 2011

ACORN employees have been nailed time and time again for fraudulently registering voters -- including Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys -- allegedly for the purpose of sweeping Democrats into office.

They were caught on tape advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration and child prostitution laws.

They were unceremoniously kicked off a U.S. Census Bureau program. And ultimately, the organization was officially "defunded" by Congress and President Obama.

You remember the funding ban, right• It was seemingly a signature moment for Barack Obama (known to many as "The ACORN President") when he signed a law on Oct. 1, 2009, known as the Defund ACORN Act, which effectively prohibited the federal government from funding "ACORN and any ACORN-related affiliate."

Following a lawsuit filed by ACORN challenging the law -- which passed both branches of Congress by wide margins -- the federal courts in New York upheld the constitutionality of the funding ban on Aug. 13, 2010. And the Supreme Court last month refused to hear ACORN's appeal.

So it appeared the matter was settled. No taxpayer dollars for the corrupt ACORN and its affiliates. But not so fast.

On March 1, Obama's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a $79,819 federal grant to ACORN-spinoff ACHOA to "educate the public and housing providers about their rights and obligations under federal, state, and local fair housing laws."

In September 2010, the Government Accountability Office issued a controversial and ridiculous advisory opinion stating that ACHOA is technically a separate entity from ACORN and should not be subject to the funding ban. However, the government's website listing federal expenditures identifies the organization receiving this grant as "ACORN Housing Corporation Inc," and even lists ACORN's New Orleans address.

Moreover ACHOA maintains the same board of directors, executive director and offices as its predecessor, ACORN Housing Corporation Inc.

Make no mistake -- ACHOA is ACORN and this grant is a clear violation of the funding ban. But it is also an especially irresponsible waste of taxpayer dollars, considering the documented corruption at ACORN Housing/ACHOA.

At least two separate inspector general investigations at HUD concluded that ACORN Housing/ACHOA misappropriated federal funds. In one case, the organization destroyed documents to conceal the criminal activity.

So why is ACORN still on the government dole, instead of the focus of a major federal corruption investigation?

In November 2007, then-Sen. Obama addressed ACORN and thanked the organization for its work.

"I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career," the president said.

Barack Obama served as the Illinois executive director of Project Vote in 1992. His campaign also paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN organization to help "get out the vote" in his successful primary campaign against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.

And Obama is not the only one at the White House pitching for ACORN. As reported by The New York Times in 2009, "perhaps no administration official has had more interaction with ACORN than (Shaun) Donovan," who is Obama's secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Personal ties do not alone account for the Obama administration's continued generous support of ACORN. The Obama gang wants to make sure that ACORN is around to help it again in 2012 as they seek to keep power, even if it means violating the law.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch.

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