Citing massive irregularities and gross taxpayer funding abuses, federal investigators are recommending that government funding for ACORN’s still operating housing affiliate be cut off immediately.
Investigators may also have wanted to remind the public that ACORN is still alive. Reports of ACORN’s demise continue to be churned out by misinformed journalists who amplify the zombie group’s lies. In recent days the Washington Post incorrectly described ACORN as “a dead NGO,” and Slate said ACORN has “stopped existing.” More on this in a moment.
The Sept. 21 report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General found that ACORN Housing, which changed its name earlier this year to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHC), may have concealed fraud by destroying or failing to produce records.
ACORN violated federal rules on how grants are to be used. The group charged the government salary costs for employees after they were terminated, the report said, and violated federal procurement standards.
The report suggested ACORN corruptly funneled taxpayer dollars to its affiliates and engaged in money laundering. ACORN has taken in more than $19 million in housing counseling grants since 1995 from HUD. NeighborWorks, a congressionally chartered nonprofit, gave ACORN $25.9 million. ACORN Housing has received more than $27.3 million from other federal and non-federal sources, the report said.
It also urged HUD to force ACORN Housing to improve its record-keeping and recommended the ACORN affiliate be placed on “inactive” status while it “initiates corrective actions to address the exceptions and recommendations in this report.”
“Any organization that applies for and accepts taxpayer dollars has a responsibility to act consistently with federal law,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). “It doesn’t matter if it’s ten dollars or ten thousand dollars, there is no acceptable amount of abuse or mismanagement that the federal government should tolerate when it comes to the taxpayer’s dollars.”
Issa is ranking minority member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He is expected to become chairman if Republicans win control of the House in November.
Most reporters uncritically accepted ACORN’s false claim to have shut down earlier this year despite abundant evidence to the contrary. ACORN said it dissolved its national structure on April Fool’s Day, yet the group continues to operate out of its headquarters in Brooklyn. Two weeks after the alleged shutdown Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis sent out a fundraising letter boasting that “ACORN is alive because you are alive and still fighting for justice.” Lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz is still representing ACORN. He sent a letter June 9 to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) demanding changes to a report on his client.
Both ACORN operative Nathan Henderson-James and its hagiographer John Atlas have admitted the shuttering of the ACORN network is a sham. Issa’s investigators also reported that Lewis has been busy consolidating and hoarding ACORN’s assets. The group reportedly has $10 million in property and $20 million in cash in 800 bank accounts. Like grifters who adopt new aliases in order to keep duping victims, ACORN chapters in 13 states and the District of Columbia have incorporated themselves under new names. Many of the “new” re-branded groups have the same employees and board members and addresses as the old ACORN chapters.
That’s a lot of activity for a group that’s dead.