Sep 16 2009

Shelby votes to deny funds to ACORN, calls for investigation

Montgomery Advertiser

By Deborah Barfield Berry

Sen. Richard Shelby joined congressional Republicans this week in calling for an investigation into the ac­tivities of the advocacy group ACORN.

House Republican leaders also introduced legislation Tuesday to cut off federal fund­ing and called for a hearing of the group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The group advo­cates on behalf of low-income families.

On Monday, the Senate voted 83-7 to adopt an amendment that would bar the group from get­ting federal funding from a transportation and housing spending bill.

Shelby, who voted for the amendment, called the vote a "resounding rebuke on behalf of American taxpayers regarding the activities of ACORN."

"While this vote is impor­tant, it is limited in scope and we must know more," Shelby, ranking member of the Bank­ing, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said in a statement. "It is impera­ tive that we proceed imme­ diately to in­ vestigate what appears to be ACORN's stun­ ning disregard for the law and abuse of tax­ payer funds."

Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, wrote a letter Tuesday to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chair of the banking committee, and the In­spector General at the Depart­ment of Housing and Urban De­velopment, urging them to investigate.

Law enforcement officials have accused ACORN of engag­ing in voter registration fraud in Nevada last year. The group has denied the allegations.

In a separate incident, videos released last week showed ACORN workers advising an ac­tor posing as a prostitute how to lie on tax forms about her occu­pation.

Other GOP lawmakers, in­cluding Shelby and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, have com­plained about the Census Bu­reau's plans to team up with ACORN to help with the 2010 de­cennial count.

The Census Bureau severed its relationship Friday with ACORN, saying recent contro­versy surrounding the group has become "a distraction from our mission and may even be­come a discouragement to pub­lic cooperation."

Efforts to contact ACORN of­ficials were not successful.