Sep 16 2009
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.