Sep 15 2009

Shelby Calls for ACORN Investigation

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking Republican on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today wrote to committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General, Kenneth Donohue, calling for an immediate and thorough investigation into the activities of the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). 

Shelby’s call for an investigation follows recent news reports surrounding the arrest of individuals in Florida for falsifying voter applications while employed by ACORN leading up to the 2008 elections, as well as video of employees in multiple ACORN offices offering to falsify tax documents and to aid in obtaining a mortgage for individuals purported to be engaged in prostitution and employing underage illegal immigrants. 
Shelby’s announcement also comes on the heels of overwhelming Senate approval of a measure prohibiting taxpayer funding for ACORN under the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010.  The measure, which passed by staggering 83-7 margin, was supported by Banking Committee Chairman, Christopher Dodd.

“Last night’s vote served as a resounding rebuke on behalf of American taxpayers regarding the activities of ACORN,” said Shelby.  “While this vote is important, it is limited in scope and we must know more.  It is imperative that we proceed immediately to investigate what appears to be ACORN’s stunning disregard for the law and abuse of taxpayer funds.  Such an investigation would serve as the basis for determining not only whether ACORN is worthy of receiving other federal funds this year, but ever again.”

The recent reports add to a litany of reported incidences over several years within the organization, which has for decades received federal funds, including millions under the jurisdiction of the Senate Banking Committee.  ACORN is now eligible for additional taxpayer money under the economic stimulus legislation enacted earlier this year.

The full text of the letters is below.

September 15, 2009

Senator Christopher J. Dodd
Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
534 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Dodd:

I write to you today to request that you launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the activities of the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Specifically, this committee needs to determine if ACORN is acting legally and ethically in the expenditure of taxpayer dollars and whether the organization should continue to be eligible to receive these funds.

In recent days, numerous news reports have surfaced surrounding: 1) the arrest of individuals in Florida for falsifying voter applications while employed by ACORN, leading up to the 2008 elections; and 2) video of employees in ACORN offices of Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Brooklyn, New York, offering to falsify tax documents and to aid in obtaining a mortgage for individuals purporting to be engaged in prostitution and employing underage illegal immigrants.

These scandals add to numerous other reported incidences within the organization over many years including: embezzlement of nearly one million dollars by the brother of the organization’s founder; charges of additional voter registration fraud in other states; and the stripping of federal grants following findings that ACORN used federal money to promote legislation.

ACORN has been receiving federal money for decades including millions under the jurisdiction of the Senate Banking Committee and is eligible for additional money now as a result of the stimulus legislation enacted earlier this year.  As such, it is vital that the committee undertake a prompt review of the activities of this organization.

I look forward to working with you to ensure the American taxpayer’s money is being spent wisely and legally.

Sincerely,
Richard Shelby

 

September 15, 2009

The Honorable Kenneth M. Donohue
Inspector General
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410

Dear Mr. Inspector General,

I write to you today to request that you launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the activities of the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Specifically, I ask that you investigate whether ACORN is acting legally in the expenditure funding it has received from HUD and whether it is maintaining ethical standards throughout the entire organization to determine whether it should maintain its eligibility for these funds.

In recent days, numerous news reports have surfaced surrounding: 1) the arrest of individuals in Florida for falsifying voter applications while employed by ACORN, leading up to the 2008 elections; and 2) video of employees in ACORN offices of Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Brooklyn, New York, offering to falsify tax documents and aid in obtaining a mortgage for individuals purporting to be engaged in prostitution and employing underage illegal immigrants.
                                   
These scandals add to numerous other reported issues within the organization over many years including: embezzlement of nearly one million dollars by the brother of the organization’s founder; charges of additional voter registration fraud in other states; and the stripping of federal grants following findings that ACORN used federal money to promote legislation.

ACORN has been receiving federal money for decades including millions from HUD.  Furthermore, ACORN is eligible for additional money as a result of the stimulus legislation enacted earlier this year.  As such, it is vital that you undertake a prompt review of the activities of this organization.

I look forward to working with you to ensure the American taxpayer’s money is being spent wisely and legally.

Sincerely,

Richard Shelby