(CNN) – Embattled community group ACORN, which come under rising Republican attack, hit back hard late Friday over a new Web video released by the McCain campaign.
The online video seeks to link Sen. Barack Obama to ACORN, and accuses the group of engaging practices at the heart of the nation's current financial troubles. ACORN "bull[ied] banks" and engaged in "intimidation tactics," says the ad. "ACORN forced banks to issue risky home loans. The same types of loans that caused the financial crisis we're in today."
ACORN denied the charges. "For more than a decade, ACORN members have held protests, released reports and advocated for regulations to protect homeowners from predatory lenders," ACORN president Maude Hurd said in a statement. "If John McCain thinks that community organizers caused the foreclosure crisis, he knows even less about the economy than previously thought."
At a Thursday campaign event, McCain personally called for an investigation of ACORN; the same day, prominent Republicans in Congress said any federal funds going to the organization should be cut off. On Friday, a small group of Republicans in the House of Representatives who had all administered election systems as Secretaries of States asked the Attorney General to conduct an investigation into allegations some of ACORN's extensive voter registration activities had veered into voter fraud.
In addition to the Web video, the McCain campaign held a conference call Friday that highlighted Sen. Obama's ties to ACORN, and allegations of wrongdoing by the group. The Republican National Committee also launched a new Web site Friday that had similar themes.