September 17th, 2009
04:59 PM ET
5 years ago

House passes amendment to cut government funding for ACORN

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives on Thursday approved an amendment that calls for halting government funding to the community organizing group ACORN.

The measure, added to a larger bill on reforming student loans that won House approval, follows a provision passed earlier in the week by the Senate that would halt Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN.

Both measures would have to have their differences reconciled in Congress to take effect. In addition, ACORN's chief executive officer says the group gets most of its money from members and other supporters, and its operations would continue even if it is cut off from government grants.

However, approval of the House and Senate measures demonstrated the political fallout against ACORN following recent reports of videos that appeared to show the agency's employees condoning illegal actions.

The videos were secretly taped by two individuals posing as a prostitute and a pimp. They show ACORN employees in four of the agency's offices suggesting or condoning a series of illicit actions as the couple sought advice on setting up a brothel with underage women from El Salvador.

On Wednesday, ACORN' CEO Bertha Lewis announced administrative steps to respond to the videos.

"We have all been deeply disturbed by what we've seen in some of these videos," Lewis said. "I must say on behalf of ACORN's board and our Advisory Council that we will go to whatever lengths necessary to re-establish the public trust."

The steps announced include an immediate halt in hiring for all ACORN offices, an immediate training program for all front-line staff, and selection of an independent auditor by the end of this week.

Also Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller signaled a potential federal investigation of the organization.

In response to a description of the highly publicized videotapes by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Mueller told a congressional hearing that he had just learned of the matter.

"Clearly, given what you have said, it's something in consultation with the Department of Justice that we would look at," Mueller said.

At least 11 states already have been investigating ACORN - an acronym for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - for alleged voter registration fraud stemming from the general election in 2008.

The videos by filmmaker James O'Keefe and his colleague Hannah Giles have caused ACORN to fire four employees shown on the tapes.

The videos were shot in ACORN offices in New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington; and San Bernardino, California. ACORN claims the film team also attempted but failed to "trick" employees in several other cities to make incriminating statements.

On it's Web site, ACORN, which was founded in 1970, describes itself as "the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities."

–CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Terry Frieden contributed to this story.


Filed under: ACORN • Congress • FBI
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. sifto77

    About time CNN has a comment on this–unfortunately, Fox has beat you big time–they have been covering this for at least a year.

    September 17, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Dan

    ACORN has many sub-organizations and so on and so forth... all are irresponsible bunch of no-good-doers. Can all of them be taken care of please, otherwise the act is meaningless cosmetics...

    September 17, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Mike in MN

    That's one of the few things the Dems got right in a long time.

    September 17, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. Enough

    Cut ALL funding to this corrupt organization. The corruption stems further than their latest caught on tape. ACORN should be closed down altogether. The media has largely ignored ACORNS dirty dealings, but their latest corruption was just too much to brush under the rug.

    CNN would enjoy a history of ACORNS corruption actions and a report on the convictions prior to their latest.

    September 17, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. SallySue

    It's past due for ACORN to be investigated for their criminal actions.

    September 17, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Georgia

    Wilson is a MORON! He is the one that "lies" about what is in the proposals. In fact – have any of the Republican law makers even read any of the proposals??? Riiiiighttt!

    Look at the State of So. Carolina. It is absolutely the worst state in the country in every category except for golf courses. GOOD WORK Wilson!

    Republican's = Incompetence!

    September 17, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Proud Member..Party of No

    Well, well, well, the favorite organization of Barry Obama and the democrats turns out to be as corrupt as conservatives have said all along. Do you democrats ever get tired of being wrong?

    Wake up people, this administration just keeps getting worse.

    September 17, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Curmudgeon

    Watch all of the avid supporters of this deeply flawed organization run for cover.

    September 17, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    How much criminality and malfeasance is required to cut these urban parasites off from the money they can't raise on their own?

    September 17, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. HUGO

    And so it begins, the beginning of the end for this Administration and all those on the dole to the theft of our hard earned tax dollars. Let's see how our illustrious Attorney General handles this one, we shall see who is the cowardly American!

    September 17, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Bob the Observer

    Would they have still voted the same way if they were actually funding ACORN? And does this have anything at all to do with the "stimulus" money that ACORN gets?

    The house would better serve the public by launching criminal investigations into voter fraud and intimidation. That's what ACORN does best.

    September 17, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. SLM

    Shut this corrupt organization down and provide NO more tax payer dollars. They were scheduled to receive 8.5 billion more from OUR pockets. And they wonder why there are Tea parties!! How does this administration filled with tax cheats and crooks think they can run our healthcare?

    September 17, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. JGB

    They know they better cut off funding or they will be out of a job. Somehow those 7, including the little weasel Roland Burris voted against cutting off funding. AH, but he is from corrupt Illinois, where this type of behavior is just business as usual!

    September 17, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Thomas5

    Good. Now make them pay back the money they have already received down through the years.

    September 17, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. annie against biased news

    What is sad is that it took to young people to investigate acorn (not the government run news media which shows you journalism is dead) and most of us REAL AMERICAN CITIZENS are just sitting here waiting for congress to reverse their vote on de-funding acorn. That is just how corrupt our government is and now no one can trust them on anything!

    September 17, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    Congress and Eric Holder I hope you investigate ACORN. America is watching you all in D.C. Thanks Glenn

    September 17, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    I suppose Obama will play dumb on this one too.

    I don't know ACORN.
    I didn't order the NYC flyover.
    I didn't order the assassinations in countries with no war declaration.
    I didn't attend the Re.vWright church.
    I didn't hear Farrakan endorse me.
    I never said I endorse single payer / public option

    Same 'ol same 'ol.

    September 17, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. Mike in MN

    Good job. Now we just have to clean up the corrupt Democratic party.
    Pelosi, Rangel, Reid, Dodd, Frank, Obama, Obama's czars, and on and on.
    How about the SEIU too!
    Van Jones and ACORN and counting. It's time to drain the swamp of the radical left.

    September 17, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. JayG

    This organization is a corrupt piece of garbage.

    September 17, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Quint

    It's about time!

    September 17, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. Julie

    Let's hope this starts an investigation into the actions of ALL

    September 17, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. makesUwonder

    Well, Government I want my money back that you gave to this corrupt organization.

    September 17, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Julie

    Let's hope this starts an investigation process into ALL groups that receive any kind of federal funding. Anyone who receives taxpayer money should have to answer to the taxpayer for how it is spent or they should be cut from all programs. I'm sure there's a very long list to go through.

    September 17, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  24. JayG

    I find it unreal that nobody but FoxNews has been covering the corruption by Acorn. Finally Cnn is actually showing this. Good luck seeing MSNBC ever cover this.

    September 17, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  25. Lynne

    Now Congress needs to investigate the money and people behind the tea party organizers!!

    September 17, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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