WASHINGTON (CNN) – The activist community-organizing group ACORN will be the subject of a limited investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general, the internal watchdog office announced Monday.
Inspector General Glenn Fine said he is opening the review in response to a request from the top Republican on a key House Committee.
In a brief letter to Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, Fine said he will investigate whether ACORN applied for or received any Justice Department grant funds, and if so, whether the Justice Department had conducted any audits or reviews of ACORN's use of such funds.
Smith, who also wants the FBI to open a full criminal investigation, is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.
He said he was pleased by the inspector general's decision.
"The IG's report will help Congress ensure that money allocated to support law enforcement efforts is not instead used to support criminal
conduct," he said.
ACORN has been under fire from conservative critics following the public release of secretly taped videos that showed a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute receiving advice from some ACORN employees on how to hide their purported activities so they could obtain housing assistance.
Controversy prompted by the videotapes led to the firing of four ACORN employees, an internal ACORN investigation, and a slashing of some ACORN funds by both the House and the Senate.