November 12th, 2009
02:55 PM ET
9 years ago

ACORN files lawsuit over loss of federal funding

ACORN leader Bertha Lewis defended her group at a press conference in Washington last month.

ACORN leader Bertha Lewis defended her group at a press conference in Washington last month.

(CNN) – The embattled community organizing group ACORN filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging a law passed by Congress that denies it federal funding.

Related: Liberal Dem blasts ACORN

The congressional appropriations resolution specifically provides that no federal dollars be provided to ACORN "or any of ACORN's affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations."

In a release announcing the suit, an attorney for ACORN said Congress had overstepped its authority in singling out the organization for denial of federal funding.

"It's not the job of Congress to be the judge, jury, and executioner," Jules Lobel, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said in the statement. "We have due process in this country, and our Constitution forbids lawmakers from singling out a person or group for punishment without a fair investigation and trial. Congress, as well as individuals and organizations must abide by the rule of law."

ACORN's lawsuit alleges that Congress' action is unconstitutional and seeks a court order prohibiting the federal government enforcing or complying with the congressional resolution.

The community organizing group came under increasing scrutiny in recent months after the release of videos produced by two conservative activists. The conservative filmmakers, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, sought advice from ACORN employees on setting up a brothel with underage girls from El Salvador. The activists recorded the videos in Baltimore and three other cities. The tapes show ACORN employees suggesting or condoning a series of illicit actions.

Related: ACORN sues filmmakers

The release of the videos caused federal agencies including the Census Bureau to reconsider their ties to ACORN and precipitated a number of investigations by federal agencies into ACORN's conduct.

Related: IRS inspector general joins entities looking into ACORN

The law passed by Congress denying ACORN federal funding also came in the wake of the release of the controversial videos.

Update: In a statement e-mailed to CNN, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, the Ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, called ACORN's suit "baseless."

Filed under: ACORN • Congress
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. good things are coming---S Callahan

    Should the nations citizens counter sue them for essentially stealing our taxdollars on false promises, and unethical actions, of it's use?

    November 12, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Mark

    Shouldn't acorn executives be thrown in prison for voting and tax payer fraud???

    I like how CNN swept the reports on acorn during the elections.

    November 12, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. as a liberal

    I think ACORN has shown itself to not be able to police itself

    I don't think those two had any idea how damaging that was to ACORN

    but ACORN does not deserve federal funding

    those two jerks that tried multiple times to set up ACORN also need to be prosecuted for violations of applicable state laws

    November 12, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Enough

    Ha, this is classic, the corrupt organization fighting for OUR tax payer dollars. Shut this organization down, no more government funds.

    November 12, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. George

    The supreme court elected George Bush. Will they lose federal funding also?

    November 12, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Big-K

    Now the repugs and acorn haters can bring the so call evidence to the fore front or have their true intent and reasons behind their hate exposed.

    November 12, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. phoenix86

    ACORN is a criminal organization.

    November 12, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Kevin in Ohio

    This organization is just plain CRIMINAL. How dare they sue. Oh, that's right.... most lawyers are very interested in deep pockets. Why should the federal government be immune? They better act fasty, though, as Obama is driving our government toward bankruptcy.

    November 12, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Jaimon

    Constitutional Due Process protects Civil Rights and Property Rights. The bill doesn't put ACORN in jail... so doesn't this assume ACORN has a Constitutionally protected property right to federal funding? Yeesh.

    November 12, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. SLM

    We should be suing them to get OUR money back from this corrupt organization. By the way we have no $$ so we can't be donating anyway.

    November 12, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Richp

    You gotta be kidding me, this is like Manson suing the Tates. While Acorn may have done some good it was hijacked and needs to be broken up NOW.

    November 12, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Where in the constitution does it say that Acorn is entitled to handouts from the government. I don't want my money funding that disgusting group.

    November 12, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Steph

    Go ahead right wing nuts...let off a little steam by ranting about ACORN. I hope that makes you feel better. Now, get off your mom's sofa and go do something productive today. It's the afternoon already.

    November 12, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Fools

    All the while their offices were being raided last week by the feds. Nice timing.

    November 12, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. JK Ashburn, VA

    They must have gotten their lawyers from the same gene pool as some of their folks who provide consulting services to pimps.

    Bill of attainder? Oh c'mon. Bills of attainder apply to government targeting people to do something to them. It is not the same thing as taking money away from them that the government (taxpayers) awarded to them to begin with. Government has the right to retract grants to private organizations any time it wants to. In fact, it doesn't even take an act of Congress to do so (which Congress conveniently provided in this case).

    November 12, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Peejay

    I wish Congress was as interested in investigating Blackwater and cutting off funds to them for the much more egregious crimes they've committed.

    November 12, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. File under "Sarcasm"

    Funny how important the laws are when it's to Acorn's advantage. It wasn't so important when Acorn was registering Mickey Mouse to vote or advising a "prostitute" and "pimp" on how to hide their profits from the government.

    Wouldn't it just be simplier for them to re-incorporate as Nroca. I'm sure the Administration would never connect to two together.

    November 12, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Nono

    I know I don't want any of my tax dollars going to a bunch of pimps.

    November 12, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Meredith Ladd

    Accorn and all their affiliates need to be investigated by the Attorney General and the President of the United States should demand an
    investigation. I will not even be apart of the Census if Accorn or any affiliatates have anything to do with it. I will never vote again if they are allowed anywhere near the handling of registrations in any state. This
    country needs to be cleaned up.We are so far to the left we are corrupt.
    When we go to far to the right we are corrupt. Has anyone in government heard of the middle road?

    November 12, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Grrr-awful-o

    Liberals against liberals. This should be a fun exercise in twisted logic. I have to side with the liberal Congress on this one (although I'm sure they'll come up with something cockeyed and convoluted). They have dicression to decide what they fund. ACORN has no constitutional right (entitlement) to be funded. Congress decided, at one time, to fund them and now they are deciding not to. The argument that it's unconstitutional for Congress to be judge, jury and executioner is a case of logical contortion to divert the subject over to that premise and away from the fact that Congress funds what it funds and doesn't fund what it doesn't fund. It's actually simple.

    November 12, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Gotta Love the New World Order

    ACORN screwed up and got caught. Now, they want to punish everyone because they caught caught in criminal activities. Oh, my. Gotta love the fact that criminals are now blaming the people who don't want to fund their criminal activities.

    November 12, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. kevin

    haaaaaaaaa. yeah right. another waste of the people's money. you know public money will be used in this case. Please, acorn go away. give it up. Your all useless. your all useless

    November 12, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Josie

    Isn't that amazing? ACORN feels they have the absolute right to federal funding. It's obvious that entitlements have gone way too far in ths country.

    November 12, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Fred

    Well let's see what ACORN can bring to the table during litigation. There was that embezzlement of funds thing. There was also the five seperate branch offices demonstrating how to circumvent laws to set up brothels.

    Yeah, I'm sure ACORN is going to get real far in their lawsuit.

    What a bunch of losers.

    November 12, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Mike in NC

    Ha,ha,ha! Desperate aren't they? Congress' job is not to judge anything...that's the JUDICIAL branch. Congress is in charge of approriating funds and they deemed ACORN not worthy. Get over it!

    November 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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