November 12th, 2009
02:55 PM ET
5 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. Idiot_Pelosi

    Yeah, but no one is guaranteed the right to receive federal funding.

    This ogranization can make money on it's own. Using my tax dollars to fund this organization is a crime.

    Way to go OBUMMER......... We're in a DEFICIT, yet you want to continue to fund these morons.

    November 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. southerncousin

    This is hilarious, tell us CNN are they using federal funds to do it too? The liberal SEIU scumbags should be in prison rather than in the White House.

    November 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. j-stl

    Wow. Somehow they beleive they have a right to federal $$$. This describes the view of the Left pretty well on who's $$$ they think it is...

    November 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Voice Crying In the Wilderness

    And so the story goes, of all the organizations and institutions that have engaged in culpable activities, one is singled out for punishment by the Federal Government. The one that represents and advocates for the poor, the needy, the powerless. What a suitable scapegoat.

    November 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. wonder

    Certainly glad they won't be having anything to do with the census.Wonder if they will just start up under a new name to get tax money again?

    November 12, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. victim of republican greed

    ACORN has been accused, indicted, and found guilty only in the court of Fox. While Halliburton, Blackwater, and several defense contractors have been found guilty and fined, congress does not cut off their funding.

    To this date, ACORN has not been found guilty.

    November 12, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Tina

    Obama's and Democrat's ACORN group is more powerful than the government? This is new to me. Supporting prostitution and advising people to lie to get funding is not a VIRTUE OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN nor something the founding fathers of this nation would tolerate and adore.

    November 12, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. SLP

    I find it quite amusing when people or organizations want to invoke the constitution when it is beneficial for them to do so. I got news for you folks. Alot of what is going on in the halls of government is unconstitutional these days. However, that is fine if it doesn't affect you. The actual truth is that it does affect you in the long run. It affects all of us. As for ACORN, they were caught in illegal activity. I fail to see why they feel that they should get federal funding. They do deserve a thorough investigation into all the facts as allowed by our judicial system. If then, it is found that they have been wrongly accused (yea, right) then funds can be restored. I do seriously doubt, however, that the results of any investigation would be truthful. Especially with who is in charge these days.

    November 12, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Just My Opinion in Texas

    Mmmmm-kay ... Just HOW is not funding a corrupt, political organization that actively encouraged others to engage in illegal activities unconstitutional??

    November 12, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. JH

    it's a criminal enterprise.

    November 12, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. BestProfitCompany = WAR

    I hope ACORN wins the suit. Of course rethuglicans like to single out individuals, groups, and organazation without following the constitution. And stupid democrats who follow just because they afraid of loosing votes, cowards. If we going to invistigate ACORN we also need to do the same with many organazation that are using Federal Funds!

    November 12, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Proud Member..Party of No

    There better not be another nickel of federal money going to these crooks.

    November 12, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Scott

    Actually this suit should immediately be tossed out. It is not an overreach of Congress to pass a law removing their money since Congress controls the purse strings. Since the budget was already passed they can withdraw the money. Maybe ACORN should spend more time on fixing their organization then suing the govt.

    November 12, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. PREDICTA

    Zero chance of ACORN winning in court. Maybe the tape that shows ACORN employees giving advice on how to avoid paying taxes while perpetrating illegal activity will be all the court needs to throw this suit out.

    November 12, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Mike in LR

    Yeah. this kind of treatment is only okay for a conservative organization. If it were a conservative organization filing suit would be a wasteful act. What do you bet they get the funding restored?

    November 12, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. inofritzn

    Now acorn wants the cover of the constitution? Fitting.

    November 12, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Blutarski

    The notion that Congress can't decide who to give taxpayer dollars is nonsense. Even if some whacked out Liberal Judge decides in favor of Acorn, there is nothing anyone can do if Congress simply cuts it out of the budget. Just don't fund the program, it doesn't have to be a law.

    November 12, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Joel

    Sure, Congress should continue funding ACORN even though their employees have been proven to provide advice on conducting murder, running prostitution rings etc. under the services they provide. Maybe ACORN should clean up their act before reapplying for Federal money to support their ongoing criminal enterprise.

    November 12, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. donttreadonme

    So they think they have a right to my tax dollars ??? This is what happens when handouts become the norm. Time to survivre on your own two feet Acorn. They day Acorn became a political action commitee for Obama was the day they lost their so called "right" to Government hand outs!

    November 12, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. tate

    Why are these criminals not in prison. When they come to court just throw the cuffs on them and there biggest supporter OWHINER! This clowns should be jailed and forced to pay back tax payers money they have stolen over the years. Typical democrate get caught doing something illegal then cry racism.

    November 12, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. SocialismBad

    Isn't this like the burglar suing the homeowner after he gets shot breaking in?! They have been proven over and over to have been breaking numerous laws. They were "singled out" because they were repeatedly being found guilty of violations. They are just mad their government gravy train has been stopped. The Feds need to investigate ALL of their operations and shut down this ongoing criminal organization.

    November 12, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Since when is federal funding a right? ACORN violated a public trust and should be eradicated like the vermin they are.

    November 12, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Peter s

    You were duped by the tea baggers! fall in a stupid trap! now after Acorn destruction, the tea movement rules the streets!. that was their intentions ruin Acorn= destroying the democratic party votes!!

    November 12, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Chuck in CSG

    And you just know that they'll expect the government (read you and me) to pick up the tab for the legal fees.

    November 12, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Gale

    Does anybody in Washington even know the laws of the country? Maybe they should all go back to school. More lawsuits, more lawyers, more money. I always thought there were certain rules and regulations if you took government funds. money that came from the tax payers, us!

    November 12, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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