(CNN) - A preliminary probe of now-disbanded community organizing group ACORN has found no sign the group or related organizations mishandled the $40 million in federal money they received in recent years, congressional investigators reported Monday.
A review of grants by nine federal agencies, mostly for housing issues, found problems with only one award - and in that case, the separately administered ACORN Housing Corporation quickly provided a missing piece of documentation, the Government Accountability Office reported.
Nearly two dozen members of Congress requested an investigation after a series of complaints against ACORN and its affilliates, including an accounting scandal, several cases of voter registration fraud and the release of edited videotapes made by conservative activists that appeared to implicate ACORN workers in facilitating prostitution.
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(CNN) - Among South Carolina Democrats there are a variety of theories about Alvin Greene’s mystery victory in the state’s Democratic Senate primary last week.
Charleston City Councilman Vic Rawl faced off last Tuesday against Greene, an unemployed veteran who is facing criminal charges. The Rawl campaign believes their guy should have won because, well, he had a campaign. According to Rawl spokesperson Walter Ludwig, the candidate drove 17,000 miles around the state, attended events in 20 counties and did a quarter of a million robocalls.
Compare that to Greene who was considerably more lackadaisical – about everything from campaigning to filing FEC reports. “There was a Democratic Party event in [Alvin Greene’s] hometown and he didn’t even show up for that!” says Ludwig. Monday Rawl announced he’s filed a formal protest of the election questioning the “circumstances surrounding Tuesday’s vote” and the “integrity of the election system.”
Don Fowler, the former Democratic state party chair whose wife currently heads the party, thinks voting machines were manipulated or they had serious errors. “Can I prove it no? But that’s what I think,” he tells CNN.
(CNN) - South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley will pick up a major endorsement Tuesday from one of her former rivals in the Republican primary – Attorney General Henry McMaster.
McMaster campaign manager Trey Walker told CNN that the attorney general plans to formally back Haley’s bid in a press conference Tuesday morning at his campaign headquarters in Columbia.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Monday announced the remaining five members of a commission he appointed to investigate the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
A White House statement said Obama named Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences; Terry Garcia, executive vice president for mission programs for the National Geographic Society; Cherry Murray, dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and Frances Ulmer, chancellor of the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
Obama previously appointed former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, a Democrat, and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Reilly, a Republican, as co-chairman of the seven-member commission.
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Washington (CNN) – One of BP's most outspoken critics on Capitol Hill says he does not think BP is alone in lacking contingency plans to deal with a massive oil spill.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, will try to prove that theory Tuesday when the CEOs of five major oil companies come before his House Energy and Environment Subcommittee.
In an interview with CNN previewing his hearing, Markey said he thinks it’s "highly unlikely that any of these oil companies had a capacity to respond to a worst case scenario."
"Yes, they say in their representations to the Department of Interior that they have that capacity, but I don’t think there is any evidence that is in fact true," said Markey, standing in front of his chairman's desk in his committee hearing room.
The witness list for Tuesday's hearing includes chief executives of BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips and Shell Oil.
(CNN) - President Obama said Monday that federal officials are "gathering up facts" to help ensure that embattled oil giant BP fairly compensates people and businesses suffering losses.
Speaking before a crowd in Theodore, Alabama, Obama said that preliminary talks have started with officials of BP to try to reach an agreement at his meeting Wednesday with top company officials on how to ensure that damage claims from the Gulf oil disaster are processed quickly and fairly.
Obama also announced that he is launching a comprehensive effort to ensure that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico remains safe to eat.
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(CNN) - President Barack Obama sought to reassure Gulf Coast residents Monday that the "full resources of the federal government are being mobilized to confront" the oil disaster.
On his fourth trip to the region since an offshore well began spewing crude oil into Gulf waters in April, Obama announced a new initiative to safeguard the local seafood industry and discussed preparations for his meeting Wednesday with BP officials.
Obama spoke from a Coast Guard staging facility in Theodore, Alabama, where heacknowledged the toll the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is having on not only the environment, but also on the local people.
"There's a sense that this disaster is not only threatening our fishermen and our shrimpers and oystermen, not only affecting precious marshes and wetlands and estuaries ... there's also a fear that it could have a long-term impact on a way of life that has been passed on for generations," Obama said, adding, "I understand that fear."
Pensacola Beach, Florida (CNN) - When President Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, he will be trying to win over former supporters like Bruce Parris, who runs a bar on the sweltering beach here and is hopping mad about the federal response to Gulf oil spill.
Parris, who runs The Dock beachside bar and restaurant, says business has dropped about 40 percent from last year because tourism is cratering even though the water here is still crystal clear. Other than a small group of visitors here as Obama gets ready to sleep in this city tonight, most people are staying away out of fear that the oil is about to show up - and the bar owner says he blames the president for not taking command of the situation sooner.
"I'd rather see a more aggressive president - it should be obvious BP is only concerned about its bottom line, not our beaches or wildlife," said Parris, who voted for Obama over then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in the 2008 Florida primary but now says he's re-thinking his support.
"I think Hillary might have been the smarter way to go," said Parris, who wonders aloud whether Clinton would have been more take-charge than Obama in the Oval Office. "I was with him all the way. I'm starting to have second thoughts."