September 17th, 2009
04:59 PM ET
14 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. HUGO

    This is shameful, shameful behavior from a shameful organization that has shamelessly used ignorant minorities to do their bidding under the guise of helping them. Anyone that watched this last election unfold had to witness the outright leftist course that a publicly funded non-profit voter registration group took, they are supposed to be bipartisan. The truly shameful thing in all of this, is that ACORN has been around for years, stealing our tax dollars with the consent of the Democratic machine in Washington. It is shameful that our government officials both republican, democratic and Indepenent let this thing continue. I want my tax money back!

    September 17, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. cktexas

    i notice no dem has a comment about this issue

    September 17, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. FL

    It is about time. Now investigate and jail all involved in voter fraud. It speeks volumes that Oboma was part of this organization. Just part of the Chicago political training Oboma received. Lie, intimidation and corruption.

    September 17, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
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