September 20th, 2009
05:16 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: Taped ACORN misdeeds should be investigated

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The videos have sparked controversy over ACORN, already under fire amid election fraud claims."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama says ACORN misdeeds captured on secretly taped videos should be investigated, but that the controversy over the community service group was not occupying much of his time.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on the ABC program "This Week," Obama was asked if he supported cutting off all federal funding for ACORN - an acronym for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - due to the incriminating videotapes.

"What I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserves to be investigated," Obama said.

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 seek advice on setting up a brothel with underage women from El Salvador.

On Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller signaled a potential federal investigation of the organization. At least 11 states already had been investigating ACORN for alleged voter registration fraud stemming from the general election in 2008.

In addition, both the Senate and House have called for halting government funding to the group.

Asked if he supported cutting off government grants that ACORN applies for, Obama avoided a direct answer.

"This is not the biggest issue facing the country," he said. "It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to."

In response to the controversy, ACORN's chief executive officer, Bertha Lewis, told FOX News Sunday she has fired anyone shown on videotape to have acted improperly, launched an independent internal review and will announce on Monday an independent audit of the organization.

Critics contend that ACORN is a left-leaning political organization involved in questionable activities while receiving federal and state government money.

On the ACORN Web site, the group 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."

Filed under: ACORN • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Matt

    They should be investigated, and Republicans should present proof before making unsubstantiated claims of criminal activity against the president. I could easily say that Glenn Beck abuses his wife, and based on the standards of evidence that Republicans have set, a quarter of the population should believe me, because I said it forcefully and confidently enough.

    September 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Belle1

    Amazing how President Obama's answer is always a non-answer isn't it?

    For those who want an investigation...his response would lead them to believe he agrees.

    For those who don't want an investigation, his answer narrows on the tape incidents, so that leads them to believe only a certain portion of ACORN should be investigated.

    Me? That was a yes or no question.

    September 20, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Patriot

    ACORN has been targeted by right-wingers for years. That's because they register minorities to vote, and we all know which party they vote for.

    Yes, the tape should be investigated, but destroying ACORN for the actions of a few will only play right into right-wing hands.

    If Repubs are so concerned about govt. money going to corrupt organizations, why aren't they going after Blackwater in Iraq?

    Billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted in Iraq, yet not a peep out of the Repubs, Fix News, Limbaugh, Beck, etc.

    September 20, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. True That

    The crimes of the individuals remain as individual crimes and are not ACORN irregularities. This is a typical GOP entrapment scam also played out previously on the "Liberal" network media. Ask Dan Rather!

    ACORN is just a name, a corporation, impermanent and disposable. The dedicated organizers merely need to reorganize under a new name–just like the AIG plan after they pay back the Federal Debt.

    So there's lots of crime in poverty areas–is that a surprise, or is that the problem? What's the solution, continuing GOP voting rights violations?

    September 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. Aric G.

    More than one (let alone multiple) occurrence(s) of severe illegal activity constitutes a trend. Common sense should tell us that ACORN runs deep with corruption. Obama’s response is cookie-cutter political…”let’s investigate”. Yes, let’s. But the question was, “should (government) funding be pulled?” I don’t know about you, but I’m not wild about my tax dollars funding a “non-partisan” organization who is using their leverage to cheat the system into which I’m expected to pay. Furthermore, they speak openly about lobbying for partisan positions on topics such as healthcare….but aren’t they a neutral housing organization? Come on, Obama…ACORN needs an enema and you know it. But, I fear the ties are so deep between those two that we may only see some puppet show designed to bark, but not bite.

    September 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. mark

    not surprised obama supports these scumbags...

    September 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. m jeff

    Why don't the GOP admit the real reason they want to stop ACORN, and that is to stop voter registration in poor neighborhoods.

    September 20, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Jasmine in Germany

    I don't think this is an "ACORN" problem, but a problem of an ignorant employee who made a mistake. This happens everywhere all the time. Let's not take it to seriously.

    September 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. bimmer

    Did not Acorn false voter registration affect the outcome of the last election?

    If yes, should that election be challenged in court?

    September 20, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. stevegee

    It's time to pull ACORN out by the roots! This corrupt organization has been sowing bad seeds in our communities for far too long.

    And if Obama doesn't sign into law the legislation to ban federal funding for ACORN, then he's condoning the corruption and it wouldn't surprise me. Just look at all the pillars of society in The White House - NOT!

    September 20, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Farrell in Houston

    President Obama doesn't have time to waste on videos of pimps and prostitutes and neither do I, let the investigation of Acorn proceed as necessary. I'm more concerned about matters of the economy and war.

    September 20, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. fred

    Obama, once again, will not plainly say that ACORN needs to be investigated. He simply said what was found on the videos needs to be investigated. He's weak.

    September 20, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Jon

    Guess Osama Hussain is mighty glad he doensn't work for ACORN anymore.

    September 20, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. New Age Democrat

    Finally... As if the voter fraud wasnt enough of a reason? Oh yeah... It put him in the White House. That certainly makes it ok. I expected more from Obama, but I guess he's no better than the Republicans.

    September 20, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Dimslie

    What needs to be investigated is how our tax dollars came to be used to fund the left wing of the Democrat party in the first place.

    September 20, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. JP

    Since Obama was asked about ACORN funding and didn't answer the question he must support ACORN funding. Do a search on OBAMA and ACORN and you will want to vomit. ACORN was on the front lines of out financial crisis, helping people get fraudulent loans that never got paid off. Do a search on NINJA loans and ACORN.

    September 20, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    OBAMA: ACORN? What's ACORN? Never heard of them.

    (These scoundrels practically got him elected and now he's trying to pretend like he has hardly heard of their organization.)

    September 20, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Sian

    I am willing to wager that the President will be criticized for not being more direct in his criticizm of ACRORN, especially since they were very supportive of him during his campaign. I do believe he was erroneous in saying he's not payin a lot of attention to the matter. That remark alone ensures that he will be addressing the subject in the coming week.

    September 20, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Erik

    Yeah, there really should be more investigation into them...instead of just putting them on the air as this is ALL that happened and lampooning the ENTIRE organization like Fox News it has already come out that TWO of the people shown in two different videos only played along with the hidden camera kids and then CALLED THE POLICE afterward...I guess Fox News didn't find it all that important to actually check into the entire situation before setting aside DAYS of endless programs about ACORN corruption...get to the bottom of EVERYTHING before your assertions

    September 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Denna

    ACORN! ACORN! ACORN! Now the "conservatives" are going to waste America's time with this nonsense. Let the government or whoever investigate this. As to President Obama "avoiding a direct answer" to cutting off funding – he's not stupid. He knows that no matter what he says, the conservatives and their minions will twist and turn it against him and the media will misreport it.. He's a fast learner. God Bless the president.:-)

    September 20, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Tom C in NY

    Obama is smart enough to understand that he is much less directly linked to Acorn than Bush and Cheney were to Blackwater and Halliburton, both of which got tons more federal monies and were responsible for much worse. But of course, Republicans – who are howling about Acorn but were rather silent about organizations linked to the previous administration – are well known for their double standards.

    September 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. bill in montgomery

    I can't believe Jesse, Al, Maxine, and the rest of the "Black Caucus" aren't threatening a march, protest, etc., claiming this is nothing but a racist move to offend a honest Black business. Just a right wing conspiracy!

    September 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. M.

    Get ready for Fox News to blow President Obama's comments out of proportion and say that he condones ACORNs more felonious employees,

    September 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Wise Latina

    I see that "Obama" is mentioned in the headlines for the first 10 Ticker articles! Overexposed? Nah, it's just at the direction of the state-controlled media complex operated from the White House.

    And these 10 don't even include his personal direction that the black Governor of the State of New York NOT run for office. Now what would Jimmy Carter say about THAT if it were a republican president telling a black man not to run...

    September 20, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. valwayne

    Inappropriate? Is that all Obama has to say about the organization with with which is so closely tied? Massive voter registration fraud and now office after office using taxpayer money to help set up a child prostituion ring?

    September 20, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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