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. Riteaidbob

    Wat to avoid answering the question. What a con man this Chicago THUg is.

    September 20, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. TrustMe

    Aren't "under aged women" usually just called girls?

    September 20, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. granny

    just sign the house and senate bills that cut off funding for ALL 160# affiliates and acorn.

    September 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Hugo

    How about a full audit of where and what our tax money was spent on?

    September 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. N

    He is not going to say anything bad about them, he needs them if he has any chance of getting re-elected in 2012. Give me a break, and CNN, you didnt even try to force the issue. Funny.

    September 20, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Steve

    The president of ACORN clearly stated at least part of the philosophy of ACORN while Interviewing with Chris Wallace today. She said. That ACORN will contine to help poor people of color. Why would a community organization / charity purposely exclude white people? Isn't there a word for a group or an individual that excludes another group because of color. Thank you Ms. Hurde for confirming the mission of ACORN. Excluding poor people who are white is acceptable to you and your organization. I have never and will neverbe a part of an organization that excludes individuals because of thier color. Isn't that what happened to dark skinned people in our dark past. Why would our current president support this type of organization?

    September 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. susie

    ACORN helped him get elected, he will not toss them under the bus because he needs them again in 2012.

    September 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Steve (the real one)

    I'm getting very nervous here. Why do you ask? The answer is for the second time today, I agree with the President! Now to address the complaint the ACORN was started and funded by the right and how the right is tying the President to ACORN.
    1. The right does not have to tie the President to ACORN. If you were but 5% serious, yo would know there are ties! He was once a lawyer for them, they helped fund his campaign, They registered Mickey Mouse as a democrat! Remember?
    2. Even if started by the right, can anybody tell me with a straight face that they are the same organization since when they were first founded? If you can you will be on heck of a poker player! It's not like they are more political or more far left now or something!

    September 20, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Andrew

    This took way too long to get covered. It took two random young journalist students – and even then it wasn't until stations like Fox News paid attention that is got covered.

    This is ridiculous. ACORN is an embarassment to the country.

    September 20, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. JBS

    ALL parties involved in this “deception” should be investigated. The reason I say that
    Is, is the police allowed to give you marijuana and then charge you for possession??

    The woman that gives those inappropriate answers should also be investigated to see If she received any money from activist to say those things.

    September 20, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Terry from West Texas

    It is obvious that some Acorn employees are not well trained and some are mischievious. The advice they gave the phony hooker and pimp was advising them to break tax laws – something that a large percentage of Americans do annually. Acorn should be investigated.

    Corporate employees are routinely bribing our Congress and our Legislatures. Any corporation whose employee(s) provide or ask for any appropriate favor or cash should be forever prohibited from accepting federal money or contracts. They should also pay double federal taxes for – say – ten years. Their stock should be frozeon so no one can buy or sell it during that time.

    Medical corporations are routinely overbilling Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. I propose the same punishment for them.

    And for any federal official who accepts a bribe: life in prison with no parole.

    September 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Hugo

    If you want to discover the depth of Obama's beliefs and associations with political networks such as ACORN go to, it is an in depth account of the progressive movement in America by David Horowitz. It is quite revealing as to what our Commander in Chief is all about.

    September 20, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Marie in California

    ACORN definitely needs to be investigated, and by an independent investigator. What was done by their staff in the videos was immoral, illegal, and inexcusable. That....on top of the countless other investigations going on across the country involving possible illegal activities by that organization.

    And none of this "internal investigation" stuff. That's like asking AIG to investigate itself! An INDEPENDENT investigator.....with total transparency regarding ACORN's practices, books, policies, etc.....EVERYTHING!

    The Senate and House were right to cut off funding for ACORN, and I hope Obama supports them in that process. If he doesn't, that only says to me that he is complicit in ACORN's corruption.

    September 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Rebecca

    These videos show how corrupt our society has become. I'm beginning to think that we're living in a third world country where corruption is the norm.

    September 20, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. 9corona

    Not time to follow the ACORN stories; no time for immigration reform – but time to meddle in NY, NJ, Mass and Va state government issues – welcome to Jimmy Carter's second term.

    Hilary 2012

    September 20, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Dan, WA

    It looks like Barack Obama watched the tapes on Fox News. We cannot forget that Barack Obama was the supporter of Accorn in Chicago. Also he is in White House because Accorn arranged vote-bank for him where people voted 3-4 times each time. Imagine such unlawful things can happen in our present America and that is how Barack Obama got into White House. Barack Obama has no guts to investigate Accorn and stop their funding. He is wasting tax-payers money by funding ACCORN.

    September 20, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Joe C

    I would agree that this matter needs to be investigated further before any conclusions are made. If in fact "IF" this tape is telling the truth and this organization is trying to help Prostitutes and pimps then by all means stop funding the program immediately.

    On a personal note I do however think there is a possibility that this video was made by conservative republicans in a very weak attempt to discredit the democrat party and try and hurt efforts at health care reform. Why all the sudden these tapes come about? why now and not sooner?

    The republican party is making a joke of themselves. Between Governor Palin quitting in the middle of her term, Senator Joe Wilsons politically motivated outburst, which were rude and childish. and now this video which I believe to be a set up.

    September 20, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Be Real

    "It's not the biggest issue facing the country..." only because this organization is in part how he got VOTES in the first place. Of course he skirted the issue... of course he didn't answer anything "direct' when asked about funding. C'mon. . . be real. Suspicions surrounding ACORN were in the news BEFORE Obama became president... and only now with the "alledged voter fraud" caught red handed will anything legitimate be reported...? Probably not.

    September 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. a Republican

    The John Birch society will do anything to accomplish their goal of Fascism !!! If you doubt their intention get the 1st Edition of the "blue book" by the candymaker, Welsch., written in the latter part of 1959 or early 60's,

    September 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. uncle fester

    Does that surprise anybody that Obama didn't say if he agreed to cut off funds to Acorn. He still want's to fund a organization that has no problem with child prostitution? Whats wrong with this guy?

    September 20, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Samantha Groening

    Oh, that's golden! Obama was, of course, a lawyer for ACORN. This administration is possibly the most corrupt in history.

    September 20, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Illinois 2

    He just wants to sweep this under the table like anything else that hasn't gone his way.

    Lets keep up the pressure to make this investigation public and stop giving money away to these types of groups, that is tax money from either the federal or states........

    September 20, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Dennis

    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."

    Obama could have at least said " they acted stupidly" and had everyone over for a beer.......ggg

    September 20, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Dennis

    come on BO ......I bet you paid a lot of attention to ACORN before the election !!!!!!

    September 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Russ H

    I wonder why he states "it should be investigated" and not cut off of all funds?

    September 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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