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. Anonymous

    Obma is correct. ACORN has shown they deserve no federal funds, and this deserves more investigation. The people who shot these videos obviously have no care for video voyeurism laws, but they have shone a light on an organization that needs WAY more transparency than we have seen no far.

    September 20, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. Rick Stanfort

    Obama is trying to stay clear from this since ACORN is where he got all of his working experience before becoming president. No doubt, he has known how corrupt they are because "he are one of them"!

    September 20, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. David

    Acorn does have a bit of corruption to attend to. While I donagree that it's not the biggest problem this country faces, its still a very valid concern. I think Obama probably should have given a little more thought as to his statement he made about the scandal, as his words seem to carry a bit of apathy to them that I imagine many will feel to be inappropriate.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't feel Obama is a bad guy, however it wouldn't kill him to show a little more concern here.

    September 20, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Chris Bloor

    More 'duck and cover' from Obama.

    He treats people with contempt. Wake up America!

    Can you imagine Reagan responding like that?

    Chris Bloor

    September 20, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. Mike

    Nothing but the full condemnation by Obama, Congressional hearings and a full audit of the organization's federal tax spending and a full investigation into all illicit practices are acceptable.

    Anything else is approving of their behavior.

    September 20, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Burns NH

    The president always falls short of condeming those whom he has
    been close to and still surround him.

    September 20, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Steve-Illinois

    This group recieves MILLIONS of $$$ in tax-payer money, and the President can't bring himself to answer the question of whether or not the government should cut off the funding??? Funny he didn't have a problem sticking his nose into an arrest of a friend out in Massachusetts. Now, suddenly, a nationwide, tax payer supported, group that get's caught red handed, on tape, isn't worthy of his time?
    Yep, it's gonna be a long four years!

    September 20, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Ridgeway

    Cut them off period. They only serve one segment of America anyway. Obviously, they have no hiring standards. The workers on the videos are barely literate. They've got none of my money coming.

    September 20, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Tony In Largo, Fl

    Any wrongdoing by ACORN should be investigated thoroughly and dealt with appropriately to the full extent of the law.

    September 20, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Nea

    Yes i agree Acorn should be investigated, Even though Fox news and Co. is making this out of a bigger deal than i like to know about yes if they did wrong they should be punished even though We know they are not the only ones.

    September 20, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. lou

    What do you expect? They were caught red-handed (pun intended) and now NObama is distancing himself in order to preserve his own skin. There should be a full and complete Congressional investigation into every cent these people spent of our money. Considering there was 8.5 Billion in NObama's budget for them, its a good thing they were caught. NOW, we need to cease funding and begin an investigation no matter how high up it leads.

    September 20, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. Alfred E. Neumann

    Acorn and Van Jones are simply sideshows.

    The real kick in the pants arrives when the Democrats vote on a worthless, waterdown, written by the insurance industry health care reform bill.

    The Decomcrats control the White House, Senate and House & yet the Republicans are controlling the agenda.

    September 20, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Rick

    Of course he is going to not allow it to occupy much of his time. This was the same crooked organization that helped him get elected. The president is a spinless jellyfish. Get a backbone pres.

    September 20, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |

    oh, i see, is it ok for you guys at cnn to say something about acorn coz obama mentioned it?

    cnn- epic fail

    you look like state controlled media, you are in the tank for this administration and the only ones who don't know it are the few people who still watch your broadcast.

    September 20, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  15. Charles W. Skinner

    Of course Pres. Obama isn't going to give a direct answer on whether funding of ACORN should be cut off. If he says yes, he ticks off the liberals who champion ACORN as "fighting for the little guy" even though it's corrupt through and through, and is acting illegally on several fronts. If he says "no, keep funding it," as more and more of the corruption comes to light, he would be shown to be condoning the illegal practices that helped get him elected, from the fraudulent voter registration to the strong arm tactics of the grunt troops.

    September 20, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. Peter

    ACORN= FOX NEWS, they both have a lot in common. Both tampers with any facts or information. Time to do away with both of them.

    September 20, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. American voter

    "Inappropriate"? Is that all you could say about an organization advising pimps (Pimps, Sir) on how to legalize underage prostitution?

    This didn't even live up to the level of insult you delivered to a police officer doing his job, without knowing all the facts, when you said he acted stupidly!

    Shame on you Mr. CHANGE!

    September 20, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Dave

    Obama should come out and take a strong stand against ACORN and call for the end of any federal funding to this organization. His lack of doing so indicates that he wants to stay above the fray and not get muddied by it. When you are from the extreme on the political spectrum it is hard to distance yourself from groups that helped get you elected. GOP Presidents struggle to cope with the religious right and Obama must now do same with extremist groups like ACORN. But, I think he has an obligation to the American people to end federal funding for ACORN. I thought we were getting "change", but it looks like "more of the same" to me.

    September 20, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Reality Check

    That statement is considered "sounding off"?

    September 20, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. dave

    The incriminating video tapes, along with nurnerous voter fraud investigations show it is not just isolated incidents but a common practice of corruptive behavior.
    ALL federal funding should be stopped immediately while a full federal investigation is done.
    Also investigate anyone who is associated with Acorn. And senate and congressman who continue to support funding acorn.

    September 20, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Ren from Baltimore

    I am a strong Obama supporter. What sane, America-first citizen wouldn't be, after eight years of Cheney's national humiliation?

    The President needs to get out in front of issues like these ACORN videos. If these pimp-supporting activities had occurred at only one ACORN location, that would be bad enough. But at four separate, large-city offices-that is off the charts. They should be barred from doing business, unless an investigation shows a whole lot of coincidence going on. Like it or not, this administration is linked in peoples' minds to ACORN. The White House, and all democrats, should have called for immediate suspension of activities until the investigation was complete.

    The same goes for any other contractor, such as the ones "guarding" our embassy in Kabul, where the contractors had plenty of insider information on the illicit activities their employees were engaging in over there.

    September 20, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. jessica

    "It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to." ......but a white cop in boston.......hmmm.
    no double standard (commonly referred to as racism) here is there?

    September 20, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Tony

    Does this mean Acorn no longer has a seat at the table for forming this country's future?? So much for community organizing. Next to go the unions......

    September 20, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. Greg

    can we get a definition of the word "much" and exactly how long that is?

    September 20, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. JV

    I'd like to hear the liberal excuses for this group now that even the president is running for cover from them. ACORN is exposed for what they really are, a left-leaning crooked tax exempt organization. No more federal funding and no assisting with the 2010 census.....MISSION ACCOMPLISHED in my book.

    September 20, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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