September 23rd, 2009
07:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Liberal Dem blasts ACORN

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="'I am very disappointed in the actions that were taken by members of ACORN,' Rep. Barney Frank said in a statement Wednesday."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A leading liberal Democrat in the House blasted the embattled community organizing group ACORN Wednesday and said he is urging the White House to withhold any federal funding for the group.

"I am very disappointed in the actions that were taken by members of ACORN," Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement Wednesday, "and I do not believe that ACORN's response has been adequate for an organization that has received public funding."

Frank also said in the statement that he is urging the Obama administration to withhold any additional funding for ACORN "at least until there is very firm evidence that the abuses of which ACORN members have been guilty have not only ceased, but that procedures are in place to prevent them from happening again."

In a written statement issued Wednesday, ACORN took issue with Frank's criticism.

"While we greatly respect Rep. Barney Frank and have enjoyed the work we have shared over the years," the statement said, "ACORN disagrees with his position on the recent Congressional action to single out our organization and bar us from competing for federal grants."

Asked about Frank's comments during a conference call with reporters, the CEO of ACORN said Wednesday that the organization is moving quickly to address the conduct of some of its employees displayed in videos produced by conservative activists and recently released on the Internet. The videos show some ACORN workers advising the activists, who were posing as a pimp and a prostitute, how to set up a prostitution business involving underage, foreign girls.

"There is no bigger critic of ACORN than its members and its board," the group's CEO Bertha Lewis said, "We were just as shocked and horrified as the American public was [to see the videos]."

"I will not tolerate such behavior," Lewis added.

Lewis's comments were part of an increasing crisis management effort on the part of ACORN. The group recently announced that it has retained Scott Harshbarger, the former Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Harshbarger's law firm to conduct an independent inquiry into ACORN's delivery of social services as well as a general review of ACORN's management.

"We are going to conduct a no-holds-barred review," Harshbarger told reporters Wednesday.

Harshbarger also said ACORN's leadership has requested that that report and findings be made public "at the appropriate time."

Also on Wednesday, ACORN revealed that it has suspended it has suspended its tax preparation services carried out as part of an IRS program. ACORN's suspension of its tax prep program coincided with the revelation that the IRA has independently acted to terminate its relationship with the community organizing group.

Since the videos became public, the Census Bureau has also terminated ACORN's involvement in its public outreach program and both chambers of Congress have voted to deny federal funding to the organization. Republicans in Congress have also called on President Obama to take action to deny federal funding to the embattled group, and are planning to send additional requests for investigations of the group's activities to agency heads and inspectors general.

The Inspector General of the Justice Department recently announced that he is beginning an investigation into whether the group received any grant money from the department. An FBI investigation of ACORN is also possible.

On the state level, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both Republicans, have also moved to halt state funding to ACORN.

Lewis said Wednesday that the federal funding ACORN receives amounts to less than 10 percent of the organization's entire budget, and that the organization would continue its advocacy on behalf of its membership.

ACORN's general counsel also told reporters that it has not received any subpoenas from law enforcement officials, but that it is voluntarily cooperating with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office and the FBI in investigations both agencies have opened into the conduct captured on the videos.

ACORN also announced Wednesday that it has filed suit against the makers of the videos that sparked the most recent controversy for violating Maryland's wiretapping law which requires the consent of all parties involved in a recorded conversation.

Filed under: ACORN • Barney Frank • Congress • Popular Posts
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Fan of Common Sense

    Forced to sacrifice their own flagship organization and their most loyal supporters in order to save their own hides. Kind of sad. 🙂

    September 23, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Amazing

    No more Tax payer dollars for this corrupt organization. They currently owe the IRS for back taxes. They refuse to open their books for an audit. They are a corrupt organization that never prosecuted an embezzler. They have a phony office with an address of an old funeral home. It's not just this latest scandal, the list goes on and on. This is OUR money that could be put to better use fixing roads.

    September 23, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    ACORN is the FLAGSHIP ORGANIZATION of the democratic party. The democrats might be blasting it now (they have to to save themselves), but you can bet, after the controversy blows over, these same democrats will be trying to sneak scraps to these low-lifes under the table once again. They have to because the democratic party needs their voter fraud tactics to win elections and to rig the census.

    September 23, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. cl

    Rep. Barney Frank is out of line. One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch. Acorn has more good parts than bad. Rep. Frank he roars like and lion on Acorn, but squeals like a mouse on Hallaburton, Blackwater and Fanniemae.

    September 23, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |

    Obama and Acorn equals LIES and CORRUPTION

    September 23, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. jules sand-perkins

    Bravo Barney Frank!
    Go get ACORN!

    In Rep. Frank, we have one more leader in Washington who DOES NOT LIE.

    September 23, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. aware

    Bravo Barney! But Obama is intricately connected to this group! 🙁

    September 23, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. Ruty

    Get rid of ACORN. NOW.

    September 23, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Bill in VT

    Wow. Coming from Bawney Fwank, that really hurts!!!

    September 23, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  10. ggb

    They shouldn't receive another dime! Another Obama mess.....

    September 23, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  11. MJ

    This is OUR money going to support a corrupt organization. Why is the President not "concerned"? He has bigger issues? The only "issue" he is concerned with is "Government Health Care".

    September 23, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    This is a funny statement.
    "On the state level, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both Republicans, have also moved to halt state funding to ACORN."

    These two states do not provide any funding to ACORN. How then can their Govs. move to halt funding that does not exist? I guess it's just a political play on their part. LOL

    September 23, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Pot meet kettle. I guess Barney Frank knows corruption when he sees it, he just doesn't own a mirror.

    September 23, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. Bpin

    He better be careful. He is stepping on BHO's toes bigtime. I guess he must have forgot that Bush is out of office and BHO is in charge now.

    September 23, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. Sam's Nemesis

    You're really on the ball barney. NOW you blast them. Where were you when voter fraud was being performed? Oh that's right, Obama was being elected during that scandal.......THAT was ok with you , then !!!

    September 23, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. Right Leaning Independent

    Well you know that things are bad for Acorn if Barney Frank is upset with them!! I never knew that could be possible....

    September 23, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  17. mjm


    Frank made millions off ACORN with Freddie and Fannie.

    I thought only Obama could throw people under the bus.

    September 23, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. wilfredo

    Shoddy reporting CNN. It has been reported since last week that neither Minnesota nor Louisiana actually give any money to ACORN.

    September 23, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  19. annie against biased news

    What's up – is frank up for re-election this year?

    September 23, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Chris

    Bravo! About time this biased left-wing political organization gets booted out and cut off from anymore federal dollars. Why should taxpayers foot the bill? Allowing this group to continue to commit voter registration fraud and other illegal activities in the future is inexcusable and a potential lethal landmine for far left Democratic politicians.

    September 23, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  21. Jane

    I think Barney needs to look in the mirror.

    September 23, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. Enough

    Embezzlers, Back taxes owed to IRS, 30 Criminal convictions, phony ACORN headquarters, refusal to open their books for an audit, voter registration fraud, all that prior to their latest scandal involving 5 separate offices in 5 different states.......................Is this enough for Obama to pull the plug on ACORN? Does he still want to pretend he knows nothing about this when they were on track to receive 8.5 billion more of TAX Payer dollars? Where is the transparency and line by line elimination of waste that Obama promised us?

    September 23, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. mikemarshall

    Since this "crime" by ACORN was committed by a few employees, and the Federal govment is going to go punitive on them, perhaps its time to assess the same punishment on the other organizations that the Federal Government funds that commit crimes, even if by just a few people. Time to defund the CIA, FBI, local cops, state troopers, accountants, IRS, and many other branches that are filled with criminals.

    What is good for one is good for all.

    September 23, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. New Yorker

    ACORN is a disgrace to this nation. As is Barney Frank.

    September 23, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. ComradeObummer

    Here's a corrupt politican blasting a corrupt organization.

    Although his blasting of ACORN is valid, it's hard to listen to this old wind bag.

    September 23, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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