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. indy

    speechless I am just speechless

    September 23, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  2. Jeremiah

    When can we get Barney Frank to be the Speaker please? It's waaay past time we had a Speaker that was a leader and got jobs done.

    September 23, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. Sian Rose

    I am almost reluctant to say I agree with Barnie Frank. While we are discussing corruption; When will Conressman Rangel be held accountable for his crooked ways?
    ACORN officials needs to recognize the need to step aside and allow an investigation to take palce instead of throwing up smoke screens. I am confident enough in the justice system and the Obama Administration to believe that a fair investigation can be conducted.

    September 23, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. Russ H

    Take Obama back. He can't botch anymore then he already has.

    September 23, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. Denna

    Republican bleating aside, I think that ACORN should be looked into to make sure that they are doing what they say they are to help people. Once again, ignore the Conservative bellyaching and launch a real, honest investigation to determine if the entire organization is bad, or if some individuals need to be weeded out.

    September 23, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. m smith

    Good ol Barney. Even if you don't agree with him he is not bashful about having his say. Somethimes he's right too.

    September 23, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. Albo58

    Perhaps Eric Holder could tear away from his witch hunt investigations of past CIA dealings with notorious terrorists long enough to investigate ACORN? After all, we're talking about the theft of American taxpayer dollars and voter fraud!

    September 23, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |

    If I may borrow the words of Rep. Frank:

    "I am very disappointed in the actions that were taken by members of Xe (the contractor formerly known as Blackwater)," I say, "and I do not believe that Xe's (the contractor formerly known as Blackwater) response has been adequate for an organization that has received public funding."

    Sorry, Barney. But you know as well as anyone that ACORN doesn't come close to being the big problem for our country that MUST be solved at all costs. Why not focus on the real problems?

    September 23, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Sylvia

    Why aren't these politicians asking the same of Blackwater and Halliburton? They committed heinous crimes and the government is still has contracts with them. I am really disappointed with Barney Frank's statement. He is feeding right into the GOP's goal to destroy ACORN. ACORN already fired the employees that were wrong. There is no reason to punish the whole organization who has done great things for decades.

    September 23, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  10. Fitz in Texas

    "There is no bigger critic of ACORN than its members and its board," the group's CEO Bertha Lewis said."

    HAHAHAHA.....I just love a good laugh.

    September 23, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    OK Libs, one of your own is going after them. Is he a hater too?

    September 23, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Mark My Words

    ACORN is an embarrassment to the liberals. The obvious corruption should make the leftist supporters distance themselves from the foul organization.

    September 23, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  13. obama the liar

    This clown is one of the BIGGEST supporters of Acorn....witness Fannie Mae that he led and put our nation in the home mortgage situation just to get liberal votes. SHAME

    September 23, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  14. Bob in Pa

    he's very disappointed that they got caught, thats all. Barny is waist deep in the housing market turmoil and Acorn is right there along side him.

    September 23, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  15. JJ in NY

    Cheap talk, Bertha.


    September 23, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  16. SuperMod

    How many of you realize Acorn is For Profit organization? If their goal is to make a profit, why are we giving them tax dollars? This is a blatant abuse of Congress' power to tax. Let's tax the people and give it to an organization so they can line their pockets with the profit from the tax dollars. I would like to see the $8 billion allocated in the stimuls bill go to something worth while like St. Judes, Make a Wish, and the Shriners Hospitals. Now those are organizations that we all can support. While we are at it, get our money back from all of those bad businesses Bush bailed out.

    September 23, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. MatthewDetroit

    WOW truly amazing.
    Barney Frank the man among undaunting support for ACORN is now suggesting that they might be doing something illegal.
    I am AMAZED... Put your money where your mouth is Barney and KILL off ACORN now. CUT ALL FUNDING.
    They are an illegal group...
    Maybe Barack who said he stands by them for YEARS...
    and THEY will have imprint on the US policy....
    They are an IMPORTANT group....
    Bull. Just a bunch of racist thieves.... Cancel the COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION crap. We should not be putting ANY tax dollars in their.

    September 23, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  18. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Of course, ACORN and its officials are innocent until proven guilty of any wrongdoing, but because the Constitutional census is so important, the possibility of fraudulent performance by ACORN is sufficient to prohibit their participation as an agent of the government. The recording may have been contrary to state law, but this toothpaste will be hard to put back in the tube.

    September 23, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  19. Gary

    ACORN has time after time proven itself to be corrupt with embezzlement, election fraud, bias towards Democrats and now this prostitution scandel....we need to shut down ACORN once and for all. ACORN should not receive tax money. I don't want a single penny of my tax money to go to this awful organization!

    September 23, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  20. Frank is a Racist

    Frank is a racist for criticising ACORN.

    September 23, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. Obommunists for ACORN

    Sorry Barney, you're too late to the party. Like most on the left, you're "shocked" well after the fact (and only when there is clear cut evidence of wrong doing – like a tape).

    Barney Frank has zero credibility.

    September 23, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  22. Tim

    good job Barney!

    September 23, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  23. rev_cletus

    Just goes to show you – even a smart, attuned Congressman like Rep. Frank can be swayed by the constant barrage of disinformation flooding the "news." Here's hoping he gets better information before he starts looking like the rest of the Washington asshats who've climbed onto the anti-ACORN bandwagon...

    September 23, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  24. Johnny DC

    This is an organization that has overseen HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of proven cases of election tampering.

    And our federal government is only JUST NOW deciding to not let them conduct the census, which in turn dictates political implications as far as congressional seat counts? Convenient. The White House and Congress only become "furious" when it becomes obvious that the public is about to.

    This is proof that there is corruption all over the government. You are only just hearing about it now on the Democrat side because the media is in bed with the Liberals.

    September 23, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  25. Donkey Party

    To my knowledge, ACORN has never killed anyone or jeopardized national security. Haliburton, and Blackwater (now Xe) have defrauded billions of taxpayer dollars, and are responsible for the deaths of thousands. Why aren't these folks being investigated? Anyone else see a problem?

    September 23, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
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