September 24th, 2009
04:25 PM ET
10 years ago

IRS inspector general joins entities looking into ACORN

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The community organizing group ACORN is under review by a Treasury Department inspector general as part of an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's oversight of non-profit organizations.

It is one of several steps taken - including an investigation initiated by ACORN itself - since the release of videos - shot by conservative activists with a hidden camera - showing ACORN workers apparently giving advice on how to conduct illegal activity.

The office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has confirmed to CNN that it is "initiating a review of ACORN." Office spokeswoman Li-Yun Chien told CNN that the inquiry is related to a non-profit fraud investigation, and how IRS internal processes handle possible fraud issues in organizations that are classified as non-profits, like ACORN.

She said the request for an investigation by the inspector general, J. Russell George, came from the offices of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep Darrell Issa, R-California. They asked for a multiple-agency review of ACORN and how it uses its tax exempt status

ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

After the Treasury Department announcement, Collins and Issa responded by issuing a statement in which Collins said, "I am heartened by the agreement of the Treasury Department's inspector general to examine the troubling financial questions that have been raised about ACORN.

"At a time when so many American families are facing difficult economic situations, it is completely unacceptable that even one penny of taxpayer money
be misused. We must bring all agencies and groups that use taxpayer funds into
the spotlight of accountability."

Issa added, "The lack of an appropriate firewall between ACORN's charitable activities and its political arm has raised significant questions regarding the appropriateness of their status as a taxable nonprofit corporation and their management of federal dollars. Cutting ties with ACORN is a good first step for the federal government, but since they have been the recipients of taxpayer dollars, we have an obligation to investigate to discover whether or not those dollars were misused in anyway."

ACORN was in the headlines during the recent presidential campaign after allegations of voter registration fraud. Some of its voter registration workers were prosecuted and some other employees resigned.

Even greater controversy was ignited by the videos, which show some ACORN workers advising two conservative activists - posing as a pimp and a prostitute - how to set up a prostitution business involving underage, foreign girls.

Because ACORN is involved with many community programs that take advantage of government funding, Collins and Issa asked for a review of "grants, contracts, entitlements and other forms of assistance to ACORN and its affiliates."

The Justice Department inspector general already has announced an investigation, the Census Bureau has terminated ACORN's involvement in its public outreach program, and both chambers of Congress have voted to deny federal funding to the organization.

In addition, ACORN suspended tax preparation services it carried out as part of an IRS program. And the group announced that it has retained a former attorney general of Massachusetts to conduct an independent inquiry into its delivery of social services as well as a general review of ACORN's management.

Filed under: ACORN
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Nagudcm Sugna

    ACORN thought they could avoid an outside investigation if they quickly started an internal investigation of their own. Now we will hear the good stuff as long as Obama doesn't get in the way.

    September 24, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. If the insurance companies win, YOU LOSE

    Well, I suppose the folks at Fixed "News" are proud of themselves for having won yet another phony, manufactured controversy.

    Good for them.

    September 24, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Leftie

    Too bad the Republicans weren't so worried about whether tax payers' dollars were being mis-used to fund Bush's illegal war.

    September 24, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. J.P.

    Voter fraud?
    Tax evasion?
    Human smuggling??
    Child pr0$t!tuti0n???

    All part of a day's work at ACORN.

    Nothing to see here... move along... these are not the droids you're looking for.

    September 24, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Sam Sixpack

    If we could only get that kind of enthusiasm in getting to the bottom of this healthcare "reform" scam.

    September 24, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Mississippi Miss

    It will be good to finally root out the network of pro-Obama supporters who are embedded within the 'non-profit' Acorn group. There is so much non-profit tax exempt corruption within so-called non-profits (such as predominantly african-american churches in the south).
    Memphis is really, really bad. Many ministers within these churches openly campaign, endorse, and testify before the congregation to stir up the masses to vote for black candidates. Sad but true, they get away with it, and it is common knowledge that they take pride in their open agenda to elect Democratic candidates. How in the world ACORN was not investigated sooner for seeking to register only still a source of amazement to me.

    I cannot express my appreciation enough to everyone investigating this group. I regret that they have to throw out the baby with the bath
    water, but these groups do not really help the poor, they mis-direct
    the resources which is criminal to rob from the poor to give to the robbers.

    September 24, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Sam Sixpack

    If we could only get this kind of enthusiams in getting to the bottom of the gag orders being issued regarding the healtcare "reform" scam.

    September 24, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Carlos

    Best news of the day. Put their crooked butts in jail.

    September 24, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Glennis

    I only hope that this will be an in depth investigation, rather than just window dressing.

    September 24, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Sam Sixpack

    Wouldn't it be great if we could get this depth of coverage regarding Obama's proposed "Independent Medicare Advisory Council" (IMAC). You know, the council described in Peter Orszag's July 27, 2009 letter to Nancy Pelosi. You know, the Peter Orszag who is Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

    September 24, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Duck Fallas

    Why are they wasting their efforts on this? When are they going to investigate Halliburton, or KBR, or whoever they're calling themselves today? Why isn't Cheney in jail?

    Democrats are cowards. Stand up or these lunatics will bowl you over!

    September 24, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Amanda

    Hey, while we are at it, why don't we investigate all areas of government funded programs and contracts. I am sure there is wasteful spending in all areas on both parties.

    September 24, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Idiot_Pelosi

    BYE BYE ACORN......

    Can't believe TAX DOLLARS were going to these fools so they could have a so called JOB.


    And OBUMMER gave them money as part of the so called STIMULUS (aka PORKULUS) plan.

    September 24, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    It will be interesting to see who backs away from this organization quickly enough to keep from being pulled into this developing mess. For Democrats, 2010 is going to be brutal enough already without having yourself seen as supporting ACORN in an opponent's campaign ad.

    September 24, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Bill

    Obama and Acorn, Acorn and Obama = scam America

    September 24, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Mark

    How about an investigation of the for profit, non tax paying companies like KBR, Titan, and Blackwater?

    September 24, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Ancient Texan

    ACORN is too important to the Obama administration. So it'll be swept under the rug. No charges.

    September 24, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. ralph

    ACORN is rotten to the core and everybody knows it.

    September 24, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. Peter

    ACORN = BLACKWATERS both flourish on ponzi ideas

    September 24, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Next let's do a profile on the 7 Democratic Senators who voted to keep funding these sleezebags. Tell me liberals, why did it take the National Enquirer to break the Edwards story and Fox News to break the Acorn story? Could it be a whooping liberal MSM bias? let's go after the Obama tie too!

    September 24, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. New Age Democrat

    ACORN has been an embarrassment to the Democratic party for far too long. I can only say how embarrassed I am that it took this long for some of the leadership to take action. I can only wonder how many elected officials knew what was really happening, and I doubt we ever will.

    September 24, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. LacrosseMom

    Another ACORN story! Wow. Nothing more important in the news?


    Even BUSH gave MILLIONS to ACORN!

    September 24, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    The best part will be the lawsuit against the two "film makers" or "journalists" who shopped around for someone dumb enough to fall for their ruse. Can't wait to see what that turns up....maybe a little funding from a GOPer congressperson here, and little kickback to the lowlevel ACORN employee there? Just wait. I'm pretty sure this can of worms wasn't something the GOP should've opened just because they're afraid of the census resulting in fair redeistricting.

    September 24, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Wonder what will be found by the IRS?? Well, more bad news for those ACORN nuts. The IRS will dig very deep, and they most likely find even more corruption. We have only seen just a little bit of the corruption, now we may see more.Keep digging

    ACORN should just go away. We don't need this corruption!!!

    September 24, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Steve (the real one)

    Blah, Blah, Halliburton, Blah, Blah, KBR, Blah, Blah, Bush. The subject is ACORN. What's up with the lame, liberal attempt at diversion? Oh, I know it's a little something called embarressment!

    September 24, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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