[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/06/acorn.press.club/art.bertha.lewis.afp.gi.jpg caption="ACORN leader Bertha Lewis defended her group at a press conference in Washington last month."]
(CNN) – The embattled community organizing group ACORN filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging a law passed by Congress that denies it federal funding.
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The congressional appropriations resolution specifically provides that no federal dollars be provided to ACORN "or any of ACORN's affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations."
In a release announcing the suit, an attorney for ACORN said Congress had overstepped its authority in singling out the organization for denial of federal funding.
"It's not the job of Congress to be the judge, jury, and executioner," Jules Lobel, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said in the statement. "We have due process in this country, and our Constitution forbids lawmakers from singling out a person or group for punishment without a fair investigation and trial. Congress, as well as individuals and organizations must abide by the rule of law."
ACORN's lawsuit alleges that Congress' action is unconstitutional and seeks a court order prohibiting the federal government enforcing or complying with the congressional resolution.
The community organizing group came under increasing scrutiny in recent months after the release of videos produced by two conservative activists. The conservative filmmakers, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, sought advice from ACORN employees on setting up a brothel with underage girls from El Salvador. The activists recorded the videos in Baltimore and three other cities. The tapes show ACORN employees suggesting or condoning a series of illicit actions.
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The release of the videos caused federal agencies including the Census Bureau to reconsider their ties to ACORN and precipitated a number of investigations by federal agencies into ACORN's conduct.
The law passed by Congress denying ACORN federal funding also came in the wake of the release of the controversial videos.
Update: In a statement e-mailed to CNN, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, the Ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, called ACORN's suit "baseless."