Closing the ACORN Loophole

Posted: Feb 02, 2009 4:56 PM
Prior to the vote last week on the House Democrats’ 800-billion-dollar-plus spending package, I joined several of my House Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the ludicrous amounts spent on programs that have no impact on the immediate recovery of our economy.  For instance, the bill includes $15 billion for existing housing programs, the majority of which already have large unspent balances sitting in their accounts. 

Specifically, we expressed our concern that this bill opens the door for groups like ACORN to have access to billions more in taxpayer dollars. Between 1994 and 2008, ACORN has received at least $53 million in direct federal funding.  And, it receives millions more in federal funds indirectly through states and cities.

Last year, Congress included in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 provisions that barred ACORN from receiving federal financial assistance under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  The provision barred funding for groups indicted for federal election fraud or hiring individuals indicted for such. 

Yet, under this new so-called “stimulus” bill, it is unclear whether the same restrictions apply. This is a serious omission that needs to be addressed.

As flawed as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is in making reforms that will benefit our economy, these egregious omissions and gestures to political friends and allies is simply irresponsible and wrong.

To read the letter, check out the "Letters" section on my website under Financial Services.