Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Goes to ACORN

Posted: Oct 07, 2009 3:45 PM
Pretend for a second you work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and you have a certain amount of federal grant money to distribute to fire departments and first responders throughout the country to enhance fire prevention and fire safety. In Louisiana, you have several fire departments applying for funding --in fact, more than you have money to disburse. You would think actual first responders would have precedent over, say, ACORN?  Wouldn’t you?

Well, apparently, that makes too much sense for the federal government when it comes to fire prevention in Louisiana.

According to the Washington Times, "nearly $1 million in Homeland Security funding typically earmarked for fire departments has been awarded to ACORN."  The Times goes on to say, "It was one of only three such grants issued to the state and made up almost 80 percent of the firefighting money earmarked for Louisiana...."

Thankfully, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is all over this and has already requested that the grant be rescinded and given to someone with "expertise in this area."

It's not like there was a shortage of fire departments applying for the funding.  As the Times reports:

"One such group might have been the St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 3, which applied for a $120,000 grant to purchase smoke alarms for low-income families after a January fire killed four children in a home that had no working detectors.

“’We wanted to buy smoke detectors to spread to homes all over the community to prevent that from happening again,' Chief Charles Flynn said in an interview Tuesday.

"'I have no problem with not getting a grant, I've lost grants before,' said Chief Flynn, one of the fire officials who complained to Mr. Vitter in a letter.

"'My issue is ACORN in New Orleans. Their mission statement says nothing about fire safety or fire prevention. It bothered me that ACORN got $1 million and there are so many smaller and bigger departments that have a need for that money.'

"The Monroe Fire Department was the only squad in Louisiana to receive a grant and will be awarded $192,000. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office will receive $62,000.

"ACORN received $997,402, slightly less than the maximum allowable grant of $1 million. A total of $35 million was available for the grants project to fire districts across the country this year."

The announcement of this grant came after House and Senate votes to cut ACORN off.  But, it just goes to show you, the House and Senate voting to cut off funding to ACORN is nothing but a show until the President either signs it into law or he uses his authority to bar ACORN from federal programs and funds. The money is still flowing … and apparently it’s flowing from even the most unusual of sources.