Evidence continues to accumulate from far and wide that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is lousy with corruption. The latest revelations come from Louisiana and Oklahoma. In the former, the local ACORN Housing Corp. office received contracts worth a combined $625,000 from the City of New Orleans for repairing existing low-income housing and developing new units in poor neighborhoods.
The contracts were paid for with funds from federal Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An investigation by the Pelican Institute think tank of New Orleans, however, found that no work was actually performed to fulfill the contracts. Worse, Pelican couldn’t talk to the ACORN official managing the contracts because he had left the organization months ago. One more thing: The office address listed on the contracts for ACORN turned out to be a vacant lot, although new plumbing connections indicated a trailer had recently been located on the site.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, documents found in a recently vacated ACORN office included a detailed memo entitled “Power Plan” for a five-year effort to elect supportive legislators and transform Oklahoma to a progressive state “in the way it was 100 years ago.” The man in charge of the office left town without paying back rent or utility bills, according to OklahomaWatchdog.org. Also found in the documents was a script for a Houston ACORN-directed recruiting campaign for “hiring Outreach Workers to remind people to get out and vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming election.” As a tax-exempt nonprofit, ACORN is barred from participating in partisan election activities, and its national spokesmen have insisted throughout the 2008 presidential race that their organization was not working to elect Obama.
These revelations come hard on the heels of the sensational videotapes showing ACORN employees in Baltimore, New York and San Diego giving advice on concealing a brothel featuring 13-year-old girls smuggled here from Latin America. Congress is considering measures to stop any more federal funds from going to ACORN after an Examiner investigation found the group has received at least $53 million in recent years. More than a dozen states are investigating allegations of improper election activities by ACORN. Now, with evidence of apparent theft of federal grant money and blatantly partisan political work, what else must be exposed before Congress gets off the dime and conducts a full-fledged -investigation?