Republican lawyers press for ACORN investigation; Update: Conyers wants probe of ACORN – and BigGov’t

posted at 4:45 pm on September 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

How badly does an organization receiving federal funds have to behave to get Congress to conduct a hearing into their activities? The Republican National Lawyers Association wants Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to keep his word to investigate ACORN when he learns of “credible” allegations of wrongdoing. Having ACORN employees on video offering tax-evasion strategies and advice on hiding child-prostitution trafficking should be credible enough to warrant a look at the least, right?

A powerful group of GOP lawyers is demanding that government officials open an investigation into the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now to determine if any of their government funds have been used for illegal purposes.

And, they’re making those demands directly to House Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Rep. Jerrold Nalder, New York, who said he would consider holding a hearing about “if I ever hear any credible allegations” about the group. Now that a pair of activist filmmakers have exposed ACORN workers giving advice on how to obtain federal funds to run a brothel on video the Republican National Lawyers Association says the evidence is piled high enough to get a hearing. RNLA put a web video out Wednesday that replayed Mr. Nadler’s remarks made last March. …

Cleta Mitchell, co-chairman of RNLA, said Mr. Nadler isn’t taking the charges against ACORN seriously and he needs to hold a hearing to track down how their federal dollars have been spent. Republican critics of ACORN estimate the group has gotten close to $54 million since 1994.

“When you get federal money you get it for a special purpose and you are supposed to spend it for that purpose and certify at the end of each fiscal year it was spent for that purpose,” Mrs. Mitchell said. “I don’t see how they could have possibly made those representations truthfully to the federal government.”

Nadler has done his best to avoid fulfilling his promise to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). On the House floor, he decried the Issa amendment barring funds from ACORN as an unconstitutional “bill of attainder,” which demonstrates Nadler’s ignorance as well as his obstinance.  A bill of attainder creates a judgment of criminal or civil guilt by Congress rather than by a jury, making justice a political battle, which is why the founders were smart enough to proscribe the practice from the very start of the republic.

Congress has every right, however, to determine where it will and will not spend its money.  ACORN is not entitled to federal funding, and Congress can halt funds to it at any time its members so desire.  Such a finding does not carry a legal weight of conviction for violations, and indeed Congress doesn’t necessarily need to justify itself along those lines.  In fact, it would be the height of irresponsibility to allow taxpayer funds to go to an organization that had been caught on tape in several locations and instances giving advice on how to commit crimes and cover them up, including evasion of the very taxes that allow ACORN’s funding in the first place.

If Nadler is so concerned about the idea of a “bill of attainder,” then he should start a Congressional inquiry — with subpoena power for both sides — into ACORN’s business practices.

Update: John Conyers has now announced that he wants a Congressional investigation of ACORN — and of O’Keefe and Giles:

Conyers and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts asked the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service today to provide an analysis on several aspects of ACORN, including any current or previous criminal investigations into the group; a breakdown of any funding received by the group and any violations of the terms of that funding; a report on alleged improprieties in collecting voter registration forms and “the extent … that resulted in people being improperly placed on voting roles and actually attempting to vote,” and the group’s programs to provide housing opportunities.

It also asked for a report on private sting activities “in which individuals have reportedly visited ACORN offices, misrepresented their identities and proposed activities, surreptitiously videotaped resulting conversations with ACORN workers, and widely distributed them.”

The letter went onto say, “Conflicting allegations have been made about the propriety of these activities. Please research and report on the federal and state laws that could apply to such videotaping and distribution of conversations without the consent of all parties.”

Yes, because the big issue here is a journalistic strategy that has been in place for the last several decades, used by all of broadcast networks and most local stations, and never before questioned by Congress.  Let’s put undercover jounalistic sting operations at the same law-enforcement priority as tax evasion, child prostitution, and human trafficking, by all means.


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If Acorn isn’t making salaries or paying bills, someone has to be holding onto the money. Paging Mr. Rathke.

Kissmygrits on September 22, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Boy, what a man you are. You bad mouth a guy’s family. When the guy threatens you because of that, you run to the nanny state to protect you.

Do me a favor, don’t call a man a boy when you act like a pussy yourself.

Tom_Shipley on September 22, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Acorn is clean as a whistle / sarc

John Atlas

By Peter Dreier and John Atlas

The right-wing blogosphere is abuzz over the article, which reported that an ACORN staff-person embezzled almost $1 million from the organization’s coffers eight years ago. (The aggregate budgets of ACORN and its affiliate organizations back then totaled about $41.5 million). ACORN immediately established new internal controls to put the organization’s financial house in order. But ACORN’s founder and chief organizer, Wade Rathke, covered up the incident in order to protect the wrongdoer, his brother Dale, who at the time was the group’s chief financial officer. Even worse, he kept his brother on the payroll until June 2, although he was long before removed from having any responsibility for the group’s finances

from huffingtonpost.com

CWforFreedom on September 22, 2009 at 7:49 PM

At least Tom is one liberal who supports the police, fbi, and Cia..that is refreshing.

/

CWforFreedom on September 22, 2009 at 7:50 PM

Tom_Shipley on September 22, 2009 at 7:46 PM

You are a boy that is evident. You talk big on a site like this. What is your address?

CWforFreedom on September 22, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Tom_Shipley on September 22, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Of course, this is all ridiculous because we’re just two DBs fighting on the Internet… I think it’s time to end this. Have a good night!

Tom_Shipley on September 22, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Tom why do you need to have the government take care of you and feed you and wipe your butt? Were you raised to give up such tasks by your father ? Did he tell you to accept such things from other people and NOT do it yourself?

CWforFreedom on September 22, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Everyone, including you Tom, is aware that the guy DID NOT call the cops?

He called his brother. That doesn’t count.

uknowmorethanme on September 22, 2009 at 7:57 PM

So he talks big then when the shipley hits the fan he runs. Remember who physically threatened whom. Liberals used to say that was not very manly. Hmmm

CWforFreedom on September 22, 2009 at 7:57 PM

He called his brother. That doesn’t count.

uknowmorethanme on September 22, 2009 at 7:57 PM

Tom’s a self-admitted DB. Don’t expect him to be honest or realistic.

CWforFreedom on September 22, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Tom’s a self-admitted DB. Don’t expect him to be honest or realistic.

Yeah, but I got nothing better to do tonight, so I’ll confuse a liberal with facts.

uknowmorethanme on September 22, 2009 at 7:59 PM

What’s a “DB”?

Scrappy on September 22, 2009 at 8:00 PM

I like how Tom totally ignored my posts in his attempts to confuse the issue by claiming his family was being threatened.

And now he’s cut and run. Just like a liberal.

Vanceone on September 22, 2009 at 8:01 PM

Scrappy

DB is douchebag

CWforFreedom on September 22, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Conyers is one crooked politician.

I wonder how much ACORN money and campaign support Conyers receives?

I do not recall EVER hearing of a CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION of a 20 YEAR OLD GIRL! EVER!!!

At some point, when there is a different speaker of the house, people like Conyers will find themselves running from the law.

And why is honest and innocent Charlie Rangle being so quiet?

Freddy on September 22, 2009 at 10:16 PM

Conyers in nothing but pond scum, a liar and a self gratifying toad. We need and investigation of Conyers.

ultracon on September 22, 2009 at 10:31 PM

Conyers in nothing but pond scum, a liar and a self gratifying toad. We need and investigation of Conyers.
ultracon on September 22, 2009

Well Conyers should have a lot of time on his hands once his wife starts her prison sentence.

DSchoen on September 23, 2009 at 5:54 AM

We should start a thread- If Hannah Giles was a liberal exposing corruption in the GOP:

1. She would have appeared on Letterman, SNL, Leno, Good Morning America, and the View among others
2. She would have gotten a full hour on Larry King live.
3. She would have been a presenter or featured guest at the MTV VMAs
4. She would have been on the front page of Time magazine
5. She would have guest starred as a reporter on some garbage MSM show like 30 Rock.
6. And of course, the Pulitzer. That goes without saying.

Instead, shes a conservative, and shes going to face a congressional investigation. Nice

tflst5 on September 23, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Going after O’Keefe and especially Giles will equal EPIC FAIL.

So Libs, please, please, please make the lovely Miss Giles the next Ollie North.

BlueStateBilly on September 23, 2009 at 9:03 AM

I like how Tom totally ignored my posts in his attempts to confuse the issue by claiming his family was being threatened.

And now he’s cut and run. Just like a liberal.

Vanceone on September 22, 2009 at 8:01 PM

Are you the same Vanceone that was a harmonian internet lawyer?

kvader on September 23, 2009 at 9:22 AM

ED,

Do you find it as depressing as I do that the democrats have been completely desensitized to the level of blatant hypocrisy on display by the leftists that is rampant in their party?

How do you stay sane?

csdeven on September 23, 2009 at 5:08 PM

The guy did the right thing and ends up getting fired thanks to a political vendetta. “Citizen journalism” at its finest.

Tom_Shipley on September 22, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Tom,

Your argument would hold weight if, they were not successful in filming a total of five different locations doing the exact thing AND if he had reported it IMMEDIATELY. Anyone with a notion to do “the right thing” would have done so. Waiting two days doesn’t cut it. In the end his police friends might be involved in this investigation.. from the other side.

shick on September 24, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Tom,

You know that Acorn has ties to the WH and you don’t like it. That’s why you are defending the indefensible.

Smell the coffee and wake up.

shick on September 24, 2009 at 12:02 PM

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