Rep. Michele Bachmann ramped up her campaign against ACORN on Thursday with the introduction of a bill and the initiation of a petition. Both aim to pressure Congress to ban ACORN from receiving funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an aim critics say is way off base.
Bachmann introduced the Taxpayer Protection and Anti-Fraud Act, which would prohibit any organization that has been indicted for violations of state or federal election laws from getting HUD money.
“Easy access to taxpayer dollars has allowed ACORN to fund their political and questionable activities for years,” Bachmann said in a press release. “We have a fiduciary duty to the taxpayers to close the door to federal funding on groups that have violated the public trust like this.”
She also initiated a petition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanding, “I want to know if you are on the taxpayer’s side … or ACORN’s.”
Politifact.com, a Pulitzer prize-winning operation of the St. Petersburg Times, checked Bachmann’s claims about ACORN and HUD funding.
“[T]he fact is, ACORN isn’t eligible for [Community Development Block Grants] funding,” the site reported. “At least not for the controversial voter registration efforts that Republican leaders claim are a willful effort to forward the group’s liberal agenda.”
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are the main source of HUD funding received by ACORN Housing, an affiliate of ACORN that offers home ownership counseling to low-income families.
“CDBG rules list eligible uses of the money, including such things as building sidewalks, sewers and affordable housing, mostly. Specifically ineligible: ‘political activities,’” said Politifact. “In other words, ACORN can’t use the money for voter registration.”
Despite this fact, Bachmann’s petition is drawing support — and piquing ire. More than 800 people have signed already, many leaving irate comments.
“ACORN’s objective is to turn our country into a socialist nation and to get Democrats elected,” said petition signer Jeff W. Johnson. “Why should all taxpayers be paying to get Democrats elected? They should be funded by their supporters, not by me.”
“These are extraordinary times we live in, when a group like ACORN can be considered anything but a hate group,” Barbara Darracq wrote when she signed the petition. “ACORN must be stopped and cannot be allowed to receive taxpayer money.”
Robert H. Whitley, a petition signer said, “ACORN is a radical Marxist political action group, and they act to subvert representative government, the rule of law, and the US Constitution.”
While Tim Mortensen continued the kind of hyperbole that permeates the petition’s comments: “Stop taxpayer funding of this dispicable communist organization.”
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