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ACORN Got $200,000 From Justice
Posted By Aruna Viswanatha On November 20, 2009 @ 6:03 pm In News | Comments Disabled
The Justice Department paid out around $200,000 in grants that benefited the controversial anti-poverty group ACORN, according to a report issued today by the Department’s Inspector General. The report also found evidence of mismanagement.
ACORN has long been the subject of criticism from conservatives, who have questioned its finances and management. The community activist organization for years has run a voter-registration program that primarily benefited Democrats.
But questions about ACORN became a major political issue earlier this year, after two conservative activists posing as brothel owners shot undercover video showing ACORN employees providing advice on laundering money and evading taxes. Congress cut off the group’s funding, and Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), asked for the Justice Department study.
“It’s ironic that the Justice Department provided ACORN affiliates with funding to help prevent crime when many of ACORN’s own employees have come under criticism for possible criminal conduct,” Smith said in a statement Friday. “ The Justice Department IG’s report may prove to be just the tip of an iceberg-sized fraud.”
The organization received funds through affiliates and subcontracts rather than direct payments from DOJ, the report found. A crime prevention program in New York, for example, has withheld a $20,000 payment to ACORN citing unauthorized requests for “fringe benefits.”
Another DOJ-funded program to help Phoenix residents with their taxes has not paid ACORN around $8,500 due to the organization’s “poor reporting” on another un-related project. And in another crime-prevention program in Chicago, the report said, it was unclear what ACORN did with a$20,000 award it received through a subcontract, the report said.
ACORN also applied for — but didn’t receive — several direct grants from the Justice Department, the report found.
Read The Hill story on the report here .
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