Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Obama uses taxpayer cash to back ACORN: Name changes used to dodge the law

I had an op-ed in yesterday's Washington Times.

It begins:

The Obama administration has showered its allies at ACORN Housing with $729,849 so far this year despite powerful, newly unveiled evidence of corruption and massive accounting irregularities at the longtime affiliate of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).
Watchdog group Cause of Action recently pressured NeighborWorks America, a taxpayer-funded federal nonprofit that funneled more than $26.5 million in federal foreclosure-avoidance money to ACORN Housing, to disclose an internal audit furnished to then-Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, late last year.
The audit, provided to Cause of Action last month, found that although ACORN Housing and voter-fraud-prone ACORN are legally separate entities, there were numerous financial transactions and “evidence [of] extensive relationships between both organizations that may undermine claims of an ‘arm’s length relationship’ between them.” ACORN Housing, the audit states, worked closely with ACORN and even subcontracted some of the counseling work to “four ACORN local state chapters.”
It’s still the same old ACORN, the same old venal organization. But none of this seemed to bother the Obama administration when it started cutting new checks to its old community organizing friends earlier this year.
ACORN Housing was incapable of administering the federal funds properly, the audit suggests. “We have determined that [ACORN Housing] lacks the accounting capacity to manage the size and complexity of the [foreclosure-avoidance] program funds,” said the audit, dated Dec. 17, 2010. ACORN Housing had poorly trained staff, extraordinarily sloppy accounting procedures, and violated conflict-of-interest guidelines laid down by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the audit said.
ACORN Housing is the largest affiliate of ACORN, the notorious group brought down by undercover videos showing its employees facilitating child prostitution in 2009. ACORN Housing changed its name a year ago to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) to escape the stigma of being associated with ACORN, the famously corrupt former employer and legal client of President Obama. ACORN’s state chapters have restructured themselves and now go by names such as New York Communities for Change and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, both of which have been heavily involved in organizing and financing the Occupy Wall Street movement. [...]

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