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ACORN Update

September 11, 2009

Fox and The Baltimore Sun both reported that ACORN has fired the two part-time workers who appeared in the hidden camera video we posted about yesterday. So, ACORN says the vid is “defamatory” and false, but fires the employees because they “acted outside of the ACORN policy?” Comedy gold.

On the other hand, tons of commentors across the internet are using this video to demand that ACORN’s “taxpayer funding” be cut off.

Newsflash, peeps: ACORN does not receive federal grants. It also does not receive—and will not receive—any of the “bailout money.”

What ACORN does get, like a lot of other non-profits, is subcontracts from other government contractors for specific services. It’s fair to audit these—I think most of these kinds of contracts should be looked at more coldly—but it’s not like ACORN is getting showered with millions of dollars just for registering voters, as has often been claimed.

ACORN has also gotten money from banks, mainly by suing or threatening to hold up mergers. The group historically has noted violations of the Fair Lending Act and other scams big banks have perpetrated on regular people (scams that state and federal regulators routinely ignore), and has basically shaken the banks down for payoffs. The organization supposedly spends that money on low income housing and on advocating on behalf of poor people so that they can get housing. This too is worth investigating, auditing, debating, etc. But it’s not “taxpayer funding” and it long predates any bailouts.

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