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House opposes ACORN funding

Vote follows video scandal

By Jim Abrams
Associated Press / September 18, 2009

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WASHINGTON - The House voted yesterday to deny federal funds for ACORN in a GOP-led strike against the scandal-tainted community organizing group that occurring just three days after the Senate took similar action.

“ACORN has violated serious federal laws, and today the House voted to ensure that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to fund this corrupt organization,’’ said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, a Republican.

The vote, on a provision attached to a student aid bill, was 345 to 75, with Democrats supplying all the “no’’ votes.

On Monday the Senate voted 83 to 7 to deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. And last week, the Census Bureau severed its ties with the group for the 2010 national population count.

Republicans have urged federal officials to go further by launching a comprehensive investigation of how ACORN spends and manages federal money. The Senate and House actions to cut funding for ACORN won’t take effect until the bills to which they are attached clear Congress and are signed by President Obama.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Wednesday said that the conduct seen on tapes released Monday “is completely unacceptable’’ and that the Obama administration “takes accountability extremely seriously.’’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that the latest allegations against ACORN are “horrible,’’ but said that the group has many honest employees and that it was up to House-Senate negotiators to determine whether the provision to cut funding would be in the final version of the bill.

Republicans accelerated their attacks on the liberal-leaning group a year ago when ACORN, in conducting a voter registration drive, was accused of submitting false registration forms.

On a hidden-camera video released Monday, two ACORN employees are seen apparently advising a couple posing as a prostitute and her pimp to lie about her profession and launder her earnings. The video was the latest in a series that led to the firing of four ACORN employees.

Scott Levenson, ACORN spokesman, blasted the video, saying the group believes the voices of the couple were dubbed over to alter the conversation and make the interaction appear more objectionable than it may have been. ACORN is ordering its own independent investigation.