ACORN is continuing its two-pronged -- critics would say contradictory -- strategy to rebuff allegations that threaten its funding and ties to the federal government.
Responding to widely circulated videos that show two conservative activists, posing as a prostitute and her pimp, getting advice from ACORN employees on how to buy a house and fill out tax forms, the community advocacy group said today it will stop accepting new clients during an independent investigation.
"As a result of the indefensible action of a handful of our employees, I am, in consultation with ACORN’s Executive Committee, immediately ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review," the group's CEO Bertha Lewis said in a statement. "I have also communicated with ACORN’s independent Advisory Council, and they will assist ACORN in naming an independent auditor and investigator to conduct a thorough review of all of the organizations relevant systems and processes. That reviewer, to be named within 48 hours, will make recommendations directly to me and to the full ACORN Board. We enter this process with a commitment that all recommendations will be implemented.” (Click here to read the release.)
But in another statement Tuesday night, the group claimed that a California organizer was only joking with the advice to the activists pretending to be a prostitute and pimp, saying, "With their provocative costuming and outlandish scenario, she could not take them seriously. So she met their outrageousness with her own personal style of outrageousness. She matched their false scenario with her own false scenarios."
“They were not believable”, the organizer said in the statement. “Somewhat entertaining, but they weren't even good actors. I didn’t know what to make of them. They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them as much as they were shocking me. Like Stephan Colbert does – saying the most outrageous things with a straight face.”
"While her sense of humor might not be funny to many people, the fact is that she spun false scenario after false scenario and the videographer ate them up," ACORN said. (Click here to read the release.)
Republicans have been on the warparth against the group since last year's presidential campaign, when some ACORN staffers went overboard in sometimes illegal ways in registering voters. They are jumping on the latest controversy to try to cut off federal funding and to have the Justice Department investigate ACORN. Last week, the Census Bureau severed its ties with the group, which was going to help in the 2010 count.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.