A top House Republican today blasted a ruling by the Justice Department that allows the Obama administration to pay ACORN for services provided under contracts signed before Congress passed a law banning the community advocacy group from receiving taxpayers money.
Republicans have been on the warpath against ACORN since its voter registration efforts came under scrutiny during the 2008 presidential campaign. After conservative activists, who posed as a prostitute and pimp, released videos appearing to show ACORN staffers advising them how to skirt the law, Democrats joined in the outrage, leading to the congressional funding ban that Obama signed on Oct. 1.
Since 1994, ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has received about $53 million in federal aid, much of it in grants to help poor people obtain affordable housing. The Justice Department asked whether the funding ban applied to prior contracts. In a ruling first reported by the New York Times, a department lawyer said the payments under prior contracts should continue because the language of the law did not expressly wipe them out.
But Representative Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said "the bipartisan intent of Congress was clear -- no more federal dollars should flow to ACORN."
"It is telling that this administration continues to look for every excuse possible to circumvent the intent of Congress," Issa said in a statement. "Taxpayers should not have to continue subsidizing a criminal enterprise that helped Barack Obama get elected president. The politicization of the Justice Department to payback one of the presidentís political allies is shameful and amounts to nothing more than old-fashioned cronyism."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.