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Congressional Report: ACORN Involved in Organized Crime

A new congressional report accuses the radical activist group ACORN of organized criminal activities. I will have a full article on the American Spectator website in the morning about it.

The report, called “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured As a Criminal Enterprise?” comes from minority staff on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The ranking member on the committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), is appearing on the “Glenn Beck Program” on Fox News today to discuss the report.

The report, available here, is based to an extent on my research detailing the ACORN network’s interlocking directorates, its millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, and various unethical and possibly unlawful activities. Its executive summary mirrors the many articles I have written about ACORN for the American Spectator.

Here’s an excerpt from the congressional report:

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systemic fraud.  Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate.

Emerging accounts of widespread deceit and corruption raise the need for a criminal investigation of ACORN.  By intentionally blurring the legal distinctions between 361 tax-exempt and non-exempt entities, ACORN diverts taxpayer and tax-exempt monies into partisan political activities.  Since 1994, more than $53 million in federal funds have been pumped into ACORN, and under the Obama administration, ACORN stands to receive a whopping $8.5 billion in available stimulus funds.

Operationally, ACORN is a shell game played in 120 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia through a complex structure designed to conceal illegal activities, to use taxpayer and tax-exempt dollars for partisan political purposes, and to distract investigators.  Structurally, ACORN is a chess game in which senior management is shielded from accountability by multiple layers of volunteers and compensated employees who serve as pawns to take the fall for every bad act. [...]

One small proviso: I don’t think the $8.5 billion referred to consists entirely of funding from President Obama’s February stimulus package. Much of the money ACORN and other advocacy groups are eligible for is to be found in the fiscal 2010 budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Congressional Democrats have shown little interest in probing ACORN. After initially expressing interest in an investigation, House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-Michigan), a longtime ACORN ally, backed off saying “the powers that be decided against it.”

The website of “Lou Dobbs Live” indicates Issa will also be on that show at 7 p.m. (Eastern) tonight to talk about the report.

Updated: Here is the video from Issa’s appearance today on the “Glenn Beck Program”: