Republicans Take Aim at ACORN’s Private Funding
House and Senate Republicans opened a new front in their war on a controversial left-leaning community organization this week, shifting the the focus of their attacks from the group’s public funding to its private sources of income.Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a report Thursday evening detailing what Republicans called a web of nonprofits set up by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now to funnel funds to ACORN itself.According to Grassley’s report, ACORN officials have set up a series of 501(c)3 organizations, many of which are located in ACORN’s New Orleans headquarters. Republicans have said these organizations appear to be used in many cases as a way for ACORN to shift funding around and help fund its for-profit wing and other activities.In a statement to the Associated Press, ACORN Executive Director Bertha Lewis called the allegations “politically motivated, false and part of a long-standing campaign against this grass-roots organization carried out by partisan right-wing conservatives.— She said that political activities such as lobbying are paid for with membership dues and that “every dollar that we spend we spend legally in accordance with government regulations.—Then, on Friday, House Financial Services ranking member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter to a raft of financial institutions demanding “complete disclosure of funds provided to [ACORN] and any of its subsidiaries and affiliates, including ACORN Housing Corporation,— according to a release from the lawmakers.In their letter, House Republicans noted that “support for ACORN is not limited to the federal government. Corporations provide a significant source of ACORN’s operating budget.— They asked that all documents be turned over by Oct. 15.The focus on private sources of funding is a significant shift in Republicans’ war on ACORN. Since November, the GOP and conservatives have made a full-frontal assault on the organization’s public sources of funding following charges of voter fraud in the 2008 elections. Both the House and Senate have voted to eliminate funding for ACORN, and various federal agencies have cut their ties.But with Democrats shunning the organization and ACORN appearing to no longer have any allies in the halls of Congress, Republicans’ latest moves could eliminate most, if not all, funding to the organization.