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Sep 22, 2009

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agnaldo

While in Iraq a few year ago, I watched as "We" paid 900 dollars (US) for printers that cost 150 dollars (US)

Rick

When an article start out with, "It Shouldn't Just Settle for an ACORN", it is pure and simple- finger pointing politics as usual. Sounds partisan to me. Sounds like, well, my son only murdered one person, but that other person murdered three people, they are only picking on my son!

ACORN is flat out wasting my tax dollars and nothing anyone can say will justify it.
The congress and senate give them the money, so I am equally as mad at them.

While in Iraq a few year ago, I watched as "We" paid 900 dollars (US) for printers that cost 150 dollars (US)
from Best Buy. I know that it cost a few bucks to mail them to Iraq, but this was ridiculous and nothing I said could change it. I understand that "We the People" are the servants, not the Congress or Senate, or for that matter, anyone holding public office. They are not servants, look at there paychecks.

Nancy P (D) spends "our" money flying around in "our" aircraft. Ted S, (R) was convicted of filing fraudulent financial disclosure. Even out Treasury has crooks and thieves employed. I wonder how many (I) s have been charged with crimes while in office.

Don

The reason why POGO isn't expending effort on ACORN is because the entirety of Congress is already doing so. It would be redundant and a waste of resources. If you care about your tax money, as I do, it is far more important to worry about many billion than a few million, over 1,000 times more important. It is entirely appropriate, then, that this organization would go after the big fish first as this is in the greatest public interest.

Given the untold thousands of poor that ACORN has helped in the last 6 decades, the new legislation can be seen simply as a bipartisan attack on a pretty solid organization and as a class war attack on the poor. Why not hoist the idiots upon their own corrupt petards.

Keep up the great work POGO!

FreeDem

Having had some conversations with Acorn over the years, what I have seen is far more scrupulous consideration than any folk I have dealt with. In trying 24 offices with intense effort the hatchet folk managed to get enough video to create a story about 3 offices, and some "just for talking" imagined under age hookers. This without filling out any paperwork, or making any actual crime or fraud.

This differed rather markedly with at least two Government contractors actually bringing in actual under age sex slaves, and others treating American Employees that way in gang rape parties. And that is long before we even start talking about mundane casual murder and financial fraud!

I expect that any real investigation of Acorn will show them pretty squeaky clean, not because they are better than others, but because they have always felt the sting of scrutiny while the cesspit of Pentagon contractors has never imagined it.

Neil Gordon

Anna -

The bill says nothing about "until investigations are complete." It's a permanent ban on all federal funding before ACORN even got a chance to plead its case. But whether it's a bill of attaineder or not is going to be fought over and debated by many for weeks to come.

Matt

Tubino,

Excellent points, although you have not convinced me why I or 'we' should look the other way in regards to corruption. If you were to take the time to watch the ACORN videos, I assure you that they are just as damaging to ACORN, as the Armor Group party pictures were to Armor Group. I still think POGO should show some courage, and actually hold this organization accountable, just like it has with the defense industry.
Just one letter, among the thousands of letters that POGO has sent over the years, could be sent? POGO has already stated in this blog: "If ACORN broke the law it, should be punished". Why not go the rest of the way, and send a letter to the congress as an official statement of POGO? And Tubino, you could be the first guy to post it on counterpunch!
Or not, and everyone can continue to look the other way and pretend like ACORN is no big deal. The irony is that the House and Senate certainly don't feel that way. Cheers.
-------
From wikipedia
In response to the videos, the United States House and Senate passed legislation to exclude ACORN from federal funding. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced an investigation to ensure that state grants given to ACORN were properly spent. Concurrently, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn suspended all ACORN grants sponsored by City Council members as Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes conducted an investigation. On September 23, the Internal Revenue Service severed all ties to the organization, removing ACORN from its volunteer tax-assistance program.

Anna

A bill of atainder is when congress passes legislation that pronounces guilt on an organization.

That is not what this legislation does. ACORN is a non-profit that applies for grants. Congress and the Senate are simply stating that ACORN is under investigation for a wide variety of allegations, and the allegations are serious enough that, until investigations are complete, ACORN and its affiliates will not receive any more taxpayer funded grants. Everone who applies for federal grants must meet certain standards and criteria, and it's very unclear right now that ACORN can meet those. Until we know, congress has the right and the obligation to withhold any additional funding.

tubino

Matt, you might want to investigate the rather important difference between allegations and settled court cases. In fact, I'm SURE of it. Click on the POGO list of corporate fraudsters and you get the court details (e.g. pled guilty, paid fine, etc.).

When I was a kid, even kids understood "innocent till proven guilty." There is also the matter proportion.

This guy makes an interesting contrast of ACORN with a Pfizer unit that "pled guilty to a felony in connection with a major health care fraud and paid $2.3 billion in fines."

http://www.counterpunch.org/mokhiber09222009.html

ACORN has rec'd about $3.5M in fed funds/year. No way they are in the top 500 (probably not top 1000) organizations receiving fed funds! Even a tiny university gets more, and the top research universities get 100-300 TIMES that much. Think proportion, Matt, and ACORN isn't worth the time to worry about. It's a grassroots organization for poor people.

Neil Gordon

Ivan and Anna -

I think the sponsors of the bill were definitely gunning for ACORN, but to provide some plausible deniability (and to avoid running afoul of the "bill of attainder" provision of the Constitution), they also included the "any organization" language. So technically it applies to ANY entity that receives federal money -- ACORN, Lockheed, Blackwater, etc.

Rep. Grayson read it that way, too.

Matt

Neil,

Where as I agree that the defense industry is a bigger fish to fry, corruption is corruption no matter how much money is involved.
I personally would like to see you guys dedicate at least some effort to holding ACORN accountable, because it would symbolize more of a non-partisan and evenly balanced watch dog position. Is that not fair, or is POGO afraid to cross that line? -matt

Anna

You're misreading the bill. It speaks of "covered organizations" and then defines organization as:

(c) Additional Definitions- In this section:

(1) The term ‘organization’ includes the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (in this subsection referred to as ‘ACORN’) and any ACORN-related affiliate.

The bill only covers ACORN and it's affiliates.

Ivan

I believe this is an incorrect reading of the bill. While it is true it says "any organization", their definition of an organization is somewhat limited: "The term ‘organization’ includes the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (in this subsection referred to as ‘ACORN’) and any ACORN-related affiliate."

Yes, you can possibly read it to mean that it means "all organizations in the legal sense of the word and also include ACORN", but I think it won't stand

Neil Gordon

Matt,

We do think ACORN should be held accountable (read the last paragraph above: "If ACORN broke the law it, should be punished.") However, we think when it comes to contractor misconduct, Congress has bigger fish to fry with contractors who get billions in federal funds each year and have far more egregious misconduct histories than ACORN.

Matt

Neil,

Great post. Just a question though, why isn't POGO going after ACORN as well? I totally agree about holding defense companies accountable, but if ACORN has received 53 million dollars from the federal government, aren't they due the same scrutiny from your organization? Just curious, because I did a search for anything to do with ACORN on the POGO site, and this is the only post I could find about the subject. I could be wrong, and I totally apologize if there is any information that I am not seeing here at the site. Take care. -matt

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