Friday, October 10, 2008
Boehner Column: "End Tax-Payer Funding of ACORN"
Our elections serve as an example of free choice and peaceful transfer of power to the world where too many people are denied the right to vote and a new governing authority comes in during a bloody coup. That’s why allegations of rampant voter registration fraud and electoral fraud throughout Ohio and the country are all the most disturbing. But what makes me angry – and what makes a lot of my constituents angry – is that an organization at the heart of this controversy is receiving federal tax dollars.
For years, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), has been the recipient of millions of dollars of federal funding through various programs and third-party groups. House Republicans were successful in removing a housing slush-fund from the recent economic rescue plan that was slipped in by ACORN’s allies.
This was a good first victory against an organization that for decades has promoted the housing policies that pushed our economy to the brink – forcing banks through affordable-housing programs to give mortgages to individuals who under normal circumstances would not qualify for such loans. The lack of congressional oversight – and a willingness from those who benefited politically to turn a blind eye – to the practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have enabled ACORN to continue its destructive actions.
Other than its voter registration efforts, ACORN is involved in lobbying for federal dollars to assist low-income housing programs and, through another arm of its vast network, works in local communities promoting and operating the same programs.
Unfortunately for American taxpayers, ACORN’s allies have successfully found ways to funnel federal dollars to the group. In July, congressional Democrats pushed through a housing bill that contained another slush fund. I voted against that bill because of the slush-fund. Additionally, I have called for an immediate stop to all federal funding for ACORN. Your hard-earned tax dollars that are distributed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies should not be going to an organization that is actively seeking to subvert our electoral system
Just recently, ACORN’s top organizer in Cleveland told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the organization “can’t be expected to catch” every fraudulent voter registration it turns into election officials. This was preceded by two Ohio voters claiming they were harassed by ACORN workers so often that they wound up registering “10 to 15” times, according to an article published in the New York Post.
And these problems are not new to Ohioans. In 2006, ACORN tried to register a dead man in Columbus and others who simply turned out not to exist, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Franklin County officials that year questioned the validity of hundreds of ACORN-submitted registration forms, the paper said. Similar problems existed in 2004, and these problems will continue unless action is taken now.
Currently, more than a dozen states have opened investigations into ACORN’s activities. I am currently looking into how much federal money ACORN is receiving, either directly or indirectly, so that we can put an end to this nonsense. Election cycle after election cycle, ACORN has been at the forefront of breaking the law to promote a radical agenda.
All federal funding to this group must stop. Contracting for services between candidates for federal office and ACORN must end. And now that the taxpayers own Fannie Mae, any funding from Fannie’s nonprofit foundation to ACORN must stop immediately. The American taxpayers should no longer be forced to help fund an organization that has threatened our economic security and that has over the years perpetrated frauds on our electoral system making us question the fairness and accuracy of our voting system, the most fundamental right granted under our Constitution. It’s time to cut off ACORN now before it grows even more destructive.