Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Say "Nuts!" to ACORN

Squirrels gather their acorns in the fall and bury them so they’ll have a store of food during the winter. Sometimes they bury more than they need or they forget where they buried, and lo! and behold – a tree springs up.

Legal watchdog group Judicial Watch unearthed one of ACORN’s (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) acorns buried under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD issued a $79,819 grant to an ACORN offshoot, Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA).

Fertilized by taxpayer money, this offshoot received its grant through “ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc.” Which means despite a law defunding the organization, ACORN is still receiving taxpayer money. Ostensibly, HUD issued the grant to “educate the public and housing providers about their rights and obligations under federal, state, and local fair housing laws.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told The Daily Caller this newly-discovered grant appears to be in violation of an October 2009 law President Obama signed banning all funding of “ACORN and any ACORN-related affiliates.”

Fitton says that more grants like this one will turn up. “ACORN basically reorganized under a different name,” he said in a phone interview. “I don’t think this happened by accident. They’re all the same people still involved just working for organizations with different names.”

He thinks it’s likely that HUD employees, whether political appointees from the Obama administration or career staffers, knew they were giving money to ACORN-affiliated organizations. Obama administration HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has a documented past with ACORN. In 2009, The New York Times reported that Donovan worked “particularly closely” with ACORN while working for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Times story also documents Donovan’s ties with ACORN’s chief executive, Bertha Lewis. HUD contends that isn’t enough to qualify AHCOA as ACORN-affiliated.

“In April, HUD awarded a $79,819 grant to AHCOA to provide fair housing and fair lending information and assistance to at least 35,000 minority, non-English speaking and immigrant households in the Miami-Dade metropolitan area,” Brown said. “After the award of the grant, AHCOA submitted its tax identification number which was entered into a government database, which still associated the number with the organization’s previous name.”

Laundering the taxpayers’ money to a discredited, blatantly biased organization through subsidiaries is a tried-and-untrue political tactic. If you plant an acorn, you’re going to get some type of oak tree, not a weeping willow or a palm tree. Subsidizing this organization is like planting an acorn under a concrete foundation. The tree will eventually break through the foundation of our economy and bring our house down.

Someone needs to get a message through to the squirrels in Washington that they’re not planting solid oak trees, but an invasive species of clinging vine. They need to cut it off at the root now before we find ourselves ensnared in a tangle of poison ivy.

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