Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ACORN is on the Run

Child prostitution, voter fraud, tax evasion, and financial support for prostitutes and pimps are among the many headlines that have plagued the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). The timing of these stories could not be worse for the controversial organization. We are a little more than a year away from the next election cycle and there are many members of Congress in both Houses, including the Senate Majority Leader (Harry Reid) who are fighting for their political lives. In spite of President Obama's love and admiration for ACORN (he, in fact, actually worked for it and with it for many years), the Congress wants to distance itself from an organization that has received millions of taxpayer dollars because it continuously finds itself in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The US Senate has taken the action to deny ACORN's funding. This was surprising to many. I was not very shocked, because this was exactly in line with the survival instincts of those who serve in Congress. This is not moral indignation on the part of most of these members, but raw fear that their days in power are numbered.

I was surprised, however, by the number of people who voted for this reform. The Associated Press stated that "The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." The numbers of those who stayed in ACORN's camp was few indeed. Politico.com notes that "Only a handful of Democrats sided with Acorn on the vote: Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse."

The Associated Press notes that ACORN's crash has been fairly fast and furious:

  • Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb), noted that ACORN received $53 million in taxpayer funds since 1994 and that the group was eligible for increased funding in the pending legislation, which funds housing and transportation programs (part of the hundreds of millions mentioned before). The organization's behavior has led to it being in its current situation of being cut off from funding.

  • To make matters worse, the Census Bureau severed its ties with ACORN, saying it does not want the group's assistance on efforts on the decennial count. This was one of the more important functions for the organization.

  • In recent months, Republicans have become increasingly critical of the group, which "advocates for poor people," because conducted a massive voter registration effort last year and became a target of conservatives when some employees were accused of creating false registrations with names like "Mickey Mouse." In the past week prosecutors in Miami, Fla., arrested 11 people for falsifying hundreds of voter applications during a voter registration drive last year. The organization face similar legal problems in half of the states nationwide.

In the end I must conclude that the huge number of votes against ACORN does not make the Congress a "Hall of Courage" but a nest of cowards who have seen the writing on the wall. The American people are angry and those who find themselves supporting this kind of organization will be held accountable.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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