From The New York Times
Report Finds Acorn Broke No LawsBy JANIE LORBER
The controversial community organizing group Acorn has not broken any laws in the last five years, according to a Congrssional Research Service report released Tuesday evening.
The report, requested by Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, said that federal agencies, mainly the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development, have awarded money to the group 48 times since 2005. But, in none of those instances did Acorn violate the terms of their funding, the report said.
Since the 2008 elections, the group, which works primarily to expand voter registration and affordable housing, has become a key Republican target. A series of scandals brought to light by conservative activists led to multiple Congressional hearings and repeated attempts to deny it taxpayer funding.
Acorn has been the subject of scores of investigations—a total of 46 inquiries by federal, state, and local agencies, including the FBI and the Treasury Department, and five by Congress as of October 2009, according to the report.
The report found no evidence that voters attempting to cast ballots at the polls had been improperly registered by Acorn, a chief Republican accusation.
The report also said that a sting-style effort to publicize the group’s allegedly illegal activities, may have broken state laws. Two conservative activists set off a firestorm in September when they posed as a pimp and a prostitute seeking financial advice and secretly videotaped Acorn employees offering advice on how the couple could hide their illicit activities and avoid paying taxes.
Also on Tuesday, a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, rejected the administration’s request to reconsider its ruling that a House resolution barring the group from receiving federal funding was unconstitutional. Earlier this month a judge ruled that the law constituted a “bill of attainder,” legislation intended to punish specific people or groups.
In November the Justice Department also concluded that the Obama administration can legally pay the group.