U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann says today that she sent this letter to President Obama on the ACORN flap:
Dear Mr. President,
Last week, both the House and Senate voted to cut off federal funding to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) after videos emerged showing ACORN workers advising a couple on how to avoid taxes and seek HUD grants to set up a prostitution ring as a legitimate business. The American people were rightly outraged by this behavior and these motions passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, succeeding in the Senate by an 83 – 7 vote and the House by a 345 – 75 vote.
This is hardly the first time, however, that ACORN has made the headlines and the people have called for ACORN to be cut off from federal funds. In fact, there was a rather public debate about ACORN’s federal funding in the House in May when Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank led an effort to strip my language from the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act (H.R. 1728) that would have kept ACORN from accessing federal funds under that legislation because of their continuing involvement in voter registration efforts that ended in criminal investigations, indictments, and consent decrees.
Given this context, it was disappointing to hear that this issue hasn’t made it to your radar screen. As you stated yesterday on ABC’s This Week, “It’s not really something I’ve followed closely. I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money… It’s not something I’m paying a lot of attention to.”
In point of fact, ACORN has received more than $53 million in direct federal funding since 1994, could be eligible for at least $8.5 billion more through the “stimulus” package and other government programs signed into law this year, and could be eligible for an additional $1.5 billion from a housing slush fund the House is considering. With all due respect, Mr. President, I know that you are exceedingly busy and have any number of issues competing for your time and attention, and I know that in the scheme of trillion-dollar-bills and record high deficits and debts even $10 billion may not seem like much; but every dollar the taxpayers send to Washington deserves our full care and attention. The issue of where we set the bar for accessing federal funds should be a gateway issue for us all, as we have a fiduciary duty to the American people. Taxpayer funding is a privilege that must be earned and it is our responsibility – the President’s and Congress’ – to ensure that only those who have satisfied the highest standards are eligible.
As I have written your Administration before, I again urge you to use your existing authority to stop the flow of federal tax dollars to ACORN immediately and ask that you direct the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee to open an investigation of ACORN and its affiliates. Established in 1986, this long-standing Committee, coordinated through the Office of Management and Budget in the White House, is responsible for examining whether individuals and organizations should be barred from accessing federal funding and is authorized to suspend those they determine have acted improperly. ACORN’s long list of investigations and indictments, and the fresh evidence of illegal conduct caught on video tape should provide you and the Committee ample reason to take this action.
The American people view ACORN’s pattern of criminal activities as a serious issue and you must hold this organization accountable for its actions. Thank you for your consideration of this request and I look forward to hearing from you.
Member of Congress