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Michele Bachmann and Barney Frank may be heading for legislative showdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Minnesota’s 6th District Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann might be headed toward something of a showdown with the pugnacious chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank.

During a markup of the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009 this week, Bachmann successfully offered an amendment on voice vote that would prohibit funding in the bill from going to organizations or individuals that have been indicted for voter fraud.

“I want to ensure that organizations, such as ACORN, are prohibited from receiving funds while simultaneously facing charges of voter fraud and tax violations,” Bachmann said in a press release.

Although ACORN has had its share of legal troubles over the years, including an embezzlement scandal and problematic voter registration issues, the group said that it has never been indicted for voter fraud.

Frank didn’t realize the full implications of the amendment until after it had passed.

In a statement, Frank said Thursday:

“I made a mistake yesterday in not objecting to the Bachmann amendment. I did not read it carefully, and it was in the last minute that the amendment was accepted.

“It is a deeply flawed amendment and I am opposed to it.

“Banning people from possible participation in government programs based on an indictment is a violation of the basic principles of due process, and I intend to offer a corrected amendment when the bill comes to the floor of the House next week.”

In response, Bachmann penned an article on criticizing Frank’s proposed changes to her amendment.

“Chairman Barney Frank accepted the amendment right there in front of the whole committee,” Bachmann wrote.

“Later that day, Chairman Frank said he had reservations about my amendment and would discuss them with me.  His staff approached mine with specific changes he would like to make — changes which eviscerate the meaning of the amendment and were clearly not acceptable,” Bachmann said.

One of Frank’s changes, Bachmann said, included using the word “conviction” instead of “indictment.”

Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/01/2009 - 10:59 am.

    ACORN has never been indicted. For someone so religious, it’s amazing how Bachmann forgets, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” It seems like the only thing that ever stops her making false accusations is she hasn’t thought of them yet.

  2. Submitted by Ross Williams on 05/01/2009 - 11:06 am.

    Has ACORN been indicted for anything? Five of its employees were indicted for submitting false registrations just before the last election. You shouldn’t let Bachman get away with claiming her amendment would do something it won’t. That’s the real story, not that she slipped one by her fellow committee members.

  3. Submitted by Chris Mau on 05/01/2009 - 11:33 am.

    See Michelle, our justice system is based on something called “presumption of innocence”. You, on the other hand, are more of a “presumption of guilt” person – kind of like the people in Salem during the old witch hunt days. If we could just get rid of all these silly rights and courts and make GW Bush king, you’d fit right in.

    By the way, isn’t it a strange coincidence that Minnesota’s first swine flu case was in Cold Spring in Michelle Bachmann’s district? It’s not hard to imagine that there’s some sort of sinister connection there. I’m not saying that there necessarily is. But then again, I can’t find any proof that there’s not either – so….

  4. Submitted by myles spicer on 05/01/2009 - 11:51 am.

    I just love that lady…we must keep her in office! Her wierd, over-the-top behavior is the most interesting news in this post-election period. I look forward to her next bizarre commentary. Plus, her presence is probably the best thing that could happen to the Democratic Party, because her push for media space is slowly morphing into the “voice” of current Republican leanings and positions.

    That said, I also like the visuals of her on TV; my favorite being the one several years ago of peeking behind the bushes as a gay pride gathering.

    The Dems do not need any more congress-persons to maintain a majority; they should raise funds in her next campaign to keep her in office.

  5. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/01/2009 - 12:30 pm.

    Maybe what she objects to is the whole idea of “innocent until proven guilty”.

    Why else would it be “clearly not acceptable” to wait on a conviction before imposing sanctions?

  6. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 05/01/2009 - 12:32 pm.

    She may have slipped one by for now, but considering Frank is one of the sharpest wits in the House and Bachmann doesn’t even know elementary history, this won’t be a fair fight. It will, however, give Bachmann a soapbox on which to rail against ACORN to every right-wing, wacko media outlet in the county.

  7. Submitted by TJ Pavey on 05/01/2009 - 12:43 pm.

    They do need to redraw the district map, but then we could maybe lose the best thing that has happened to the DFL party in a long time. Way to go Michelle.

    What I truly cannot understand though is why the conservatives let her speak in their name. She is alienating over half of her party. People like here are why they lost so many seats over the last two elections and why they will continue to lose more. Is she trying to create a one party system? Actually.. a one party system wouldn’t be that bad because people would stop voting along party lines.

  8. Submitted by Pam Bouchard on 05/01/2009 - 12:53 pm.

    Michele may not be as “well-versed” as Mr. Frank, but he is part of the problem. Someone needs to call him on something and get away with it. He is the connection with the banks who recieved all the money and have no intention of paying it back or helping any American in need other than themselves. Frank’s partner had even been a exec at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, I’m not sure. He
    definitely is in the good old boys club of the eastern seaboard. Bachman is misdirected at times, but has something the old timers don’t have which is passion and the need for justice to be served.

  9. Submitted by James Campbell on 05/01/2009 - 01:47 pm.

    TJ–The party is shrinking more and more because they do accept the bizarre comments and historically inaccurate basis for her actions. “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I know what I believe,” is their motto.

  10. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 05/01/2009 - 02:19 pm.

    “…problematic voter registration issues…”

    Would you like to expand on this? The implication is that Michelle may have been technically wrong about and idictment but ACORN is invovled in voter fraud. (That’s Vote fraud in Wing nut world.)

    Please cite some credible examples. Republicans have been attacking ACORN for a long time but nothing has come of any of their charges. In the last election I believe ACORN reported problems with some contractors and fired those employees. Part of that was the hysterical raid on ACORN offices in Nevada, but what came of that? If you can find something that isn’t a trumped Republican attack please post it? Or is your statement just another example of how the Republican attacks are working?

  11. Submitted by Jean Schiebel on 05/01/2009 - 03:15 pm.

    Barney Frank doesn’t have to read any amendment made by Michele Bachman, he should just vote against all of them.
    I don’t understand why our local media isn’t jumping on some of the ridiculous things this woman says.
    How she got elected boggles my brain.

  12. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 05/01/2009 - 03:23 pm.

    Good amendment!

    Former Senator Ted Stevens

  13. Submitted by John Roach on 05/01/2009 - 04:05 pm.

    So Bachmann snuck a bit of red meat past Frank? Her amendment is clearly unconstitutional, misses its target and will be buried shortly. I suspect she knows all of this.

    What she gets is a fresh megaphone to rail about some of the favorite bogeymen of the right. Google -Bachmann Frank-; the list of right-wing pseudo-news outlets that are echoing and adoring her is already very long.

    Does anyone know what she refers to when she claims that her amendment uses the same language as Frank’s HERA amendment? I fail to see any similarity, and am inclined to write this off as another one of her imaginary claims.

  14. Submitted by Richard Callahan on 05/01/2009 - 04:08 pm.

    The woman is a crackpot, but very entertaining. My big concern are the majority in her district that keep re-electing her. Is there something in their water?

  15. Submitted by david granneman on 05/01/2009 - 05:08 pm.

    senator frank and acorn are largely responsible for our current economic situation
    acorn sponsered demonstations in front of banks. they bussed protesters to the homes of bank presidents to force them to give subprime loans to people who where clearly unqualified to pay them back. as a young lawyer president obama represented acorn in lawsuits forcing backs to make bad loans. it is ironic we elected one of the persons who helped cause the problem to fix the problem. the fact that dumb, crazy, loony michele bachmann was able to outfox barney frank is a testement to his incompentense. barney frank and senator dodd where responsible for allowing fannie and freddie to continue to give bad loans even after many economists sited how dangerous this was to our economy.
    instead of venting your anger towards michele bachman, why dont you blame the real people affecting your lives.
    michele bachmann is not punishing your children with decades of never ending debt and higher taxes
    michele bachmann is not going to give you a government run health care, just like cuba
    michele bachmann is not growing the government at the expense of the private sector.
    michele bachmann does not want to take away your right to own a gun, or your right to listen talk shows on radio.
    machele bachmann is not going to give you a cap and trade tax. this tax will raise the cost of almost everything we require for living. worst yet it will cost millions of jobs to go overseas.
    michele bachman is not standing in the way of developing our own natural resources which would bring good high paying jobs and prosperity.
    minnesota better wake up and put your money where it will make a difference.

  16. Submitted by John Roach on 05/01/2009 - 06:40 pm.

    Mr. Granneman,
    Thanks for airing your views. I wonder if you could give a little more detail to your following claims:

    1.”…senator frank and acorn are largely responsible for our current economic situation…” I was under the impression that very large banks and insurance companies were leveraging trillions of dollars using exotic collateralized debt obligations; specifically credit default swaps, at ratios that routinely exceeded 30 to 1, and in the case of Bear Stearns may have approached 72 to 1. The investment risk of the various tranches of these instruments were misrepresented to numerous entities that thought they were buying stable, investment grade paper. Can you point to Frank’s or ACORN’s involvement in this massive, worldwide Ponzi scheme? I’m not seeing it.

    2.”…acorn sponsered demonstations in front of banks. they bussed protesters to the homes of bank presidents to force them to give subprime loans to people who where clearly unqualified to pay them back…” It’s strange that such a smoking gun claim appears to have only a single source: A Mr. Henry Lamb, who runs various anti-UN, anti-global warming, and conspiracy theory websites. Do you have another, more credible source for this claim? No one except Mr. Lamb seems to have ever heard of it.

    3. “… as a young lawyer president obama represented acorn in lawsuits forcing backs to make bad loans. it is ironic we elected one of the persons who helped cause the problem to fix the problem…” In 1995, President Obama was on a team of lawyers that represented ACORN in a lawsuit against the State of Illinois. The lawsuit concerned equal access to voting places. Other groups that were on the same side as Obama and ACORN in the lawsuit: The US Justice Department and The League of Women Voters. Can you provide specifics about your claim that he worked on another lawsuit for ACORN? One that involved mortgages or lending in some way?

    Thanks very much. When you’ve provided clarification on these points, I’ll be happy to check the rest of your claims to see if I have any questions about them.

  17. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 05/01/2009 - 06:50 pm.

    Some ACORN employees defrauded ACORN — not the election — by completing phony voter registration forms using outlandish names that would fool absolutely NO election office employee or election judge.

    Right-wing ACORN-haters immediately spread wide the lie that ACORN was responsible for employee misdeeds, not mentioning that ACORN actually reported the miscreants to the government to be sure they were held to legal account.

    Folks like Bachmann keep dragging out the lie every month or so, I suppose hoping that at least some folks will believe it.

    ACORN has accomplished an enormous amount of good over the past decades, much of it in achieving affordable housing for the poor. We should all be honoring their work.

  18. Submitted by Richard Parker on 05/01/2009 - 07:06 pm.

    In our household we like to refer to Michele as Betty Crockpot.

  19. Submitted by david granneman on 05/01/2009 - 10:09 pm.

    you people are all right – acorn never commited voter fraud. that is like saying al capone never committed any murders. acorn learned a lesson from al capone. you don’t need to kill anybody if you can hire someone to do it for you. acorn
    “subcontracts” people to commit voter fraud for them and when they are arrested claim they have no control over the subcontractors. last election at red lobster i was approached by acorn subcontractors – they asked me if i wanted to register to vote in this county. i said how do you know if i live in this county. they said it did not matter as they got paid by the number of names they collected.
    when you say “achieving affordable housing for the poor.” does that mean giving them loans for houses they connot afford and then handing the tax payer the bill.

    you said “I was under the impression that very large banks and insurance companies were leveraging trillions of dollars using exotic collateralized debt obligations” the reason for this was the banks tried to spread out and absorb the trillions of dollars of bad loans they where forced to accept because of barney frank and acorn. do you really think bankers would take on these obvious bad loans because they wanted to.
    unfortunately they where not given a choice.

  20. Submitted by david granneman on 05/01/2009 - 10:20 pm.

    oh by the way
    you democrates should be happy – if she is destroying the republican party and will cause more republicans to loose elections. i suggest you send money to her campaign as keeping her in office will definately help more democrates get elected.
    on behalf of all republicans i really appeciate your advise on how we can win more elections. i know this advise is heart sent with good intensions. please continue to advise us on how we can improve our party.

  21. Submitted by david granneman on 05/01/2009 - 10:28 pm.

    hello mr roach
    here is article from INVERSTORS BUSINESS DAILY

    Obama, who once represented ACORN in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois, was hired by the group to train its community organizers and staff in the methods and tactics of the late Saul Alinsky. ACORN would stage in-your-face protests in bank lobbies, drive-through lanes and even at bank managers’ homes to get them to issue risky loans in the inner city or face charges of racism.

    In the early 1990s, reports Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Policy Center, Obama was personally recruited by Chicago’s ACORN to run training sessions in “direct action.” That’s the euphemism for the techniques used under the cover of the federal Community Reinvestment Act to intimidate financial institutions into giving what have been called “Ninja” loans — no income, no job, no assets — to people who couldn’t afford them.

  22. Submitted by david granneman on 05/01/2009 - 10:38 pm.

    hello mr roach
    here is more the the detail you asked for
    this is the record of a coart case involving acorn againST citi bank

    Cas­e­ Name­
    B­uy­cks-Rob­erson­ v­. Ci­t­i­b­an­k F­ed. Sav­. B­an­k F­ai­r Housi­n­g/L­en­di­n­g/I­n­suran­ce
    Docket­ / Court­ 94 C 4094 ( N­.D. I­l­l­. ) F­H-I­L­-0011
    St­at­e/T­erri­t­ory­ I­l­l­i­n­oi­s
    C­as­e S­ummary
    P­la­int­iffs filed­ t­heir cla­ss a­ct­io­n la­w­suit­ o­n July 6, 1994, a­lleg­ing­ t­ha­t­ Cit­iba­nk­ ha­d­ eng­a­g­ed­ in red­lining­ p­ra­ct­ices in t­he Chica­g­o­ m­et­ro­p­o­lit­a­n a­rea­ in vio­la­t­io­n o­f t­he Equa­l Cred­it­ O­p­p­o­rt­unit­y A­ct­ (ECO­A­), 15 U.S.C. 1691; t­he Fa­ir Ho­using­ A­ct­, 42 U.S.C. 3601-3619; t­he T­hirt­eent­h A­m­end­m­ent­ t­o­ t­he U.S. Co­nst­it­ut­io­n; a­nd­ 42 U.S.C. 1981, 1982. P­la­int­iffs a­lleg­ed­ t­ha­t­ t­he D­efend­a­nt­-ba­nk­ reject­ed­ lo­a­n a­p­p­lica­t­io­ns o­f m­ino­rit­y a­p­p­lica­nt­s w­hile a­p­p­ro­ving­ lo­a­n a­p­p­lica­t­io­ns filed­ by w­hit­e a­p­p­lica­nt­s w­it­h sim­ila­r fina­ncia­l cha­ra­ct­erist­ics a­nd­ cred­it­ hist­o­ries. P­la­int­iffs so­ug­ht­ injunct­ive relief, a­ct­ua­l d­a­m­a­g­es, a­nd­ p­unit­ive d­a­m­a­g­es.

    U.S. D­ist­rict­ Co­urt­ Jud­g­e Ruben Ca­st­illo­ cert­ified­ t­he P­la­int­iffs’ suit­ a­s a­ cla­ss a­ct­io­n o­n June 30, 1995. Buyck­s-Ro­berso­n v. Cit­iba­nk­ Fed­. Sa­v. Ba­nk­, 162 F.R.D­. 322 (N.D­. Ill. 1995). A­lso­ o­n June 30, Jud­g­e Ca­st­illo­ g­ra­nt­ed­ P­la­int­iffs’ m­o­t­io­n t­o­ co­m­p­el d­isco­very o­f a­ sa­m­p­le o­f D­efend­a­nt­-ba­nk­’s lo­a­n a­p­p­lica­t­io­n files. Buyck­s-Ro­berso­n v. Cit­iba­nk­ Fed­. Sa­v. Ba­nk­, 162 F.R.D­. 338 (N.D­. Ill. 1995).

    T­he p­a­rt­ies vo­lunt­a­rily d­ism­issed­ t­he ca­se o­n M­a­y 12, 1998, p­ursua­nt­ t­o­ a­ set­t­lem­ent­ a­g­reem­ent­.
    P­la­int­iff’s La­w­yers A­lexis, Hila­ry I. (Illino­is)
    FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
    Child­ers, M­icha­el A­llen (Illino­is)
    FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
    Cla­yt­o­n, Fa­y (Illino­is)
    FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
    Cum­m­ing­s, Jeffrey Irvine (Illino­is)
    FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-7501 | FH-IL-0011-9000
    Lo­ve, Sa­ra­ No­rris (Virg­inia­)
    M­iner, Jud­so­n Hirsch (Illino­is)
    FH-IL-0011-7500 | FH-IL-0011-9000
    Oba­m­­a­, Ba­r­a­ck H­. (Illinois­)
    FH-I­L-0011-7500 | FH-I­L-0011-7501 | FH-I­L-0011-9000
    Wi­ckert­, J­o­hn­ Hen­ry­ (I­lli­n­o­i­s)

  23. Submitted by Ross Williams on 05/01/2009 - 11:22 pm.

    Those who think Bachman is a crackpot are making a huge mistake. She is playing a very smart game that appeals to her supporters. What could be better than to pick a fight with a sodomite promoter of bank bailouts over whether to give money to liberal groups guilty of criminal vote fraud.

    “suppose hoping that at least some folks will believe it. ”

    Don’t kid yourself, it is rapidly becoming common knowledge. If Bachman had implied the League of Women Voters had been indicted for vote fraud, do you suppose any responsible media outlet would repeat the charge without immediately clarifying that it wasn’t true.

    What is ironic, is that ACORN was actually one of the few groups calling attention to predatory lending before the rest of us found out we were among the prey. Most people thought only unsophisticated borrowers were going to find themselves underwater and in hock up to their necks. It turned out it was the entire financial system that was being looted.

  24. Submitted by John Roach on 05/02/2009 - 01:03 pm.

    Mr. Granneman,
    Thanks for your response.

    1. Regarding the docket summary that you posted; ACORN does not appear as a plaintiff. None of the summaries of this case mention ACORN at all.

    Also, this case concerned *racial* redlining. It established that the plaintiffs were as equally financially qualified for a loan as Citibank’s white customers. The settlement required that Citibank waive application fees for those applicants who wished to reapply for previously denied loans. It did not require that Citbank waive or modify any of their loan standards–except for race, of course.

    Do you have an example of a case in which Obama represented ACORN, or forced a bank to make loans to *financially* inferior customers?

    2. Regarding your paste from IBD; this is an unsigned editorial, not a news article. There are many factual problems with this editorial:

    “…was hired by the group to train its community organizers and staff”

    This is untrue. ACORN in Chicago *invited* Mr. Obama to speak at two of its annual leadership sessions over a period of three years. He was a guest speaker and *was not paid* for his time, which consisted of about an hour per session. Total time: 2 hours.

    “…ACORN would stage in-your-face protests in bank lobbies, drive-through lanes and even at bank managers’ homes to get them to issue risky loans in the inner city or face charges of racism…”

    This is a repetition of Henry Lamb’s unsourced claims. Do you have an actual news report of such events? Dates? Statements by the afflicted banks or by ACORN regarding these events? IBD apparently does not.

    “…In the early 1990s, reports Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Policy Center, Obama was personally recruited by Chicago’s ACORN to run training sessions in “direct action.”…”

    Mr. Kurtz’s article does *not* say that Obama trained anyone in “direct action”, and in fact says that he *can’t* show that. For his article, Mr. Kurtz in turn misrepresents and speculates about an article by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago ACORN member that discusses the 2004 primary campaign in Illinois, and which mentions Obama’s guest speaking in passing. IBD then embellishes its false claim of “direct action” by providing a self serving and inaccurate definition of the term.

    Again, do you have any *news* articles that establish a relationship using *verifiable* information?

    3. I disagree with your basic premise regarding why banks and non-bank brokers made “subprime” loans. In 2006, 61 percent of all subprime, “predatory” loans with unaffordable interest rates and terms, were given to borrowers who *could* qualify for conventional, fixed rate, 30 year mortgages. Loan officers were directed by bank executive managements to push these “subprime” loans because they were extremely profitable.

    I can find no evidence that Frank or ACORN had anything to do with the internal marketing decisions made by these banks. Nor can I find any evidence that Frank or ACORN somehow “pressured” banks or brokers to make loans to people who could not afford them. If you have any, I would very much like to see it.

    There is, however; a large body of evidence that ACORN actively and loudly *opposed* these lending practices. ACORN began to warn of predatory lending practices and the possible consequences as early as the late 1990’s, long before anyone in the financial industry was willing to admit that their increasingly shabby loan practices were a recipe for disaster. You may take your pick of news articles documenting this fact, here:

    If you do have any factual sources that back up any of your assertions, I would very much like to see them. Otherwise, I think we’re done.

    Enjoy your weekend, and thanks again for responding.

  25. Submitted by james mccarty yeager on 05/04/2009 - 01:13 pm.

    michie couldn’t buy a clue about the constitution if she had all the money in the republican party…

  26. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 05/04/2009 - 02:26 pm.

    Rep. Bachmann has put Barney Frank, and the Democrat party, in the unenviable position of having to publicly defend it’s sop to a corrupt special interest partner that is under investigation for widespread, deliberate election fraud in 17 states.

    And once again, she leaves her obsessed, leftist foes sputtering impotently in the dust.


  27. Submitted by david granneman on 05/04/2009 - 05:05 pm.

    hello all – breaking new about acorn

    State attorney general files charges against ACORN, 2 employees


    Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto discusses voter registration charges against the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now Inc. (ACORN,) while Secretary of State Ross Miller, left, and Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax look on during a news conference at Sawyer Building today.

    Law enforcement officials on Oct. 7 raid an office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now in Las Vegas.
    Photo by Craig L. Moran.

    ACORN, an activist group that turned in 90,000 completed voter registration forms in Clark County for last year’s election, violated state law by setting mandatory quotas for workers who canvassed neighborhoods looking for people to register to vote, according to the state attorney general’s office.

    Officials this morning released a complaint naming the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now Inc., as well as Christopher Howell Edwards, who was the group’s Las Vegas field director, and deputy regional director Amy Busefink.

    Canvassers were required to register at least 20 people a day, and could be fired if they didn’t, officials said. ACORN also instituted a bonus program called “blackjack” or “21 plus” in which a worker could earn an extra $5 per shift by registering 21 or more people.

    The problem with the quota system is it encouraged workers to turn in false registrations, said Secretary of State Ross Miller and Larry Lomax, Clark County’s registrar of voters.

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