WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact.com continues to add to its “Bachmann File,” and the results are not good for Minnesota’s Sixth District Republican.
Most recently, Michele Bachmann’s claim that ACORN “could get up to $8.5 billion more tax dollars despite being under investigation for voter registration fraud in a dozen states” scored a “false” on the fact-checking service’s Truth-O-Meter.
While a “false” is not as bad as PolitiFact’s most ignominious “pants-on-fire” rating, it is certainly not good.
The main points from PolitiFact’s dismantling of Bachmann’s claim are as follows:
“ACORN has a complex corporate structure. It’s actually a network of affiliates. The ACORN that Republicans love to hate gets involved in political activity like voter registration. But there are other entities, like the sister company, ACORN Housing Corporation, a non-profit that provides free housing counseling to low and moderate income homebuyers. Some of the ACORN Housing affiliates have also dabbled in affordable housing projects, and have received federal funding. But ACORN Housing doesn’t get involved in voter registration activities at all…
“…An affiliate like ACORN Housing could conceivably apply for a grant to build an affordable housing project, or to buy, fix and sell abandoned homes, but that’s exactly what the money would have to be used for. Suggestions that one of the affiliates might funnel money to ACORN for political activity is, so far, unsubstantiated conjecture.”
It offers no evidence:
“Bottom line, we don’t see any evidence that ACORN Housing has transferred money to ACORN for voter registration, so we think it’s incorrect for Bachmann to link federal money that ACORN Housing might receive with the more controversial voter registration activities performed by sister organization ACORN.”
“Even more ridiculous is the suggestion that ACORN or any of its affiliates might actually get $8.5 billion in federal tax dollars.
“Vadum [Matthew Vadum, a senior analyst and editor with Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank who produced the $8.5 billion figure] said his report has been misrepresented by many on that point.
“’The key word here is eligible,’ Vadum said. “’Eligible is a pretty expansive word. I made it clear they are not going to get that full amount.’”
PolitiFact’s bottom line: While ACORN Housing may have access to some funds, it is distinctly separate from the ACORN branch that has been questioned over voter fraud allegations. Moreover, it is not correct to suggest that ACORN Housing would get all of the $8.5 billion.
Politifact’s most recent Bachmann File addition follows up on two more statements — one on when the last swine flu broke out, and another on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s thoughts on the U.S. dollar — that the group rated with a “pants on fire” and “false,” respectively.
But Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok said that the congresswoman still stands by the statements she made about ACORN and Geithner. Dziok also questioned why these three comments had been focused on among the many public statements Bachmann makes every day.
“For example, ACORN very well could get access to $8.5 billion in federal funding,” Dziok said in a statement, adding. “They [PolitiFact] had to dig deep and stretch things out to come to the conclusion they wanted.”
PolitiFact challenges the statements of politicians and organizations regardless of their political affiliation. In its “people” category, PolitiFact has growing files on Republicans, Democrats and independents.
Dziok suggested, however, that the site’s Bachmann reports were relatively insignificant.
“With Washington spending trillions of taxpayer dollars, putting our kids deeper and deeper into debt, the media may want to quibble with the words the Congresswoman uses and what she really meant when she said them, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that that is not what is on the minds of Minnesotans,” Dziok said in a statement.
What do you think?