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Update: Klobuchar, Franken vote to bar federal funds for ACORN

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken voted Monday to bar federal funds in a new appropriations bill from going to the controversial anti-poverty group ACORN, following investigations into the conduct of ACORN employees.

“The senator felt it was important to let ACORN know that the behavior of their employees was unacceptable,” said Franken spokeswoman Jess McIntosh. “Overall, they’re a good organization with the best of intentions, especially in Minnesota, but obviously some serious house-keeping needs to be done to get themselves in order.”

Klobuchar did not immediately return a request for comment.

The measure came as an amendment to the $122 billion FY10 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill.
In a win for Republicans, who have frequently criticized the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the Senate overwhelming approved the amendment, which was sponsored by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

The vote was 83 to 7.

Voting against it were Sens. Dick Durbin and Roland Burris of Illinois, Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Kristen Gillibrand of New York, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

ACORN has received millions of federal funds since 1994 through such things as community development block grants, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and mortgage counseling.

Last week, however, Miami-Dade prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 11 ACORN employees and charged them with falsifying 888 of 1,400 voter registration cards.

This followed investigations in Nevada and Pennsylvania over charges involving forgery and falsification of voter records.

From his speech on the Senate floor, Johanns also mentioned that conservative activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles had gone undercover posing as a pimp and a prostitute to secretly film ACORN workers in Washington, Baltimore, and Brooklyn advising them on how to get around the tax and housing law.

“I would suggest, obviously, this is a pattern of very rotten behavior,” Johanns said.

On Friday, the Census Bureau notified ACORN that it would not be using the group to help with the 2010 census.

In a statement, ACORN said that it had fired the Baltimore and Washington workers implicated in the video. ACORN also threatened legal action against Fox News, which it claims is behind the videos.
ACORN has previously told MinnPost that the organization has never been convicted of voter fraud. ACORN has also denied any wrongdoing in Nevada.

Meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who has been a vocal critic of ACORN, applauded the Senate’s move.

“The time has come to strip this organization of the privilege of receiving taxpayer funding,” Bachmann said in a statement.

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/15/2009 - 03:25 pm.

    About time.

  2. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/15/2009 - 03:31 pm.

    How about some additional disclosure regarding the group illegally operating in Maryland.

  3. Submitted by david granneman on 09/15/2009 - 03:57 pm.

    I have a question for Minnesota teachers. The news reports the the teachers union – NEA has been a major contributor to ACORN. The goal of the NEA is to improve our schools and student’s education. Recent news reports show ACORN employees video taped supporting a pimp who was seeking help to set up a teen age prostitution house with girls from south America. This same undercover video was taken in four separate locations across the country. if NEA continues to contribute funds to ACORN then I assume the NEA supports teen age prostitution. My question is should the NEA continue to give money to ACORN.

  4. Submitted by Howard Miller on 09/15/2009 - 04:12 pm.

    What’s wrong with Democrats?!?

    Aren’t they the majority party in both the House and the Senate?

    Democrats see ACORN as a problem?


  5. Submitted by Howard Miller on 09/15/2009 - 04:17 pm.

    David Granneman poses an important standard – if you give money to those who seemly support teen prostitution, you too support that criminal activity.

    So … by the same logic, if you gave money to Governor Sanford of South Carolina, a Republican who had a sexual affair with a woman who is not his wife, you must support adultery. If you listen to Rush Limbaugh as a loyal listener, you are also a supporter of illegal prescription drug abuse. And so forth.

    Am I correct on the logical inferences? Or is it only lefties who are guilty by association?

  6. Submitted by dan buechler on 09/15/2009 - 04:20 pm.

    David G. you need to go back to college and reup into a logics course i.e. a bald man was a rapist therefore all bald men are rapists. WRONG. The smear tatics you use use are dishonest/fraudulent and a well known way of a fighting form of rhetoric. Also a front or rear guard way of not staying on topic. Would you like it to be written that a NRA member shot someone with a gun therefore all NRA members are bad shots? Loosen up guy.

  7. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 09/15/2009 - 04:40 pm.

    Hey Dave, I’m a member of the NEA and, yes, I also support child prostitution.

  8. Submitted by david granneman on 09/15/2009 - 04:48 pm.

    if i continued to give money to Governor Sanford after i found out that he was trying to convince other politicians to also have affairs, or if the nra was pushing to have it’s members go out and shoot people then i would be guilty as charged. i simply asked teachers if they think should continue to support ACORN after knowing what we have seen.

  9. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/15/2009 - 05:11 pm.

    Michael – good for you.

    David to continue with the question you asked and no one actually responded, yes the NEA should stop supporting ACORN and in my opinion politicians should return campaign contributions received from the now disgraced tax evasion group. Our Senators particularly after voting to stop funding should renounce their affiliations. I’m curious now if we will see Minnpost write a fury of post on the topic ala Republicans v.s. Obama’s speech to students and Michelle Bachmann blinking during Presidential Address or if it will be a single picture-less post.

  10. Submitted by dan buechler on 09/15/2009 - 06:21 pm.

    david please have some fun didn’t you get it that I wrote “an NRA member shot someone therefore all NRA members are bad shots”. Anyways time for another coney dog at the gopher bar.

  11. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/15/2009 - 07:21 pm.

    ACORN believed 13 year old children were involved…..I ask again, is there a limit to how low defenders of the Democrat party will stoop?

  12. Submitted by Howard Miller on 09/15/2009 - 07:55 pm.

    David – your argument seems to change every time you post; have a good night sir.

  13. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/15/2009 - 09:17 pm.

    So. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken agree with Rep. Michele Bachmann that ACORN is a hazard to the American public.


  14. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 09/16/2009 - 10:15 am.

    And as to the ACORN story…pretty hard for anyone to defend this mess, allegedly or otherwise, although it looks Rep-Right didn’t have a hard time finding a couple of their own stand-in pimp/prostitutes to do the honors and sounded pretty professional for amateurs… ” All the world’s a stage and we are but…”? So how did they know so much about the foul-funded prostitution potential existing in the first place…been there done that, eh?.

    Remember too that D.C. is considered by many reports, as the crime capital of the nation with Baltimore coming in a close second I bet.

    And how does one find the worm in the acorn without taking a substantial bite? The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree either way.

    All I can say is a lot of powerfully legitimate programs are now out on a limb…there’s the sick result of this whole, ugly story be it right or left or both exposing themselves.

  15. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/17/2009 - 12:42 pm.

    It’s time for Congress to wait a few days for FACTS to emerge before writing resolutions like that of the Senate. And to recall the long and honorable history of Acorn. And to ask “Who benefits” if Acorn goes away?

    Right wing Republicans, that’s who, the same group that has been pushing the voter fraud idea for over a year, even though they must know that Acorn fired the small number of employees who wrote phony voter registration cards, notified the election officials and called the cops. That a couple of states are investigating other employees probably just means that Acorn itself did not catch those employees first.

    Acorn’s national CEO appeared on both MSNBC and Amy Goodman this morning (Sept. 17). Among other things, she noted that the phony couple illegally taped almost two dozen Acorn offices. In almost all of them, they failed in their mission to get an Acorn counselor to break the law and were thrown out by the employees of those Acorn branches. Where are the videos of the phony couple being shown the door?

    I call on senators Klobuchar and Franken to lead an effort in the Senate to withdraw that resolution until such time as these right-wing charges are proven in a court of law.

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