Apply Pentagon contracting standards to ACORN Washington Examiner
By: Examiner Editorial-06/10/09 5:40 AM EDT
U.S. Navy officials have severed ties with a defense contractor under suspicion in connection with an on-going federal investigation of fraud allegations against PMA Group (Paul Magliocchetti and Associates), a defense lobbying firm that was shut down following an FBI raid last year of its office. But the Navy would not be able to do that if Rep. Barney Frank’s logic on behalf of the Association of Community Activists for Reform Now (ACORN) were applied to defense contracts.
ACORN is being investigated for voter registration fraud in least 14 states. At the same time, a dissident group of present and former members and officials known as the ACORN8 are raising multiple questions in the media and before Congress about the organization’s internal finances. Frank says ACORN should have the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. We don’t recall hearing the Masschusetts Democrats call for the same treatment when the Pentagon barred a defense contractor suspected of wrong-doing.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has introduced the Taxpayer Protection and Anti-Fraud Act to bar the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from giving tax dollars to groups like ACORN that have been indicted for violations of state or federal laws. ACORN has received at least $53 million in federal funds since 1994 mostly through HUD, and the controversial group is eligible for over $8 billion in additional taxpayer funds under the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program. Bachmann’s bill faces bleak prospects in the House where more than 200 House members voted recently with are on record for supporting a measure introduced by Frank to assure ACORN’s ability to keep getting federal tax dollars.
Frank attached an amendment to $140 million dollar Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act last month that lowered the bar for groups under criminal investigation to receive federal funding. Only four Democrats opposed Frank’s amendment in a vote that essentially gutted an earlier amendment offered by Bachmann. Her new bill would block pending allocations from the HUD budget. “No one has right to federal funds,” she said. “We have a fiduciary responsibility as members of Congress to establish criteria by which groups can gain access to federal dollars. Federal funding is a privilege that must be earned. This in no way denies someone their due process rights in court.” The U.S. Navy and Bachmann have the right idea when it comes to setting standards. We look forward to hearing Frank explain why he applies different ones to different groups.