JUNE 29, 2011
A Judicial Watch investigation has found that the Obama Administration recently violated the ban on federal funding for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) by giving the famously corrupt group tens of thousands of dollars in grants to “combat housing and lending discrimination.”Congress passed a law (Defund ACORN Act) in 2009 to stop the huge flow of taxpayer money that annually went to ACORN after a series of exposés about the leftwing group’s illegal activities. Judicial Watch has been a leader in investigating ACORN by requesting public records and taking legal action to uncover details of its fraudulent voter registration drives, involvement in the housing market meltdown and its close ties to President Obama. Read all about it here.This week a JW probe uncovered that Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently awarded a $79,819 grant to an ACORN reincarnation called Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA). Incredibly, the government’s federal expenditure website openly describes the recipient as ACORN Housing Corporation Inc. and lists the group’s New Orleans address at 1024 Elysian Fields.HUD’s press release announcing the award is more discreet, however. It lists the recipient of the $79,819 grant as Florida-based Affordable Housing Centers of America, even though it’s the same ACORN offshoot. In all, HUD awarded 108 “fair housing organizations” more than $40 million to educate the public and combat discrimination. The allocation represents a $13.2 million increase over last year’s allotment to end housing discrimination against minorities.In addition to disregarding the ACORN funding ban, the grant is astounding because federal investigators have previously exposed fraud by the same ACORN/AHCOA affiliate. Last fall an audit by HUD’s inspector general found that it “inappropriately” spent more than $3.2 million in grants that were supposed to be used to eliminate lead poisoning in its housing program.A separate investigation, also conducted by HUD’s IG, determined that ACORN embezzled millions of dollars for “housing counseling” and destroyed documents to hide the fraud. In that report, the IG reveals that the scope of ACORN’s money laundering is impossible to fully track, though it determined with certainty that HUD laws and policies were widely violated when ACORN spent big chunks of public funds to pay the lucrative salaries and “fringe benefits” of its employees.
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