DECEMBER 01, 2011
A Justice Department program that annually distributes hundreds of millions of dollars to combat juvenile delinquency is under fire for giving a famously corrupt leftist group—Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)—money that was fraudulently spent.
It marks the latest of several controversies for the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) which has managed to maintain a copious budget through the years despite multiple allegations of cronyism. During the George W. Bush Administration, the OJJDP was accused of giving money to politically-connected groups that didn’t necessarily meet the agency’s goals.
This week the DOJ Inspector General released a report that exposes corruption surrounding a $138,130 grant that OJJDP awarded to an ACORN branch in New York City. The audit found that there were internal control weaknesses, unsupported grant expenditures, lack of contractor monitoring, weaknesses in budget management, inadequate grant reporting, unmet conditions and deficiencies with the program’s overall performance.
The IG also describes the New York group as a “pass-through entity” for ACORN, the crooked nonprofit that’s raked in huge sums of taxpayer dollars over the years. In 2009 Congress actually passed a law (Defund ACORN Act) to ban federal funding for ACORN after a series of exposés about the group’s illegal activities, which include fraudulent voter registration drives and involvement in the housing market meltdown. The group also has close ties to President Barack Obama.
Earlier this year a Judicial Watch probe found that the Obama Administration violated the ban on federal funding for ACORN by giving the beleaguered group nearly $80,000 to “combat housing and lending discrimination” against minorities. After sorting through droves of government records, Judicial Watch investigators discovered that an ACORN affiliate in New Orleans, ACORN Housing Corporation Inc., got $79,819 as part of a larger $40 million allocation to “fair housing organizations” that educate the public and combat discrimination.
This year Judicial Watch also published a special report (“The Rebranding of ACORN”) about the organization’s transformation into various spinoffs and affiliated groups. Amid a massive fraud scandal and a series of criminal probes, ACORN supposedly dismantled but the reality is that it simply changed its name. For instance, under the rebranding New England United 4 Justice, ACORN has been one of the driving forces behind the movement to end economic segregation and social injustice in the U.S. (Occupy Wall Street).
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