SEPTEMBER 24, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to obtain records related to federal grants provided to the controversial "community organization" Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN).
Judicial Watch filed its original Freedom of Information Act request on July 17. HUD acknowledged receipt of the request by letter on August 4th and granted itself additional time to process the request. However, HUD has not abided by its own extended deadline and has failed to provide Judicial Watch with a specific date by which it would respond, even after Judicial Watch agreed to limit the scope of the request to just seven states. (These states are California, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Louisiana.) By law, HUD had 20 days to respond to Judicial Watch’s request. Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit on September 23, 2009.
Judicial Watch seeks the following records:
- Any and all documents concerning money given to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and/or any of its affiliates (since January, 2000).
- Any and all documents concerning any actions and/or disbarments against ACORN, for reasons including but not limited to abuse of grant money, misconduct, etc. (since January, 2000).
Over the last two weeks, the U.S. Senate has voted to deny ACORN access to housing funds, while the House of Representatives voted to deny ACORN all federal funds. The U.S. Census Bureau, meanwhile, has severed its partnership with the organization for the 2010 U.S. Census. The IRS also just severed a program relationship with ACORN. These actions were taken after videos surfaced depicting ACORN workers attempting to advise undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration and child prostitution laws. Most relevant to the lawsuit against HUD, are the videos depicting ACORN workers providing advice on purchasing a house to run as a brothel for underage, illegal alien girls.
"The Obama administration needs to come clean to the American people about its relationship with this disgraced organization, especially in light of President Obama’s personal connections to ACORN," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Given ACORN’s scandalous record, the federal government has no business supporting the organization with taxpayer dollars. It is troubling, given President Obama’s promises of transparency, we have had to sue to try to gain access to the ACORN documents."