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Judiciary Report on ACORN December 2009

Judiciary Report on ACORN December 2009

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Published by Kim Hedum
Breakdown on investigations into ACORN with a decided left leaning view. Imagine that?!
Breakdown on investigations into ACORN with a decided left leaning view. Imagine that?!

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Kim Hedum on Oct 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov
December 22, 2009
House Judiciary Committee
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
In response to your request that CRS research several issues relating to the Association of CommunityOrganizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and its affiliates, CRS has compiled the following information.1.
Investigations concerning ACORN
. You asked for a list giving the status and results of a) all pending or previous federal, state or local criminal or agency investigationsconcerning ACORN; b) all pending or previous congressional investigations concerningACORN; c) all pending or previous internal ACORN investigations; and d) all pendingrequests (other than those made to CRS) for investigation of ACORN by any Member of Congress or any committee. The following memorandum,
 ACORN Investigations
,contains information on pending and previous federal, state, local, and internalinvestigations concerning ACORN obtained from news sources. The tables in thememorandum include basic details about the investigation and direct quotations takenfrom the source document; however, CRS did not verify the information in the source.2.
Federal funding received by ACORN.
You asked for a description of all federalfunding received by ACORN over the last five fiscal years and a description of instanceswhere ACORN violated the terms of federal funding. The following memorandum,
Federal Funding to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now(ACORN)
, presents information on federal funding received by ACORN. A search of reports of federal agency inspectors general did not identify instances in which ACORNviolated the terms of federal funding in the last five years.3.
Effect of alleged false voter registrations by ACORN workers.
You asked CRS toresearch improper voter registrations that resulted in people being placed on the votingrolls and attempting to vote improperly at the polls. As discussed, a NEXIS search of theALL NEWS file did not identify any reported instances of individuals who wereimproperly registered by ACORN attempting to vote at the polls.4.
Recent “sting” activity concerning ACORN.
You asked CRS to research and report onthe federal and state laws that could apply to the recent videotaping of ACORN workersand the distribution of conversations with ACORN workers without consent. This issueis addressed in the following memorandum,
 Allegations of Recording Conversations WithVarious ACORN Affiliated Individuals Without Their Consent: Implications Under Various Federal and State Laws Relating to the Interception of Oral Communications
.The memorandum explains that “as a general matter federal law permits privateindividuals to record face to face conversations, as long as the recording is not done forcriminal or tortious purposes. New York law seems even more forgiving, for it only
Congressional Research Service 2
reaches those who record remotely. The laws of the District of Columbia mirror federallaw prior to the 1986 amendments to the federal statute. D.C. law permits one-partyconsent recordings, although the consequences of the want of complete symmetry withfederal provisions are unclear. In contrast, the laws of Maryland and California appear toban private recording of face to face conversations, absent the consent of all of theparticipants.”5.
Effects of ACORN activity concerning housing.
You asked CRS to research anddescribe the extent to which ACORN has assisted the homeless and provided housingopportunities to for low-income individuals. CRS did not identify any rigorous andindependent evaluation of the effectiveness of ACORN’s affordable housing activities.The following literature review,
 Acorn Activities Concerning Housing
, lists reportedexamples of ACORN’s activities to promote the development of affordable housing, toprovide counseling to first-time homebuyers and homeowners facing foreclosure, and tosupport individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina. Please note that CRS did not verifythe information provided in these reports.6.
Analysis of legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN.
This issue is addressed in theattached CRS Report R40826,
The Proposed “Defund ACORN Act” and Related  Legislation: Are They Bills of Attainder?
The report states that “while the regulatorypurpose of ensuring that federal funds are properly spent is a legitimate one, it is not clearthat imposing a permanent government-wide ban on contracting with or providing grantsto ACORN under the proposed Defund ACORN Act fits that purpose, at least when theban is applied only to ACORN and all its affiliates. The brevity of the fundingmoratorium imposed on ACORN and its affiliates under the 2010 ContinuingAppropriation Resolution, however, could arguably be justified as an expediencenecessary to address an issue of immediate congressional concern, while allowingCongress sufficient time to consider a longer term solution.”
Attachments referenced in the following memoranda are provided in a separate file.
 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov
October 20, 2009
House Committee on the Judiciary
ACORN Investigations
We are sending you the following in response to your request for information on investigationsconcerning the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Specifically, weare responding to the first question from the letter sent to CRS Director Dan Mulhollan from ChairmenConyers and Frank dated September 22, 2009.We searched for news articles using the LexisNexis Major U.S. Newspapers file, CQ.com TopDocsdatabase and GalleryWatch HotDocs database.
Then, we compiled the information into tables withdetails about the investigation such as the person initiating the investigation, the person it was directed to,and direct quotations taken from the source of the information.
Table 1
below addresses question 1(a) from the letter. It contains information on pending and previousfederal, state, and local criminal or agency investigations concerning ACORN. We searched for the word
or the phrase
 Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
within the same sentenceas the word
and its variations. We excluded editorials and op-ed pieces. The search includedarticles loaded through October 20, 2009. To avoid duplicating information in the chart, we only citedone source in instances where multiple sources reported on the same investigation.
Table 2
below addresses questions 1(b). It has information on pending or previous congressionalinvestigations concerning ACORN. We searched for the word
or the phrase
 Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
within the same sentence as the word
and itsvariations, as well as the terms
. We alsosearched the CQ.com Top Docs and GalleryWatch.com HotDocs databases for documents with“ACORN” in the title. In addition to investigations, we included requests for audits.
Table 3
below addresses question 1(c) from the letter. It contains information on pending or previousinternal ACORN investigations. We searched for the word
or the phrase
 Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
within the same sentence as the phrases
own investigation
internal investigation
. The search included articles loaded through October 20, 2009. Although we used
Please note, due to interest, some or all of the information we retrieved may be used to answer other congressional requests.

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