Obama’s Bill Hands ACORN $5.2 Billion Bailout
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:06 PM
By: David A. Patten
A rising chorus of GOP leaders are protesting that the blockbuster Democratic stimulus package would provide up to a whopping $5.2 billion for ACORN, the left-leaning nonprofit group under federal investigation for massive voter fraud.
Most of the money is secreted away under an item in the now $836 billion package titled “Neighborhood Stabilization Programs.”
Ordinarily, neighborhood stabilization funds are distributed to local governments. But revised language in the stimulus bill would make the funds available directly to non-profit entities such as ACORN, the low-income housing organization whose pro-Democrat voter-registration activities have been blasted by Republicans. ACORN is cited by some for tipping the scales in the Democrats' favor in November.
According to Fox news, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., could appear to be a “payoff” for community groups’ partisan political activities in the last election cycle.
“It is of great concern to me,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., tells Newsmax. “I think our government has stayed strong because we’ve had a two-party system, we have had robust debate, people have felt that it was one man-one vote. They are privileged and grateful that they have that ability to cast that vote. And when something is done to belittle or diminish that, it is of great concern to me.”
Regarding ACORN, Blackburn added, “Additional funds going to these organizations that have tried to skew that system, it causes me great concern and I believe that it causes many of my colleagues great concern.”
The three-term congressman stopped short of suggesting the “neighborhood stabilization” money is a power grab by Democrats seeking partisan political advantage. But radio talk giant Rush Limbaugh did not.
Limbaugh warned his listeners Tuesday: “I’ll tell you what’s going on here: We, ladies & gentlemen, we’re funding Obama and the Democrats’ army on the street. We are funding the forces of the Democrat party’s re-election.”
Blackburn echoed the concerns of Republican leaders who object that the bloated package lacks the short-term stimulus a cut in payroll or sales taxes would provide.
According to Matthew Vadum of the Capitol Research Center, the stimulus package now under consideration includes:
$1 billion stashed away in Community Development Block Grant money that ACORN often vies for successfully.
$10 million to develop or refurbish low-income housing, a specialty of ACORN’s.
$4.19 billion to stave off foreclosures via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Vadum states the current version of the bill would allow nonprofits to compete with cities and states for $3.44 billion of the money. Some $750 million, however, would be exclusively reserved for nonprofits such as ACORN, which is actually an umbrella organization for over 100 progressive organizations.
Regarding the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Vadum writes in American Spectator: “Although ACORN operatives usually get their hands on such funds only after they have first passed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or state and local governments, the new spending bill largely eliminates these dawdling middle men, making it easier to get Uncle Sam's largess directly into the hands of the same people who run ACORN's various vote fraud and extortion rackets. And the legislative package provides these funds without the usual prohibition on using government money for lobbying or political activities.”
The charges of partisan political payback appear to be resonating in part due to Obama’s longstanding association with partisan get-out-the-vote operations. He was endorsed by ACORN, and during the campaign paid an ACORN affiliate $832,600 to get-out-the-vote assistance. Early in his career, he led a voter drive for an ACORN-affiliated group called Project Vote.
It’s not the first time ACORN has been entangled in a bailout controversy. In September, House Republicans objected that the original $700 billion bailout package included $100 million for ACORN – a tiny fraction of the sums for ACORN now being considered in the stimulus package.
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