Bailed-out banks should stop funding ACORN

Top recipients of federal bailout money should get their own financial houses in order before they funnel any additional grants in the direction of self-described community activists, such as the controversial group ACORN.

The Washington Examiner
Editorial

The Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now is one of the left-wing groups that have finagled millions in aid from some of the very banks now being bailed out with American taxpayer dollars. Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase are among the top recipients of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and they also happen to supply sizable grants to ACORN Housing Corp., one of the group’s many affiliate organizations. These banks owe it to their customers, to say nothing of the larger American public, to re-evaluate their relationship with ACORN at a time when it is under investigation for voter fraud in at least 12 different states. It’s worth noting that two former board members have petitioned federal law enforcement officials to investigate embezzlement allegations that involve almost $1 million.

Bank of America has contributed almost $3 million to ACORN Housing Corp. since 2005, according to the Capital Research Center, a conservative watchdog group. CRC has reported that the largest grant on record, for $740,000, went to ACORN’s Las Vegas office, which was raided by federal authorities last year because of suspected voter fraud.

Edward Anguilla, a spokesman for Bank of America, told The Examiner that the grants funneled to ACORN Housing were part of a larger effort to address the foreclosure crisis, and were set up specifically for home retention and foreclosure mitigation work.

ACORN’s affiliates and subsidiaries, including ACORN Housing, are all closely linked, according to Matthew Vadum, a senior analyst and editor with CRC. “ACORN Housing Corp. is the main housing arm of ACORN,” Vadum said. “It’s part and parcel of the ACORN network. To deny this obvious fact would be like saying Sam’s Club wasn’t related to Wal-Mart.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, was right when he told The Examiner that “a scandal-plagued group like ACORN should not get a dime of taxpayers’ money. Period. Not directly, not indirectly, not one dime. More importantly, these questions reinforce the immediate need for the Treasury Department and the White House to develop an exit strategy to get taxpayer funds out of the private sector.”

Well said.

It’s time ACORN’s underwriters listened.

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