Bill calling for state investigation stalls in committee run by ACORN member. (UPDATED 10/20/09, 10:03 p.m.)
ACORN is inside the gates.
The American Spectator has learned that a bill introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature to investigate the activities of the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — ACORN — is stalled in the powerful State Government Committee.
The chairman, State Representative Babette Josephs, a Philadelphia Democrat, is a member of ACORN.
The revelation of Chairman Joseph’s ACORN ties came in a now long-forgotten April 3, 2008 hearing of the House State Government Committee. The hearing took place at 9:05 in the morning in room 205 of the Ryan Office Building in the State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the upcoming (April 22nd) Pennsylvania primary election preparations with Governor Ed Rendell’s Secretary of the Commonwealth, Pedro Cortes. As Cortes was being questioned by Committee members, there was this exchange, released in the official Committee transcript, between Berks County (Reading) Representative Carl Mantz, a Republican, and Chairman Josephs:
REPRESENTATIVE MANTZ: Yes. In my own county, there have been news reports in my county, Berks County, Lehigh County, in my district and also Philadelphia, about allegations respecting the activities of the ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. And allegations have been made that ACORN and its employees have submitted fraudulent voter registrations. Number one , I guess my question is, is it legal for Pennsylvania, in this state, to compensate individuals or voters, each voter registration that a person — I understand that that’s apparently — I don’t believe that’s — I see Al Masland has left, and I apologize. I’m not as familiar with the statute in that respect.
CHAIR JOSEPHS: Mr. Mantz, we can get the answer to you, but I would like to say that I am a member of ACORN, and they do not do that.
On July 30th of 2009, Representative Stephen Barrar, a Republican from Chester and Delaware counties who does not serve on Josephs’ State Government Committee, introduced House Resolution 426. The bill, referred to the State Government Committee, calls for a formal request from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to the state attorney general to investigate ACORN. Josephs, in her role as chairman, controls the committee. The bill has gone nowhere, leading to the belief by legislative sources that Josephs is using her power as chairman of the State Government Committee to protect the controversial group of which she herself is a member.
In contrast, Republicans say, on June 19, 2007, when the leadership of the Democratic-controlled State House wanted to rush through a bill tolling Interstate 80, they passed House Bill 1590 as a “blank bill.” Meaning the bill literally had no words in it. It was whipped out of committee and passed within hours, then sent over to the GOP controlled Senate before the day was out.
At 31 session days and counting from the date of Barrar’s ACORN investigation bill, the contrast with the reaction from the U.S. Congress could not be greater. Within days of recent revelations showing ACORN employees in five different cities appearing to assist undercover investigative journalists in questionable activities involving prostitution, tax laws and the importation of underage girls for what amounts to sex slavery, both the U.S. Senate and House took immediate action. The Senate cut off federal housing money for ACORN by an overwhelming 83-7 margin, while on Thursday the House, like the Senate controlled by Democrats, passed the “Defund Acorn Act” by a stunning 345-75 vote.
In the Pennsylvania legislature, things are quite different.
On Thursday, while Democrats in Washington joined Republicans in defunding ACORN, Barrar made an attempt to follow the Congress. He “attempted to a add a provision” cutting off state funding for ACORN by adding a requirement to the state’s fiscal code that would ban ACORN and other political groups “from receiving public funding.”
Democrats in the State House voted unanimously to refuse to even consider the motion, further fueling suspicion that Barrar’s call for an ACORN investigation will never see the light of day.
Said Barrar: “This organization has portrayed itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social justice organization, but it appears to be a partisan political organization, consistently mired in voter fraud allegations, and now its staffers have apparently shown people how to break the law.” He added, “The people of Pennsylvania do not want their hard-earned tax dollars to fund the political activities of such groups.”
The Democrats in the House disagreed. The rejected bill would have denied all public funding for groups that are engaged in political activities such as:
• Actively managing a political campaign
• Soliciting or handling political contributions
• Soliciting votes
• Endorsing or opposing candidates
• Circulating partisan nominating petitions
• Organizing partisan voter registration drives
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online