As I told the Washington Examiner a few hours ago after reviewing the Obama stimulus bill and the proposed fiscal 2010 budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), ACORN and other left-wing advocacy groups could have a shot at pocketing up to $8.5 billion this year.
Here’s how I arrived at the $8.5 billion figure.
The $800 billion-plus stimulus bill, which is now formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or Public Law 111-5, originally set aside $5.2 billion that could flow directly or indirectly into the coffers of ACORN and its liberal friends. It appears the $5.2 billion was chopped down to $3 billion in the version of the bill that President Obama signed into law on February 17. The $3 billion consists of $2 billion in funds set aside for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes and $1 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
CDBG is good old-fashioned graft. Local politicians of both parties love CDBG because it is flexible. The program gives them wide latitude when spending grant money and allows local leaders to use federal dollars on local projects that they wouldn’t dream of spending their own local tax dollars on. ACORN loves CDBG because it is adept at lobbying for CDBG funds.
In addition to the $3 billion available in the stimulus package, the proposed $47.5 billion HUD budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1 provides $1 billion for an affordable housing trust fund and $4.5 billion in CDBG funds that could be funneled to ACORN indirectly.
Of course ACORN won’t get it all, and given its history of electoral fraud and racketeering, it shouldn’t get a penny of federal money.
According to the Washington Examiner article, ACORN has taken in $53.6 million in federal funding since 1994.
Amazingly, ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson told reporter Kevin Mooney that his group has “received no significant federal funding.”
(crossposted at the Capital Research Center blog)