Tired of Republicans who compromise the farm away on domestic policy? Frustrated with Republican presidents who allow far-left Democrats to re-craft their legislation?
If so, now would be an opportune moment to revisit Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) unyielding efforts to halt federal funding for ACORN.
Several months before the videotapes were released that showed workers offering financial advice to undercover investigators, Bachmann stepped to halt the flow of federal dollars into the ACORN network.
Back in April of 2009, Bachmann offered an amendment to the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, which would prevent any organization indicted for voter fraud registration or vote fraud from receiving housing counseling grants and legal assistance grants. The amendment passed the House Financial Services Committee, then chaired by Barney Frank (D-MA), in a unanimous voice vote.
Sometime later, it became apparent to Chairman Frank that he had cut off ACORN and proceeded to reverse himself.
“I did not read it carefully, and it was in the last minute that the amendment was accepted,” he said at the time. “It is a deeply flawed amendment and I am opposed to it. Banning people from possible participation in government programs based on an indictment is a violation of the basic principles of due process.”
A clever argument from an agile mind.
But Bachmann had the better argument. “Congress,” she reminded colleagues, “has a fiduciary responsibility,” where groups competing for federal dollars are concerned. Put another way, why hold such low standards where the public’s money is concerned?
(Just to be clear, Bachmann’s amendment only applied to the mortgage reform bill and did not impact ACORN’s ability to receive funding from the stimulus package or the 2010 federal budget. But the amendment did help generate a larger discussion about the support ACORN was receiving on Capitol Hill.)
Later that year, the political terrain shifted against ACORN (known in full as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) thanks to the efforts of investigative journalists James O’Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles. Suddenly, Democrats who felt they needed to distance themselves from ACORN joined with Republicans to cut off funding; albeit temporarily.
But it is worth remembering that Rep. Bachmann was out in front before it was politically fashionable to take on ACORN. Bachmann scored points with the conservative faithful in the early stages of her campaign because it was evident she was willing to elevate taxpayer interests above polite, gentile bipartisan exercises that typically translate into bigger government.
Unfortunately, even with the Republicans now control of the House, it would seem that the federal sources for the renamed ACORN have been restored, according to a new report from Matthew Vadum, a senior editor with the Capital Research Center (CRC).
“President Obama has given ACORN $729,849 so far this year and billions more in federal cash may be in the pipeline,” Vadum wrote.
“The president’s new economic stimulus package, the so-called “jobs bill,” contains as much as $15 billion for radical left-wing groups such as ACORN (his former employer). Obama has been using his presidential bully pulpit to demand that Republicans in Congress “pass this bill,” even though there is no bill yet. Despite all the rhetoric, the proposed “American Jobs Act of 2011″ apparently hasn’t even been introduced in Congress.”
Vadum is also the author of a new book on ACORN, its history and its impact on the electoral process entitled: Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.
The renamed ACORN affiliates will likely be a force once again in the 2012 races, especially where there are close, competitive contests. But the self-described community activists should not be permitted to swing election results with assistance of U.S. taxpayers who have different political preferences.
Rep. Bachmann’s efforts to defund ACORN should be revisited heading into the 2012 campaign.