U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, is demanding a straight up-or-down vote on a bill dedicated to removing ACORN from the list of recipients of federal largesse, or says he’ll force the issue.
And a key conservative vote, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., says unless there is such an action, it will mean the recent votes on that very issue were nothing but “cover.”
Filmmaker James O’Keefe and an associate, Hannah Giles, for the last week have been posting undercover videos on the BigGovernment.com website, revealing the actions and attitudes of employees of ACORN, an organization for whom President Obama once worked.
The two posed as a pimp and prostitute and have asked questions about setting up brothels, importing underage girls for prostitution and tax issues, largely getting affirmative help from the ACORN employees, several of whom already have been fired for their statements.
One of the undercover videos features a woman identified as Tresa Kaelke at an ACORN office in California.
The result has been that the U.S. Census Bureau has cut ties to ACORN and both houses of Congress have taken votes to halt funding to the organization. The problem with that, Bachmann says, is that the votes were on amendments to different bills and “still have far to go before they reach the president’s pen for signature into law.”
Bachmann warns, “ACORN still remains eligible for billions of your tax dollars.”
“And don’t think that the Democrats won’t try to strip the ACORN language from whatever bill finally makes it to the White House,” Bachmann continued. “These votes were their cover.
“They think that you’ll be fooled into thinking that they’ve heard your outrage and are abandoning their good buddy, ACORN.”
Boehner today called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to schedule an immediate up-or-down vote on legislation to end all federal funding for ACORN as a separate, stand-alone bill.
His demand comes just a day after the House adopted that as an amendment on a 345-75 vote.
“Yesterday’s overwhelming bipartisan vote to defund ACORN represented critical progress in our effort to sever this corrupt organization’s ties to the federal government, but it was only the beginning,” he said. “Now that the House has spoken in such resounding fashion, Speaker Pelosi should schedule an up-or-down vote on the Defund ACORN Act without delay. This critical priority should not be held hostage to a government takeover of student lending.
“If the speaker refuses to act, I will file a discharge petition to force a vote on this legislation. The sooner we can send the Defund ACORN Act as a stand-alone bill to the Senate, which has already voted to deny federal funds to this corrupt outfit, the sooner we can get it to the president’s desk,” he said. “Every day we continue to allow ACORN access to federal funding is another opportunity for this troubled organization to misuse and abuse taxpayer dollars,” Boehner said.
Bachmann noted that the Senate had had a similar vote just before the House. But her spokeswoman, Debbee Keller, told WND that while the initial votes look good, they don’t actually mean much yet.
“There is one way that we can immediately cut ACORN off from all federal programs and funding, and it’s going to take all of us pressuring President Obama to use the federal suspension and debarment process to make it happen,” Bachmann explained. “This process is coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.
“Here’s what the executive branch says about the process: ‘The government debarment and suspension procedures are intended to prevent poor performance, waste, fraud and abuse in federal procurement and nonprocurement actions. Debarment or suspension of an organization, business or individual from doing business with the federal government is not meant to be a punishment, but a procedure to ensure that federally funded business is conducted legally with responsible persons,'” Bachmann explained.
“Sounds to me like there is ample evidence against ACORN to initiate and execute this process, cutting them off from funding altogether!” she said. “I’ve already written the administration to ask that the process be invoked.”
Individual states also have started removing their subsidies to various ACORN entities.
Bachmann suggested that with the recent votes in Congress, the followup should be “a thorough investigation by the IRS, DOJ, and Congress into ACORN’s years of shady activities and abuse of the law and public trust.”
The newest video at BigGovernment.com shows a worker appearing willing to help smuggle underage girls into the U.S. for prostitution.
In addition, the worker asks the undercover filmmaker’s associate, posing as a prostitute, “How much?”
“How much you charge,” the video reveals ACORN worker Juan Carlos asking the “prostitute,” played by Hannah Giles, who was accompanying filmmaker James O’Keefe. The two have unveiled a series of undercover videos from various ACORN offices across the United States, revealing a willingness to help set up a brothel and other attitudes that have prompted both houses of Congress to vote to discontinue federal funding for the group.
“For her services?” the filmmaker responds.
“Well for the entire weekend …” his assistant starts.
“Are you gonna work for me,” says the ACORN employee.
“Are you a potential client?” the filmmaker asks.
“No, no, no. I want to know what is it,” the ACORN employee says.
The worker earlier told the pair he was a lawyer, went to school in Mexico and suggests Tijuana as a shipping point for the dozen underage Salvadoran girls they explain they expect to be brought to the U.S. for prostitution.
It was a video from San Bernardino in which an ACORN worker boasted of having shot her ex-husband. She also bragged she knows how to avoid detection in running a brothel.
ACORN, which has fired workers caught in several earlier compromising videos, has alleged they are manipulated, and has threatened a lawsuit against the filmmaker and websites, as well as Fox News, for the reports that show ACORN workers advising on how to fake tax forms, set up a child prostitution business and other issues.
Giles, a 20-year-old college student and political activist, originally came up with the idea for the undercover project at the beginning of a summer internship she was doing in Washington, D.C.
While jogging through part of D.C. she saw an ACORN facility, which piqued her already existing interest in undercover investigative reporting. She contacted O’Keefe, who was part of a series of undercover Planned Parenthood reports, and pitched the idea to him.
The two funded their project completely, and traveled from Maryland, to Washington, D.C., to New York to Southern California to expose ACORN.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which describes itself as a team of families “working together for social justice and stronger communities,” had been accused multiple times of voter fraud.