The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has given more than $700,000 in federal tax dollars in 2011 to the perennially corrupt group ACORN, Barack Obama’s former employer and legal client, investigative journalist Matthew Vadum reports.
In the meantime, Bruce Dorpalen, public affairs director for ACORN Housing, is now lobbying Congress, requesting $60 million in taxpayer funding for HUD housing counseling programs.
“Will any of this taxpayer money find its way into ACORN’s political operations or fraud-prone voter registration programs?” asked Vadum, author of the explosive new book “Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.”
“It is absolutely an open question,” said Vadum, a senior editor at Capital Research Center, a think tank that studies left-wing advocacy groups and their funders.
His book is the product of nearly three years of research and hundreds of interviews.
Despite powerful evidence of massive managerial irregularities at ACORN Housing, HUD, headed by longtime ACORN ally Shaun Donovan, has funneled $729,849 so far this year to the longtime ACORN affiliate. The $729,849 consists of three grants: $79,819 on March 1; $300,000 on Aug. 11; and $350,030 on Sept. 2. The ACORN Housing chapter in San Antonio, Texas, will receive a percentage of a $619,696 federal foreclosure-avoidance grant as a subgrant.
HUD ruled that ACORN Housing had severed its ties to ACORN, which allowed the government to do an end-run around the ban on federal funding of ACORN that became law in late 2009.
The grants were handed over despite an audit that showed ACORN Housing was incapable of managing the federal grants properly.
“We have determined that [ACORN Housing] lacks the accounting capacity to manage the size and complexity of the [foreclosure-avoidance] program funds,” said the
internal audit dated Dec. 17, 2010, conducted by NeighborWorks America, a taxpayer-funded federal nonprofit.
NeighborWorks America is a business name for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., which was created by Congress in 1978.
ACORN Housing had poorly trained staff, sloppy accounting procedures and violated conflict-of-interest guidelines established by the Office of Management and Budget, according to the internal audit by taxpayer-funded NeighborWorks America. The audit was provided late last year to then-Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn. NeighborWorks America has given more than $26.5 million in federal foreclosure-avoidance counseling money to ACORN Housing, which changed its name a year ago to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) to escape the stigma of being associated with ACORN.
As Vadum has reported, ACORN’s state chapters have restructured themselves and do business using names such as New York Communities for Change and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Both of the ACORN offshoot groups have been deeply involved in organizing and financing the radical left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement.
The NeighborWorks audit also determined that although ACORN Housing and voter fraud-prone ACORN are separate legal entities, several financial transactions “evidence extensive relationships between both organizations that may undermine claims of an ‘arm’s length relationship’ between them.” ACORN Housing, said the audit, worked closely with ACORN and subcontracted much of the counseling work to “four ACORN local state chapters.”
“It’s still the same old ACORN, the same old venal organization feeding at the public trough,” Vadum told WND. “None of this mattered to the Obama administration when it started cutting new checks to its old community organizing friends earlier this year.”
ACORN Housing is the largest affiliate of ACORN, the infamous organization driven into bankruptcy by conservative activists who shot undercover videos apparently showing its employees facilitating child prostitution and other criminal activity in 2009.
ACORN Housing claims to be completely separate from ACORN, the shell corporation that went bankrupt a year ago, and ACORN’s 370-plus affiliates.
Vadum’s book describes ACORN as a nonprofit version of Enron, the failed energy company brought down by its own fraudulent practices. The ACORN network is a confusing web of interlocking directorates and affiliated tax-exempt groups that Vadum argues should be investigated for violating federal racketeering laws.
Even though ACORN and ACORN Housing are technically separate corporations, in reality they function as one ongoing enterprise, Vadum’s book says. ACORN Housing’s board is dominated by longtime ACORN loyalists such as the corporation’s president, Alton L. Bennett, and Dorothy Amadi. Bennett has been an ACORN activist for at least 20 years, and Dorothy Amadi has been an ACORN activist for at least 22 years. ACORN veteran Mike Shea ran ACORN Housing’s day-to-day operations before the entity changed its name. He remains executive director of AHCOA today.
The NeighborWorks audit was made public only because watchdog group Cause of Action pressed it to release the report.