Report Says ACORN Didn't Commit Voter Fraud
or Misuse Federal Funding

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
did not commit voter fraud, and it didn't misuse federal funding in the last
five years, according to a recently released report prepared by the Congressional
Research Service (CRS), a nonpartisan investigational arm of Congress.

Among its findings, CRS also reported that recently enacted federal legislation
to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The report
said courts "may have a sufficient basis" to conclude that the legislation "violates the
prohibition against bills of attainder." Also, concerning recent "sting" operations
related to ACORN, although state laws vary, two states, Maryland and California,
"appear to ban private recording of face to face conversations absent the consent of
all the participants," the report said.

The CRS report was requested by House Judiciary Chairman
John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan) and House Financial
Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank in September.

"There were no instances of individuals who were
allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its
employees and who were reported attempting to vote at
the polls," the CRS report states.

This report came on the heels of another report that
also cleared ACORN of wrongdoing. That outside report
indicated ACORN doesn't show a pattern of intentional
and illegal behavior in undercover videos that
conservatives shot of ACORN staffers. That's according
to an independent, two-month review of ACORN released in
early December by Scott Harshbarger, senior counsel at
Proskauer Rose and former Massachusetts attorney
general. Proskauer Rose is a law firm that led the
independent review of ACORN at the behest of its senior
officials. This review shows the independent analysis
requested by ACORN on September 21 in the wake of the
video controversies, significant negative news coverage
and lost support among some funders, allies and


The CRS report was compiled by information research
specialist Meredith Peterson; law librarian Julia
Taylor; senior specialist in American public law Charles
Doyle, information research specialist Julius Jefferson
and legislative attorney Kenneth Thomas.


Concerning ACORN's efforts to help people with housing
issues, the CRS report concludes that ACORN's activities
promote the development of affordable housing, provide
counseling to first-time homebuyers and homeowners
facing foreclosure, and support people affected by
Hurricane Katrina.

For example, the CRC report states that ACORN's 2006
annual report indicates that ACORN Housing Corporation's
(AHC) development program secured more than $140 million
in construction financing to develop 735 new units of
affordable housing in Houston, Chicago, Phoenix and New
York. CRS also found reports of ACORN activities related
to improving housing conditions, including organizing
tenants to demand repairs and conducting lead paint
outreach programs. In addition, AHC reported that in
2006 it counseled 13,738 first-time homeowners and
helped 1,474 homeowners into more affordable mortgages.
And CRC also states that ACORN has been "very involved"
with housing activities in the Gulf Coast area after
Hurricane Katrina: ACORN helped in the cleanup of 1,850
homes and organized 10,000 hurricane survivors into the
ACORN Katrina Survivors Association.

Conservatives, including Rep. Darrell Issa (R-
California) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), have
criticized ACORN for a long time. Republican members of
Congress also dubbed ACORN a "criminal enterprise" with
close and current ties to the highest levels of the
Obama administration and the labor movement. Republicans
created 81 pages of documents about ACORN's voter
registration activities in 2004 and 2006 to supplement
Issa's July 2009 report, "Is ACORN Intentionally
Structured as a Criminal Enterprise?" Also,
Representative Issa previously sponsored the "Defund

ACORN lost its long-standing federal funding in two
September votes, but it wasn't only Republicans who
voted against providing ACORN funding: The House voted
345-75, which included 172 Democrats, to prohibit ACORN
from getting federal funds. The vote came after the
video camera controversy, which triggered much media
coverage in right-wing news outlets and then also in the
mainstream press. Also, ACORN was denied funding for a
three-year $780,000 grant for outreach to poor
communities and to raise awareness of the lung disease
asthma; ACORN's grant got dropped with the Environmental
Protection Agency as a result of the approval of the
Defund ACORN Act.

However, in an analysis of legislation to prohibit
funding to ACORN, Kenneth Thomas states in the CRS
report that "while the regulatory purpose of ensuring
that federal funds are properly spent is a legitimate
one, it is not clear that imposing a permanent
government-wide ban on contracting with or providing
grants to ACORN under the proposed Defund ACORN Act fits
that purpose, at least when the ban is applied only to
ACORN and its affiliates." Thomas also writes, "The
brevity of the funding moratorium imposed on ACORN and
its affiliates under the 2010 Continuing Appropriation
Resolution, however, could arguably be justified as an
expedience necessary to address an issue of immediate
congressional concern, while allowing Congress
sufficient time to consider a longer term solution."

Talking about the CRS report, Conyers said, "I
appreciate the careful work of CRS on these issues. I
look forward to seeing the results of the work being
undertaken by other agencies, including the recently
announced Government Accountability Office review
concerning federal funding of ACORN."

Meanwhile ACORN critic Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told The
American Spectator that he was disappointed that the
Democratic-controlled Congress and the Obama
administration aren't doing much about what he considers
wrongdoings by ACORN.

In the story, the House Judiciary Committee member
describes the ACORN saga as "the largest corruption
crisis in the history of America" and says, "It's
thousands of times bigger than Watergate because
Watergate was only a little break-in by a couple of