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State Senators Seek ACORN Investiation
Thursday, 17 September 2009

September 17-- Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), Representative Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) and other members of the Senate and House delegations called on all state, city and local governments and authorities to review their list of contracts and subcontracts to ensure the taxpayers of Georgia that no money is being spent on contracts with Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its affiliates.  The legislators also indicated that they are considering filing an open records request regarding the funding sources of ACORN affiliates in Georgia and in taking legislative action in the 2010 session of the General Assembly.


"There is no place in Georgia for an organization that turns a blind eye toward the prostitution of children. The long history of this organization in election fraud is bad enough, but the recent evidence of criminal activity is simply too much to ignore. We call on the leadership of all political organizations to publicly rebuke ACORN and to assure Georgia voters they will take every step possible to prevent this group from operating in our state," said Rogers.


“As elected officials, we are charged with responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.  The idea of taxpayer money going to an organization involved in tax and voter fraud is not just a federal issue.  It’s not a partisan issue.  It’s a common sense issue.  Today we strongly urge government and authorities at all levels to do everything legally within their power to freeze any contracts with ACORN and provide a full account to citizens of any taxpayer dollars that have gone to ACORN,” said Setzler. 


Setzler noted that a preliminary investigation conducted this week by a group of legislators has found that at least one contract issued through the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) has been awarded to ACORN.  The contract utilized federal Food Stamp program funds and private foundation dollars totaling $104,000 to conduct a federally mandated outreach program to encourage people under 125% of the federal poverty line to use food stamps.  In Georgia, ACORN has been one of four or five federally approved organizations to provide these services.  The identified contract, which uses no state funds, began on September 8, 2008 and will expire September 30, 2009.  The Governor’s office has indicated that the DHS will not renew this contract and is working closely with the legislators to identify any other potential ACORN contracts.  Annually, DHS alone contracts with more than 10,000 vendors and executes hundreds of thousands of individual financial transactions per year.


Since 2008, ACORN has been awarded approximately $29 million in direct federal government contracts and is pursuing tens of millions of dollars in contract awards under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  ACORN habitually pursues contracts directly with state and local governments and authorities nationwide to ostensibly perform a broad range of services including income tax assistance, foreclosure assistance, public outreach, as well as other community stabilization programs using a mixture of federal, state, local, and private foundation funds.


ACORN and its affiliates has also been the subject of not less than 14 criminal investigations in seven states in the past three years alone.  As recently as September 9, 2009, the Dade County Florida district attorney took seven people into custody and issued felony warrants for the arrest of 11 employees of ACORN on charges of voter registration fraud.  In response to these and other emerging allegations of gross, systemic misconduct within ACORN, the United State Census Bureau on September 11, 2009 formally severed its substantial ties with ACORN to assist in the 2010 census.  Also in September 2009, the United States Senate voted in an overwhelming 83-7 action to prohibit ACORN from receiving federal funds from a number of federal agencies including the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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