A newly-issued Congressional Research Service (CRS) study (pdf) on the activities of the community group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) found no evidence the group has engaged in fraudulent voting or violations of federal financing rules over the last five years. Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives ordered the study after conservatives accused ACORN of conducting voter registration fraud in poor neighborhoods and contributing to the country's financial crisis by "pushing the banking system into a sinkhole of bad loans." The accusations led some members of Congress to push to cut off the group's federal funding. A Federal District Court Judge recently ruled that cutting ACORN's funding was an illegal bill of attainder against the group, a term that refers to Congress targeting punishment at specific individuals or organizations. The CRS report also said that conservative activists may have broken privacy laws in two states when they secretly videotape an encounter with ACORN representatives while posing as a pimp and a prostitute, to see what kind of advice ACORN representatives would offer them about evading taxes and hiding their activities.
By Anne Landman on December 27, 2009