Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

ACORN affiliate still eligible for CFC, despite concerns

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 1:24 p.m. ET

Federal employees can continue to make charitable contributions to a nonprofit affiliate of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now through the government's annual workplace charity campaign despite the concerns of a Republican lawmaker.

As part of an investigation into ACORN's activities, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) in late September asked Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry to drop the ACORN Institute and other affiliates from the list of charities eligible to receive financial assistance through the Combined Federal Campaign.

The giving campaign allows federal employees to donate to eligible charities with cash, checks or payroll deductions.

"The acts perpetrated by ACORN employees were impermissible and should not be supported with CFC dollars," Grassley wrote in a letter to Berry requesting the institute be removed from the list of approved charities.

The ACORN Institute is an affiliate of the national umbrella organization for the community organizing group. Various ACORN constituent parts or affiliates are under investigation for voter registration fraud, embezzlement and other charges. Congress recently froze federal funding to the group after videos produced by conservative activists showed ACORN counselors providing assistance to people posing as a pimp and a prostitute.

"The activities of certain offices of ACORN that have been reported in the media do not provide a legal basis for excluding the Institute from the CFC," Berry wrote in response to Grassley late last week. The institute is a recognized nonprofit organization legally separate from ACORN and does not appear to have violated any laws or CFC regulations, according to Berry. The group's continued eligibility also does not violate the recent joint House and Senate resolution banning federal funding to ACORN or its affiliates, Berry said, since the donations would come from private citizens and not public coffers.

"While Federal monies are, of course, used to accomplish the mission and operations of OPM and other agencies as they execute payroll allotments and perform duties related to the CFC, Federal monies are not 'provided to' the ACORN Institute, Inc., within the meaning or scope of the CR [Congressional resolution]," Berry said.

In a statement, Grassley said that: "The Combined Federal Campaign is a federal program for federal employees. By keeping ACORN charities on the list, the federal government is giving its seal of approval to a group that advised people to lie to the IRS. And this position is inconsistent with congressional intent, as well as the IRS and Census Bureau's stand that they no longer want to do business with ACORN."

The Census Bureau severed ties to ACORN in September following the release of the first video by conservative activists.

Approximately 30,000 charities participate in the CFC, which raised nearly $276 million in 2008, according to OPM.

The ACORN Institute has received less than $50,000 from the CFC since it applied to join in January 2007, according to executive director Brennan Griffin. It works closely with ACORN to provide leadership development and training and helps more than 2,000 families per year apply for various federal benefits, including Medicaid and CHIP.

"We participate in the Combined Federal Campaign on the same basis that all non-profits do: federal workers decide on whether to contribute based on our merits," Griffin said.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 26, 2009; 12:57 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Eye Opener: Oct. 26, 2009
Next: Headed to Williamsburg...

Comments

You know there used to be a concept in America, "Innocent Until Proven Guilty."

Looks like the Senator from Iowa missed that basic class on the American system of justice.

Posted by: VACommonsense | October 26, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Combined Federal Campaign=CFC
Cash for Clunkers=CFC

I can see where these two programs can overlap.

Posted by: nubeldorf1 | October 26, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Innocent? Acorn? Sounds like one of those who gave part of the $50k. I couldn't think of a worse organization to give money to ... wait.maybe NAMBLA...just by a whisker.

Posted by: espnfan | October 26, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

What groups should and should not be on the approved list of CFC is a massive issue in, and of itself. A thorough housecleaning might take years.

Posted by: AWWNats | October 26, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

What a joke. Halliburton and the Republican Party routinely do far worse things than a few Acorn employees did. They should strip both of these corrupt organizations of all power, take away their ability to accept bribes, and send most of their members to prison before going after a small organization with a few bad apples.

Posted by: wilder5121 | October 26, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The dems will funnel money one way or another to ACORN whether they are removed from the CFC list or not. They need those fraudulent votes.

Posted by: alstl | October 26, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

In order to make the Republicans happy, we should eliminate charity altogether.

Posted by: spidey103 | October 26, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

While it is likely that many people working at lower or local levels with such organizations are sincere and good, the federal government should have strict rules about the top people and how they use public money.

Honest mistakes can be forgiven - bad employees happen. BUT! This is an organization that has been fined for not paying their people overtime, not paying taxes, pay employees sub minimum wage in many places and hid an embezzelment (1 to 5 million) by their chief finance person (Dale Rathke) for almost a decade.

Their books are more opaque than your morning milk and the whole "system" is set up with multiple groups giving each other money then passing it on again in a most money laundering like way.

This organization, like any other receiving public funding, needs to be investigated, cleaned up and given back only to the people who are able to use any funds in a legal, non-partisan and ethical manner.

Posted by: sally62 | October 26, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

this is why one should read the lists of recipients and enter the code # of those you would like to support instead of "all participating organizations"

ACORN isn't the only less than great group that is on the list.

This method takes a bit of time, but is worth every dollar an individual donates to charity.

Posted by: speedy2 | October 27, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

OMG, Congress may continue funding to Acorn!!!! Wow! Obama must need some more $$$$! Republican and Democrat leaders, --- you must vote “NO” Friday to continue the ban on Acorn. Acorn must not receive anymore of our hard earned tax $$$. IRS, You must not affiliate yourselves with this group Acorn anymore. Please do not let the Chicago Mafia intimidate you. If you fail us, we are all doomed.
=======================
“”The activities of certain offices of ACORN that have been reported in the media do not provide a legal basis for excluding the Institute from the CFC," Berry wrote in response to Grassley late last week. The institute is a recognized nonprofit organization legally separate from ACORN and does not appear to have violated any laws or CFC regulations, according to Berry. The group's continued eligibility also does not violate the recent joint House and Senate resolution banning federal funding to ACORN or its affiliates, Berry said, since the donations would come from private citizens and not public coffers.”””
--------------
Berry, BS BS BS!!!! Acorn is Acorn is Acorn is Acorn!!!! This administration along with Acorn are great with all of their magic tricks. "Now you see me now you don't." Obama goes down to New Orleans for 4 hours. Less than a week later, Louisiana Acorn comes out and states ---- “We will not be shutting down!!!!” Can anyone say CORRUPT? Is Obama needing more $$$$$$? We are watching. Can you hear us now????

Posted by: annlawler26 | October 27, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

“In order to make the Republicans happy, we should eliminate charity altogether.
Posted by: spidey103””
------------
Nope, just eliminate corrupt charities, which sounds like, this means you.

Posted by: annlawler26 | October 27, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Lest we forget that ACORN is corupt through in through and continues to degrade our country and government. It is withourt a doubt a slush fund for the democratic party and a method to destroy the Republican party.Our president is beholding to Acorn for their assistance in getting him elected, essentialy by voter fraud.

Posted by: rvaw120 | October 31, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company