WASHINGTON – The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases.
The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman’s income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.
The Senate’s move would mean that ACORN would not be able to win HUD grants for programs such as counseling low-income people on how to get mortgages and for fair housing education and outreach.
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said that ACORN has received $53 million in taxpayer funds since 1994.
Just last week, the Census Bureau severed its ties with ACORN, saying it does not want the group’s help in outreach efforts on the decennial count.
ACORN, which advocates for poor people, conducted a massive voter registration effort last year and became a target of conservatives when some employees were accused of submitting false registration forms with names such as “Mickey Mouse.”
The Senate measure is scheduled to pass this week and must be reconciled with a companion House measure that passed in July.