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Attorney selected to study ACORN

Wed., Sept. 23, 2009

‘Institutional integrity’ is probe’s priority

WASHINGTON – The community activist group ACORN said Tuesday it has selected a former Massachusetts attorney general to investigate its housing program and other public service projects after employees were caught on video giving advice to a couple posing as a prostitute and pimp and Congress moved to cut off its federal funding.

Democrat Scott Harshbarger, a lawyer whose specialties include corporate governance, will handle the internal investigation. He said he will “conduct a full and complete independent investigation” and give the group a report on his findings and recommendations.

“It’s very important that they get this independent assessment,” Harshbarger said Tuesday in an interview in Boston. “I think they understand the need to respond in a way that talks about their institutional integrity, and I will do the best I can to get there.”

Video shot by the couple in Brooklyn appears to show ACORN employees advising the pair to lie about the source of their income or to launder the money to get housing assistance.

Harshbarger will look at ACORN’s housing program, tax preparation program and other public service work, such as screening for benefits like food stamps.

He said he will determine whether ACORN’s problems represent patterns and practices or are isolated cases.


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