ACORN Loses Federal Funding

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

For conservatives, the most recent controversy surrounding the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) represents a validation of their many critiques of the group.

For years there have been allegations that ACORN has been committing voter fraud and other abuses with the use of taxpayer money. James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, in disguise as a pimp and his prostitute, were able to add merit to these allegations by catching ACORN employees in the act of trying to help the two disguise their “business” and avoid taxes. They caught ACORN employees on more than one occasion and at multiple locations – Brooklyn, Baltimore, Washington and California – proving the problem was systemic to ACORN rather than extraordinary.

In a time of tension between Republicans and Democrats, both came together quickly in the U.S. Senate to pass the measure restricting all federal funding to the group. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ordered all state funds going to the group frozen until a review of the organization had been completed, as a direct result of O’Keefe and Giles’ successful findings.

ACORN left Oklahoma not long ago and it does not appear the state has funded the organization, I am proud to say. I commend the federal government for taking quick and bipartisan action to freeze ACORN funding in light of the damning evidence that O’Keefe and Giles were able to uncover. Unfortunately, while conservatives have been onto the group for years, many liberal and moderate lawmakers have defended ACORN. Now, they will likely suffer politically for their decision. Allegations of fraud should never be taken lightly.

I would also like to comment on President Barack Obama’s involvement. He has yet to really rebuke ACORN. He was asked about it in several interviews and brushed it off. They were scheduled to help with the 2010 census, and he has not yet put the stop to that. His economic stimulus made $5.2 billion available to ACORN and similar organizations. They will hopefully not be involved in the census – it’s much too important to trust to them.

Hopefully, ACORN’s actions will make Americans more skeptical of such organizations and lawmakers more careful in how they spend taxpayer dollars and where they lend their support.

If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at my office at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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