ACORN Gets Another $350,000 In American Taxpayers’ Money

Documents released this month by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development show that ACORN affiliate Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) received over $350,000 in Pennsylvania despite a Congressional ban on funding the organization.  According to a HUD press release, AHCOA received $350,030.64 “to provide counseling assistance relating to mortgage modification, avoiding potential mortgage scams, and assisting victims of scams.”  This comes on the heels of last week’s revelation that AHCOA received $300,000 from HUD in August and an earlier report that AHCOA received almost $80,000 in April.

The Daily Caller’s coverage of FTJ’s efforts at exposing AHCOA and ACORN were covered in a story last week describing HUD’s award of $300,000 and a story today describing the $350,000 award.

In late 2009 Congress prohibited the government from funding ACORN or any ACORN affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations.  Not surprisingly, records recently uncovered from the Louisiana Secretary of State show that on January 8, 2010, ACORN simply changed its name to AHCOA.  HUD’s own press release removes any doubt that the Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) is not distinct from ACORN Housing by stating, “Since 1985, Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA) has been providing housing counseling services to low and moderate and minority communities and fighting housing discrimination.”

The name-change trick apparently worked, because in a September 29, 2010 report, the U.S. Governmental Accountability Office found that AHCOA was not, “as presently configured. . . an affiliate, subsidiary, or allied organization of ACORN,” thus allowing ACORN/AHCOA to continue receiving federal funding.

If Congress does not ask the GAO to review its decision by September 29, 2011, the GAO’s funding determination will become unreviewable.

Freedom Through Justice Foundation Executive Director stated:

It is obvious that the President and his Housing and Urban Development Department are completely ignoring the will of Congress.  Despite clear evidence that ACORN merely changed their name to AHCOA, HUD continues to disingenuously maintain that AHCOA is not an affiliate of ACORN.  HUD’s September 2, 2011 grant is the latest instance of the American taxpayers’ money being improperly steered to an entity with a history of financial mismanagement and corrupt election activities.  In just the past year, AHCOA’s receipts from HUD have gone from $80,000 to $300,000 to $350,000; it’s a matter of time before AHCOA is receiving several million dollars per year of taxpayer dollars.

The Freedom Through Justice Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest firm that uses public policy and legal reform strategies to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote social and economic freedoms.  Follow the Foundation via Twitter: @FTJFoundation.

HUD Awards $300,000 Of Your Tax Dollars To ACORN Rebranded Affiliate

Award Made After Recent House Appropriations Resolution Specifically Banned Federal Funds To AHCOA

The Freedom Through Justice Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group, has found that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) gave $300,000 on August 11, 2011 to the Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA), which until last year, was ACORN-affiliate ACORN Housing Corporation. HUD believes that AHCOA is not an ACORN-affiliate and relied on a September 29, 2010 U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) determination that the Affordable Housing Centers of America is not an affiliate or related organization of ACORN. Congress has until September 29, 2011 to appeal this decision before it becomes unreviewable. Last week, the Freedom Through Justice Foundation wrote to NeighborWorks America concerning the importance of its publicly releasing an audit report that may present definitive evidence that AHCOA and ACORN are, in fact, affiliated. The fact that NeighborWorks, in its recent announcement of National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (“NFMC”) grant recipients, chose not to fund the previously funded AHCOA, combined with the fact that the June 14, 2011 GAO final report on ACORN’s federal funding cited a report written by the NeighborWorks Office of Special Audit concerning the financial relationship between AHCOA and ACORN, raises the inference that the Office of Special Audit report found AHCOA to be an affiliate or related organization of ACORN. (NeighborWorks, Office of Internal Audit, Special Audit on the Use of National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program Grant Funds by ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc. (Washington, D.C., 2010)). The Office of Inspector General at HUD has already targeted AHCOA as an organization which mismanaged taxpayer dollars and a recent Homeland Security appropriations resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives specifically identifies the Affordable Housing Centers of America as an ACORN affiliate that should be barred from federal funding.

Cause of Action Investigates Department of Energy Grants

Cause of Action filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with the Department of Energy in an effort to learn how the Department awards grants. In its request, Cause of Action attorneys noted that since 2009 the DOE has committed over $36 billion in financing for loans or loan guarantees, and information recently learned about the Solyndra affair has raised concern over how those grants were awarded:

In addition to Solyndra, several other companies have received billions of dollars in loan guarantees from DOE to build renewable energy infrastructure. As with Solyndra, many individuals in key positions within these corporations have made political contributions to the President or the Democratic Party, raising the concern that these loan guarantees may have been granted through preferential treatment or undue influence – and therefore not to stimulate shovel-ready jobs.

Cause of Action believes the public has a right to understand how and why its tax-dollars are being spent.

Read the FOIA requests.

Image courtesy of Flickr user zackgrahamEE.