Sherrod Brown, Senator from Ohio, has been named along with former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in a report on ACORN issued by Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (heads-up from Right Ohio). The report alleges that ACORN, a recipient of taxpayer money, donated money and personnel to promote a partisan political agenda in violation of many tax and election laws. An ACORN spokeswoman dismissed the report as a partisan screed, but Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking GOP member on the House committee, said the following:
“We stand by the findings of the report … There are a lot of legitimate questions raised about the political activities and organizational structure of ACORN. We’d certainly like to have a venue and platform for ACORN to respond to our report. … It is outrageous that ACORN will be rewarded for its criminal acts by taxpayer money in the stimulus and is being asked to help with the U.S. census. This report shines a light on clear criminal conduct and it is abundantly clear that they cannot and should not be trusted with taxpayer dollars.”
We all know the story on ACORN – at the very least, the labyrinthine network of shell companies and groups seems a little suspicious. And there’s no doubt that ACORN is a partisan outfit, which is one of the reasons it’s troubling they’re going to “help out” with the 2010 Census. Indeed, just two months ago charges were filed against the Nevada branch of ACORN, and it’s my belief that there’s a lot more to this organization than meets the eye.
I’m a little shocked but not completely surprised by the linkage of Sen. Sherrod Brown to ACORN. Described glowingly in liberal circles as an “unabashed progressive” concerned with “social justice,” Brown’s views undoubtedly jive quite nicely with those of ACORN. I don’t know if Brown or his staff are guilty of any wrongdoing, and at this point it would be premature to speculate. I don’t believe they are, but any hint of a connection with such a shady organization casts a pall over any who are tied to it.