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Obama To Pay ACORN Despite Congress

From an elated New York Times:

Justice Dept. Says Acorn Can Be Paid

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

November 28, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has concluded that the Obama administration can lawfully pay the community group Acorn for services provided under contracts signed before Congress enacted a law banning the government from providing funds to the group.

The department’s conclusion, laid out in a recently disclosed five-page memorandum from David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, adds a new wrinkle to a sharp political debate over the antipoverty group’s activities and recent efforts to distance the government from it.

Since 1994, Acorn, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has received about $53 million in federal aid, much of it grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for providing various services related to affordable housing.

But the group has become a prime target for conservative critics, and on Oct. 1, President Obama signed into law a spending bill that included a provision that said no taxpayer funds — including funds authorized by previous legislation — could be “provided to” the group or its affiliates.

A Housing and Urban Development lawyer asked the Justice Department whether the new law meant that pre-existing contracts with Acorn should be broken. But in a memorandum signed Oct. 23 and posted online this week, Mr. Barron said the government should continue to make payments to Acorn as required by such contracts.

The new law “should not be read as directing or authorizing HUD to breach a pre-existing binding contractual obligation to make payments to Acorn or its affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations where doing so would give rise to contractual liability,” Mr. Barron wrote.

The deputy director of national operations for Acorn, Brian Kettenring, praised Mr. Barron’s decision.

“We are pleased that commitments will be honored relative to Acorn’s work to help keep America’s working families facing foreclosure in their homes,” he said.

Mr. Barron said he had based his conclusion on the statute’s phrase “provided to.” This phrase, he said, has no clearly defined meaning in the realm of government spending — unlike such words as “obligate” and “expend.”

Citing dictionary and thesaurus entries, he said “provided to” could be interpreted as meaning only instances in which an official was making “discretionary choices” about whether to give the group money, rather than instances in which the transfer of funds to Acorn was required to satisfy existing contractual obligations.

Since there are two possible ways to construe the term “provided to,” Mr. Barron wrote, it makes sense to pick the interpretation that allows the government to avoid breaching contracts.

Moreover, he argued, requiring the government to abrogate existing contracts with a specifically named entity — “including even in cases where performance has already been completed but payment has not been rendered” — would raise constitutional concerns best avoided by interpreting the law differently.

The Constitution prohibits “bills of attainder” — legislation aimed at punishing specific people or groups. Acorn has filed a lawsuit arguing that the statute banning the government from providing it funds amounts to an unconstitutional bill of attainder…

Conservatives have long complained about Acorn’s voter drives in poor neighborhoods, citing instances in which workers fraudulently registered imaginary voters like “Mickey Mouse.” Acorn has argued that it is the real victim of such incidents, which its employees have often brought to the attention of the authorities.

Criticism of the group escalated last September, when two conservative activists made public footage they had recorded using secret cameras of Acorn workers in several cities. The activists had posed as a pimp and a prostitute seeking financial advice. Instead of raising objections, the Acorn employees counseled the couple on how to hide their illicit activities and avoid paying taxes.

Conservatives seized on the videos to further criticize the group, highlighting that the Obama campaign had paid an Acorn affiliate for get-out-the-vote efforts. Congress then enacted the ban on providing funds to it.

Acorn has fired the employees depicted in the videos.

Of course Mr. Obama is not going to let his army down.

In fact, he was willing to defy Congress and overturn legislation within weeks of signing it into law:

But in a memorandum signed Oct. 23 and posted online this week, Mr. Barron said the government should continue to make payments to Acorn as required by such contracts.

And notice how they waited until the day after Thanksgiving to let this news out.

These people  are thugs, but cowardly thugs. Just as the reporters at the New York Times are shameless liars:

Acorn has fired the employees depicted in the videos.

There is no way that ACORN has fired all of the people depicted in all of the undercover videos.

But The Times would like their readers to think they have.

Still, the real story here is how far the Justice Department is willing to go to torture the English language – and the meaning of the bill of attainder – to serve their master, Mr. Obama.

This is the way “justice departments” work under tin-horn dictators.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 27th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

14 Responses to “Obama To Pay ACORN Despite Congress”

  1. pdsand says:

    If it’s bad for liberals, it gets interpreted narrowly and its intent gets watered down. If it’s bad for conservatives, it gets interpreted as broadly as possible and its intent gets magnified. It’s all just words to these people.

  2. proreason says:

    Good. More fuel for the bonfires.

  3. U NO HOO says:

    “$53 million in federal aid”

    That money could be used to help support those who cannot support themselves in the mainstream of life.

    Oh, yeah, that is what the money did.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    OOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo my head.
    Where’s my booze, cigarettes and gun?
    (ATF)

  5. JohnMG says:

    How can anyone with a lick of sense read the above article without coming to the conclusion that we are living under an obviously racist administration bent on “stickin’ it to whitey”.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but in my mind, these clowns have set race relations back 50 years. If I was black I’d be pissed to think that the first black president was such a horse’s ass and a poster boy for every caricature of black ineptitude ever presented.

    My prediction? It’ll be a looooong time before America elects the SECOND black president!! Show me ANY country with black majority rule that isn’t completely FUBAR’d, and I’ll kiss your butt in the middle of main street at high noon. I’ll even give you an hour to draw a crowd of witnesses!

    • proreason says:

      White’s are now 65% opposed, and that’s climbing.

      But the home boys are stickin with him at 97%.

      Why’s that I wonder?

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Because the ignorant masses wants dat obamas monies!
      (scraping the ebonics off tongue with K-Bar)

  6. joeblough says:

    Just like they do it in Kenya and Indonesia.

  7. Rip Cord says:

    Ya gotta hand it to ObaMAO, he’s the most in your face President in history. I’ve never even seen a second term landslide President so arrogant. It will be interesting to see how the voters respond.

  8. platypus says:

    How long will it be before the bondholders and other contract beneficiaries of the Chrysler debacle seek to join the ACORN lawsuit as co-plaintiffs?

    Possibly there is a difference but I sure don’t see it. To me, it just looks like whether a group gets screwed by the government is determined by whether that group is “approved” or not.

    Time to bone up on the finer points of the Spanish Inquisition and the Star Chambers.

  9. Gila Monster says:

    “Acorn has argued that it is the real victim of such incidents, which its employees have often brought to the attention of the authorities.”

    Whew..!! The mind boggles over that one.
    ACORN is the “real victim” here? Hmmmm??….., I suppose they are…, just like “Freezer” Jefferson, Chucky Rangel, Al Sharptongue, the Jena Six, Tookie Williams, Crystal Mangum and Michael Jackson were also “victims”.

    So, if I have an uncontrollable bout of irony laughter over this, does that make me a bible-clinging, gun-owning, tea-bagging, global-warming-denying, narrow-minded, non-enlightened, racist b*st*rd?
    Wait……, don’t answer that……, I believe I know the answer to that one……

  10. Chuckk says:

    Change the name from ACORN, shuffle a few people around, and the problem is solved for the government.

    I wonder how many other similar organizations are out there and being funded by my tax money.


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