On Monday, the U.S. Congress voted by an overwhelming majority (83-7) to strip the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) of federal funding. The move comes a week after Fox News began airing secretly recorded footage that exposed employees at four ACORN offices (Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and San Bernardino) recommending some unique better business practices to independent journalists posing as sex workers.
“It is evident that ACORN is incapable of using federal funds in a manner that is consistent with the law,” Republican House Minority leader John Boehner told the president. “Simply put, ACORN should not receive another penny of American taxpayers’ money.”
The supposed sex workers were actually two undercover conservative activists, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, who write for the recently launched website BigGovernment.com.
“James and I saw the ACORN Housing location in Baltimore as a target — the den of a giant corrupt lion. We wanted to get a reaction and gauge the corruption,” Giles wrote on the site.
Fox News aired the hidden camera footage extensively last week. The recent Congressional vote marks the third time this month that a news story hyped by Fox News has provoked a response from the government. Two members of the Obama Administration, Van Jones and Yosi Sargent, were released from their posts last week after being heavily targeted by Fox News pundit Glenn Beck.
ACORN made headlines during the 2008 Presidential election, when they endorsed Barack Obama. Republicans, including John McCain, accused ACORN of “massive voter fraud,” and tried to use Obama’s past history with the group to sully his reputation.
Biggovernment.com is the latest venture from Andrew Breitbart, a conservative commentator who rose to prominence as a contributor for The Drudge Report. Breitbart, who graduated from Tulane University in 1991, also operates BigHollywood.com, a site that serves as a forum for Hollywood’s underground conservatives.
Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer for ACORN, told Politico that he plans to file a lawsuit in Baltimore against O’Keefe and Giles that would “probably” also include Breitbart.com and Fox News.
Dan Rodricks, writing for the Baltimore Sun , thinks that taking issue with the legality of the ACORN videos is “almost laughable in the current political climate.” He continues, “There do not seem to be any rules in this arena anymore. It’s pretty much anything goes out there.”