Acorn Twisting in the Wind
By JOHN FUND in WSJ Online
It was a bad news day yesterday for the community organizers at Acorn, now caught up in Day 15 of a burgeoning scandal that has seen the group condemned by Congress and its financial records subpoenaed by Louisiana’s Democratic attorney general.
Last night, the Internal Revenue Service severed its ties with Acorn, which had been an IRS partner in providing low-income workers with tax preparation assistance.
But the real body blow came when Rep. Barney Frank abruptly threw Acorn under the bus, telling Fox News: “I think they have forfeited their right to get [federal] funds.”
Mr. Frank said he had been incorrectly quoted previously as saying he would have voted against a motion last week cutting off the group’s access to the federal gravy train. He couldn’t resist a partisan jab, however, noting that Acorn had received $14.2 million in federal housing funds during the Bush administration — a fair point.
Mr. Frank also appeared unsympathetic to Acorn’s latest attempt to change the subject, a lawsuit filed yesterday against two filmmakers who had videotaped Acorn employees in several cities offering tax evasion advice to a supposed prostitution ring. The suit alleges the filmmakers and news site Breitbart.com violated a local law banning unauthorized taping of individuals. Legal analysts largely panned the case, noting that Acorn had filed the lawsuit jointly with two former Maryland Acorn employees who had previously been fired for the behavior caught on the videotape
Mr. Frank had no comment on the merits of the suit, but did offer this pithy summary: “People have said, ‘Well, the sting [against Acorn] is terrible.’ I will tell people there is a great defense against being stung. Don’t do the kind of things that put you on television.”
(The above statements reported by John Fund were made in an interview with Bill O’Reilly.)