War Over ACORN Escalates
Senate Democrats are firing back at Republican complaints that the majority is obstructing an investigation into the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, arguing that GOP concerns are a disingenuous.Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this week rejected a demand by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) and other Senate Republicans for an investigation into ACORN, arguing in part that it would distract lawmakers from the health care and other legislative debates.ACORN has been involved in a number of scandals, including allegations that its organizers engaged in voter fraud during the 2008 election. More recently, conservatives taped members of the group giving advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute on ways to hide their money and to defraud the government. ACORN has since filed a lawsuit against those responsible for the videotape. Meanwhile, the House and Senate have voted to bar the organization from receiving federal funding.Cornyn harshly criticized Reid’s decision Wednesday, arguing that Reid believes oversight is a selective responsibility. The NRSC subsequently issued a press release denouncing Reid’s decision. Reid is up for re-election next year in what is expected to be an extremely difficult race.Reid spokesman Rodell Mollineau went on the offensive Thursday, arguing that Reid is not blocking committee investigations. He accused Cornyn of hypocrisy, arguing the NRSC chairman didn’t back oversight of Bush-era issues including Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq.“Contrary to Sen. Cornyn’s misleading statement, Sen. Reid is not blocking Senate committees from investigating ACORN if they deem appropriate. In contrast, while our troops were left with inadequate equipment and the American taxpayers were being fleeced by war contractors, and while thousands of victims of Katrina suffered loss of life, livelihood and their homes, Sen. Cornyn turned a blind eye to these problems, voting numerous times against investigating the causes of these events,— Mollineau said.“Given how hard he fought to protect the Bush administration from oversight at the expense of our troops, taxpayers and Katrina victims, it is clear that his new-found interest in oversight is not real, but just another partisan ploy from the head of the Republican campaign committee,— he added.