Tags: vitter | acorn | reid | funding

GOP's Vitter: Reid 'Thumbing His Nose' at Calls to Investigate ACORN

Thursday, 24 Sep 2009 07:26 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Sen. David Vitter tells Newsmax that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is "thumbing his nose" at the American people by refusing to push for stern action against scandal-plagued ACORN.

Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, also said the community organizing group's lawsuit against the young couple who took now infamous hidden-camera videos of ACORN staffers is a "slap in the face of the First Amendment."

See Video: Sen. David Vitter talks about his calls to defund scandal-plagued ACORN and save taxpayer money - Click Here Now

Vitter was elected to the U.S. House in 1999, then to the Senate in 2004, and he is up for re-election next year.

Newsmax.TV's Ashley Martella noted that Vitter has been "locking horns" with Democrat Reid over ACORN, the acronym for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Congress recently voted to cut off federal funds to the group after the videos came to light showing ACORN workers giving tax and other advice to the couple, who were posing as a prostitute and a pimp trying to open a brothel.

Martella asked: "What is it you're asking Reid to do that he refuses to do?"

The senator said: "I wrote the majority leader, Senator Reid, and said that he should ask every relevant Senate committee to hold investigations into this.

"ACORN receives tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on a regular basis, and certainly all of these news stories absolutely call for investigation and for action. And so I asked him to order the relevant Senate committees to initiate those investigations.

"He wrote back and basically said no, we're doing more important stuff. We can't waste our time on that, which I think is really thumbing his nose at the American people, who obviously share this concern about ACORN."

Martella asked, in light of "voter registration fraud and overall corruption," whether many Democrats still support ACORN.

"They do," said Vitter, a member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

"A lot of them have been forced to defund ACORN recently because of the horrible news reports. But just a few months ago when I was leading the charge on these same defunding measures, they voted against that. They voted to kill those defunding measures. It's just because of the pressure of these recent media reports that they've changed their tune.

"The question is, are they going to change back when nobody's looking — particularly when we go to pass the final versions of these spending bills?"

Since ACORN gets funding from many sources aside from the federal government, can it be put out of business by a vote in Congress to defund the group? Martella asked.

"First, the government is a big source, so if we make this stick in terms of all federal government funding, it will absolutely impact ACORN," Vitter responded.

"Number two, I'm about to produce an additional measure, which says that any financial institution which gets TARP funds can't contract with ACORN either.

"That is a huge source of their funding — big banks like Bank of America that have essentially been put over a barrel and forced into funding them."

ACORN is suing the young couple who took the videos with a hidden camera, contending that one video was recorded illegally under Maryland law, and also is suing the news Web site that first posted the videos. Martella asked whether the suit has merit.

"No, it doesn't. It's really a slap in the face of the First Amendment," Vitter declared.

"They're going on the attack against people's First Amendment rights simply because these folks made clear what ACORN is about, and what sort of gross abuse goes on — not just in a single office, but in multiple ACORN offices."

See Video: Sen. David Vitter talks about his calls to defund scandal-plagued ACORN and save taxpayer money - Click Here Now

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