Morris uses boogeyman of nonexistent ACORN funds to solicit funds for GOP group
Research ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
In a fundraising email "[p]aid for by The National Republican Trust PAC," Dick Morris claimed that "the Democrats want to give almost $5 billion to groups like ACORN" in the recovery bill. In fact, the bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them.
In a February 6 fundraising email "[p]aid for by The National Republican Trust PAC" and sent to his mailing list, Fox News contributor Dick Morris claimed of the economic recovery plan: "Outrageously, the Democrats want to give almost $5 billion to groups like ACORN [the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now]. As you know, ACORN has been accused of massive vote fraud in many states." Morris added: "With billions in hand, ACORN will be able to register more Democratic voters. That's what this is all about." In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them. Morris' claim is based on a misrepresentation of a provision of the bill that would appropriate $4.19 billion "for neighborhood stabilization activities related to emergency assistance for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes as authorized under division B, title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008."
Morris also claimed ACORN has "been accused of massive vote fraud in many states," echoing a claim he made on the October 15, 2008, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, when he baselessly accused ACORN of "committing voter fraud." In fact, ACORN does not stand accused of "committing voter fraud." While ACORN has, according to The New York Times, "acknowledged cases where canvassers submitted false or duplicate registrations," many states require ACORN to submit all registration forms it receives. Moreover, New York University's Brennan Center for Justice stated in a 2007 report titled "The Truth About Voter Fraud" that voter fraud is "fraud by voters" and "occurs when individuals cast ballots despite knowing that they are ineligible to vote, in an attempt to defraud the election system." During the October 15, 2008, segment, and in his email, Morris did not cite a single allegation to support his assertion that ACORN has engaged in "voter fraud."
Media Matters also noted that in a February 3 email, Morris wrote that he "work[ed] with" the National Republican Trust PAC during the 2008 election. Morris wrote: "As I did during the election, I am working with the National Republican Trust to do what I can to stop this package from passing." But following questions raised by Media Matters regarding Morris' financial relationship with the group, in a November 24, 2008, appearance on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Morris said that "some of the liberals have lashed back at me, claiming that somehow I'm getting paid by this group, but the fact is that all they've done is buy ads on my website, like they buy ads in The New York Times." Morris insisted, "I'm no more in cahoots with them than The New York Times is."
Media Matters has previously documented other media figures making the false claim that ACORN would receive government money from the recovery bill, including CNN's Lou Dobbs, Fox News' Steve Doocy, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox Business Network's Elizabeth MacDonald. Media Matters also noted that The Washington Times, The Hill, and the San Francisco Chronicle repeated the falsehood.
From Morris' February 6 email: