On Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson -- discussing the Justice Department's appeal of a federal court decision that lifted a ban on federal funding to ACORN -- falsely claimed that videos of ACORN employees released by conservative activists exposed "illegal activity" by ACORN. In fact, an independent investigation of the videos found that "[t]here is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers"; moreover, DOJ's appeal does not allege that ACORN employees shown in the videos engaged in any "illegal activity."
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Ignoring results of inquiry, Carlson claimed "illegal activity" by ACORN was "exposed in these undercover videos"
From the December 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: The Justice Department says ACORN -- some of its illegal activity exposed in these undercover videos -- should be denied federal funding. A judge ruled it was unconstitutional for Congress to use the funding issue as punishment, but the Justice Department wants a review now, saying ACORN lost its money because it's an organizational nightmare.
Independent review found "no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers." In his December 7 "Independent Governance Assessment of ACORN," former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger (D), who was hired by ACORN to conduct an inquiry in part into the videos, wrote:
While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers. Instead, the videos represent the byproduct of ACORN's longstanding management weaknesses, including a lack of training, a lack of procedures, and a lack of on-site supervision.
DOJ appeal of funding ban on ACORN does not allege videos show "illegal activity." In an appeal filed December 17 asking a federal court in New York to review a decision that lifted a congressional ban on federal funding to ACORN, the Department of Justice noted Harshbarger's assessment of ACORN's "longstanding management weaknesses" and "internal potential for fraud" as a basis for the appeal; DOJ's appeal did not allege that ACORN employees shown in the videos engaged in any "illegal activity," as Carlson suggested.
Politico: DOJ using Harshbarger's report "to try to restore a funding ban." A December 17 Politico article noted that Harshbarger's "report about ACORN, paid for by the group, generally absolved it of any illegality, but said the group's leaders 'failed to commit the group to the basic, appropriate standards of governance and accountability' -- the very language the Justice Department is now using to try to restore a funding ban."
Fox & Friends previously falsely claimed ACORN video showed "unlawful actions"
Fox & Friends graphic: Philadelphia ACORN video "shows unlawful actions." On the October 22 edition of Fox & Friends, during a discussion of a video released by conservative activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles at the Philadelphia ACORN office, Fox aired on-screen text reading, "Exposing ACORN; New video shows unlawful actions." In fact, there was no evidence in the video that any worker in the Philadelphia office engaged in "unlawful actions." Moreover, ACORN released a Philadelphia police report stating that an ACORN employee complained to police that O'Keefe had created a "verbal disturbance" at ACORN's office.