Fox & Friends promoted the claim that "ACORN" -- which no longer exists -- had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding, despite the fact that a federal report noted last month that the amount in question actually had not been spent. Fox & Friends backed away from the claim later in the same show by reading a statement from a federal spokesman pointing out the money had been "de-obligated and recovered."
Fox & Friends Claimed $461,086 "Actually Went" To ACORN
Doocy: "That Would Be Outrageous, Because They Weren't Supposed To Get That." From the July 13 edition of Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Last week we told you about -- remember ACORN was defunded. That meant the federal government would no longer give them any money after that big scandal with the undercover shady pictures and stuff like that. Then we told you that apparently, they had gotten $80,000 in this past year, and that would be an eye-opener --
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Outrageous!
DOOCY: That would be outrageous, because they weren't supposed to get that.
KILMEADE: Does it get worse?
DOOCY: Yes, because that number -- way low.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): Well, apparently it's $461,086, the amount of money that actually went -- if you go to USASpending dot -- is it dot-org? Anyway, and they have a new name, so maybe that's part of the way in which this happened. It's the Affordable Housing Centers of America now, AHCOA. There it is right there.
KILMEADE: But I thought it was illegal to give this group money after the scandal that was proven.
DOOCY: It is. And so they cut the check to -- even though they did change their name last year, they cut the check to Acorn Housing Inc., and the headquarters is down in New Orleans, the same place where they have been the HQ for their -- what is it, 350 affiliates across the country. So, what gives? We do know that ACORN is gearing up to help the president with his re-election.
CARLSON: But, see, if somebody's not watching over this -- I mean, Congress voted to defund them. So if somebody's not watching over this, then you have to wonder how much other money we're wasting. I mean, this is half a million dollars. So how many other places are we just having waste and fraud? And then you wonder about the debt problems that we're in. Anyway, it's USASpending.gov if you want to take a look at it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/13/11]
But GAO Had Reported That The Money Was "Not Expended"
GAO: "The Grant Was Closed With A Balance Of $461,086 Not Expended." A June 17 report by the Government Accountability Office identifying federal funding to "ACORN or potentially related organizations" noted a $527,000 grant awarded to ACORN Housing Corp. by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A footnote continues: "The grant was closed with a balance of $461,086 not expended before the expenditure deadline." [GAO.gov, "ACORN: Federal Funding and Monitoring," 6/17/11, accessed 7/13/11]
ACORN No Longer Exists, Having Filed For Bankruptcy and Clos[ed] Up Shop." From a post on the CNN blog Political Ticker:
ACORN, the community group from which a mighty oak of political controversy grew, announced it is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by the close of business Tuesday. In March, it began bringing its national operations to a close.
"For over 40 years ACORN has fought the good fight," said CEO Bertha Lewis, today, in a statement on the group's website. "The ongoing political onslaught caused irreparable harm."
Filing for Chapter 7 means liquidating and selling off all remaining assets and closing up shop. [Political Ticker, CNN.com, 11/2/10]
GAO: Successor Organization To ACORN Housing Corp. "Is Not An Affiliate, Subsidiary, Or Allied Organization Of ACORN." From a September 2010 letter from Lynn H. Gibson, then the GAO's acting general counsel, to NeighborWorks, which had inquired whether it was "barred from granting federal funds to AHCOA":
This letter responds to your request for our views on whether NeighborWorks's appropriations are available for grants to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA). Letter from General Counsel, NeighborWorks, to Acting General Counsel, GAO, Re: Request for an Appropriations Decision, related to funding Affordable Housing Centers of America (formerly known as ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc.), Aug. 2, 2010 (Request Letter). Specifically, you asked whether NeighborWorks is barred from granting federal funds to AHCOA under section 418 of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010: "None of the funds made available under this Act or any prior Act may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations." Pub. L. No. 111-117, div. A, title IV, 123 Stat. 3034, 3112 (Dec. 16, 2009). After reviewing the record, it is our view that AHCOA, as presently configured, does not fall with in the scope of section 418 because it is not an affiliate, subsidiary, or allied organization of ACORN.
In reaching our conclusion, we developed our record by soliciting and receiving factual information and legal views from NeighborWorks, AHCOA, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Because section 418 applies to HUD's appropriations as well, HUD previously addressed the applicability of the prohibition to AHCOA. HUD determined that AHCOA is not an affiliate, subsidiary, or allied organization of ACORN. We also reviewed AHCOA's consolidated financial statements and a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding AHCOA's tax-exempt status. [Government Accountability Office, "NeighborWorks America -- Availability of Appropriations for Grants to Affordable Housing Centers of America," 9/29/10]
Fox & Friends Backs Down After Reading Statement From HUD Spokesman
Carlson: "Now We Know That, In Fact, The Process Is Working." From the July 13 edition of Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: This morning we told you a little bit about how, you know, ACORN was defunded by Congress. They weren't supposed to end up with anymore money, but because they received so much money through so many years, as it turns out, and we're now learning, sometimes, if money is authorized years ago, it's hard to turn off the money spigot.
CARLSON: So apparently, we reported earlier that they were still going to get 400 and some thousand dollars, even though they've changed their name from ACORN to the housing -- whatever they're called. But now apparently, in that column, when you go to that website, that is the money that now they're taking back away from them. It's from a 2005 grant listed here.
So in fact, here's the statement from HUD: "There was no January 2011 $461,000 HUD grant or sub-grant to ACORN Housing Corp. The January action on USASpending.gov represents the unexpended balance on a grant in 2005 to ACORN Housing Corp. several years before the congressional prohibition. This amount was de-obligated and recovered, and the process was recorded in USA Spending as completed in January 2011."
So that's very good news, because earlier we were assuming that that was then just a part of the waste we see so much on Capitol Hill, and now we know that, in fact, the process is working.
DOOCY: Who writes a press release where it says "de-obligated"? There's got to be an easier word.
GRETCHEN: It's legalese. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/13/11]
Breitbart Website Also Touted Claim While Ignoring GAO Report
Big Government: "I Discovered Obama's Department Of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Gave ACORN Another $461,086 In January." From a July 11 post on the Andrew Breitbart-operated website BigGovernment.com:
Remember that story from a few days ago, the one about the Obama administration giving ACORN a $79,819 grant in March despite a federal law that prohibits the government from giving money to ACORN?
It turns out that sum is a lowball figure.
I discovered Obama's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave ACORN another $461,086 in January. The funds were earmarked for ACORN Housing Corp. in January under HUD's Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), according to the government website USAspending.gov.
In order words, the Obama administration gave fraud-ridden ACORN nearly a half million dollars to be used on housing development.
The administration isn't even trying to conceal the fact that it gave this money to ACORN.
USAspending.gov identifies the recipient as "ACORN Housing Corporation Inc." even though that nonprofit entity filed papers last year legally changing its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA). [BigGovernment.com, 7/11/11]