ACORN CEO Doubts Congress Will Defund ACORN ‘Because We Actually Do The Right Thing’
October 8, 2009Bertha Lewis, CEO of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) said she doubts Congress will not defund her organization.
The House of Representatives has already overwhelmingly approved an amendment to deny ACORN all federal funding and the Senate has overwhelmingly approved two amendments--one that would deny ACORN any funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and another that would deny ACORN any funding through the Department of Interior.
“We didn’t have government funding for years,” Lewis said. “We may not have government funding in the future. I doubt it, because we actually do the right thing and perform. But if we don’t [have government funding], ACORN will still go on with its member and its donors.”
Lewis was answering a question submitted by CNSNews.com at an event held October 6 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
The movement in Congress to prohibit funding of ACORN came after a series of hidden-camera videos were posted last month on www.biggovernment.com. The videos show James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles posing as a pimp and prostitute at various ACORN offices. In the videos, O’Keefe and Giles get advice from ACORN employees about how to prepare tax documents that hide prostitution proceeds and the employment of teenage Latin American girls as prostitutes.
After the videos appeared, the Senate voted 83-7 on Sept. 14 for an amendment that would prohibit ACORN from receiving grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. On Sept. 17, the Senate voted 85-11 for another amenmdent that would prohibit ACORN from receiving federal money through the Department of Interior. Also on Sept. 17, the House voted 345-75 for an amendment to deny all federal funding to ACORN.
For any of these amendments to become law, it would need to be approved by the other congressional chamber and signed by President Obama.
The New York Times reported on September 18 that ACORN had received $53 million in federal funding since 1994. Lewis said at the National Press Club on Tuesday that she estimated the group received about 10 percent of its $20-$25 million annual budget from the government.
“Our average budget may have been between 20 and 25 million dollars a year for everything, all of the offices combined,” said Lewis. “So you look at about 10 percent of our budget, yes, we would like to provide those services because we actually got results for tens of thousands of people, results from getting funded from competitive grants.
“But if we lose that money as long as there is one ACORN member who is willing to have a meeting in their house or one church that allows us to have a meeting in their basement, we will go on,” she said.
“We didn’t have government funding for years. We may not have government funding in the future,” she said. “I doubt it, because we actually do the right thing and perform. But if we don’t ACORN will still go on with its member and its donors.”