WASHINGTON, D.C. – Treasury Department Inspector General J. Russell George agreed to comply with a request submitted by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) to conduct a review of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and of the IRS’s oversight of nonprofit organizations.
“I am heartened by the agreement of the Treasury Department’s Inspector General to examine the troubling financial questions that have been raised about ACORN,” said Senator Collins. “This is the first step in the right direction toward much-needed transparency. As I’ve noted before, at a time when so many American families are facing difficult economic situations, it is completely unacceptable that even one penny of taxpayer money be misused. We must bring all agencies and groups that use taxpayer funds into the spotlight of accountability.”
Said Rep. Issa: “The lack of an appropriate firewall between ACORN’s charitable activities and its political arm has raised significant questions regarding the appropriateness of their status as a taxable nonprofit corporation and their management of federal dollars. Cutting ties with ACORN is a good first step for the federal government, but since they have been the recipients of taxpayer dollars, we have an obligation to investigate to discover whether or not those dollars were misused in anyway.”
Last week, Senator Collins and Rep. Issa made a formal joint request that seven Offices of Inspectors General, including Treasury, probe the activities of ACORN, a community advocacy organization.
The lawmakers asked that the Inspectors General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), “review grants, contracts, entitlements and other forms of assistance to ACORN and its affiliates.” The other IGs asked to investigate were: The Federal Election Commission, the Department of Labor and the Election Assistance Commission.
Senator Collins joined Rep. Issa in the urgent, multi-faceted request to the seven IGs. “We are asking investigators to examine federal grants, contracts and assistance awarded to ACORN and its affiliates, to review whether ACORN and its affiliates have complied with our tax laws, and to determine whether an appropriate level of federal oversight was in place to begin with,” she said.