B12 Solipsism

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Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors Charged With Fraud

with 3 comments

For the fun news of the day – in all the GOP haste to smear ACORN based on the actions of a couple of rogue employees, the language of the bill does the one thing I had suggested in jest as an answer to an unrelated topic. Namely, be more harsh on corporations that break laws. Except in the actual bill as written and voted on, any crime charged to a corporation would bar it from feeding at the public trough. Ooopsie!

Early Morning Meditation

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who’s Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.

The language was written by the GOP and filed as a “motion to recommit” in the House, where it passed 345-75. It carried the Senate by an 83-7 margin.

POGO is reaching out to its members to identify other companies who have engaged in the type of misconduct that would make them ineligible for federal funds.

Grayson then intends to file that list in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

[Click to continue reading Whoops: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud]

Too funny.

Should We Be Concerned?
[Buzzards circling in a park probably built by Brown and Root, LBJ’s favorite defense contractor, now owned by Halliburton and/or KBR]

The Project On Government Oversight gives a little perspective:

Bear in mind that, since 1994, ACORN has reportedly received a total of $53 million in federal funds, or an average of roughly $3.5 million per year. In contrast, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman respectively received over $35 billion and $18 billion in federal contracts last year. (Their totals since 2000 are $266 billion for Lockheed and $125 billion for Northrop.)

Congress should clamp down on contractor fraud and waste, but it needs to keep a sense of proportion. If ACORN broke the law it, should be punished; however, Congress also needs to crack down just as rigorously on the contractors who take an even larger share of taxpayers’ money and have committed far more, or far more egregious, acts of misconduc

[Click to continue reading The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Blog]

late update: one of the ACORN employees caught on tape, Juan Carlos Vera, actually reported the incident to the police. The police said they would need more information.

Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later. The detective consulted another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.

The ACORN employee responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and he had been duped.

[Click to continue reading Police: ACORN worker in video reported couple – Yahoo! News]

Still was fired, and made the butt of a thousand jokes on Fox News…

Written by Seth Anderson

September 22nd, 2009 at 2:50 pm

3 Responses to 'Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors Charged With Fraud'

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  1. You seem to take special delight in the misbehavior of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman as though they were arms of the Republican Party. They are not, and both have long given generous donations to both Democrats and Republicans. I admit that I do share your gladness, however, but for a slightly different reason: I’m always happy when crooks get caught, regardless of their politics. I, ah, assume you feel that way about ACORN?

    Tom Mannis

    22 Sep 09 at 8:55 pm

  2. sure, I think every corporation that is found guilty of breaking laws should have their corporate charter revoked, and their assets sold to the highest bidder. There might be a little churn at first, but soon new corporations will emerge that aren’t law breakers, at least as brazenly. Of course, this is an unworkable solution, but hey, why not? The amounts of federal dollars that ACORN receives seems small in comparison to ADM or Lockheed Martin, but ACORN happens to be the target of GOP wrath.

    And I don’t consider myself a Democrat either, for the record. Corporate-sponsored congress-critters of either party are no friends of mine. Just because a defense contractor donates large amounts of cash to a bipartisan group doesn’t mean the said corporation should be exempt from following rules and regulations. The defense industry has been around in its present form for many years when the Democratic Party controlled the budget: no doubt their lobbyists are well connected.

    Seth Anderson

    22 Sep 09 at 10:29 pm

  3. I appreciate the dedication you add into your weblog. I wish I’d similar drive 🙂

    Northern Virginian

    12 Jul 10 at 10:19 pm

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