New Orleans Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the ranking Republican on the U.S. House Committee on Governmental Reform and Oversight. Wanting to make a splash and get in the press at the annual gathering of the right wing at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), Issa seems to have come up with a 60+ page screed. The “staff report” was called: Follow the Money: ACORN, SEIU, and their Political Allies. Just from the title it seems to be neo-McCarthyism in full flower.
Several conservative bloggers sent me the link to give me a heads up yesterday. From the executive summary (which is as far as I’ve gotten) it appears that Issa has two issues:
- ACORN and its family of organizations involved way too many corporations to make Issa’s staff happy. I’m not sure exactly what the issue there is or what might have been wrong with having a lot of different corporate entities to handle different kinds of business? It’s actually pretty common practice with most large outfits to keep property holdings in separate corporations and to limit liabilities within various corporate missions. I guess being in government and all, the Congressman and his staff find it unsettling, but…yawn…so what?
- The other issue he seems to have is that ACORN’s low and moderate income families wanted to use the organization to build power. ACORN was a straight non-profit with no special tax status or privileges (the first Issa staff report got that wrong, so maybe they’ve learned something here). ACORN was always very transparent about the fact that its members wanted to organize together to build enough power to actually solve some issues and make a difference in their communities, cities, states, and country. Nothing to apologize for there as far as I can see, and with freedom of speech and freedom of association in the USA, I’m not sure what the beef might be?
The Washington Examiner tried to help me by laying out Issa’s real interest:
“The ranking Republican on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, who speaks at CPAC today, asserts that a judicial decision blocking Congress’s efforts to stop funding ACORN amounts to a new bailout, because ACORN is currently on the precipice financially. Meanwhile, even as it continues to draw down the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollar, ACORN’s affairs remain a shadowy mess of mixed private, non-profit and government money characterized by collusion between various organizations.”
For the life of me, I’ve read those sentences a couple of times, and I’m still not sure that I get it. But, I’m guessing that Issa is arguing that because a federal judge ruled that the defunding of ACORN was illegal (thwarting the will of Congress for trying an illegal bill of attainder), he’s upset because some of his buddies and informants (the Louisiana Attorney General’s office seems to have a lot of loose lips) have told him that they think ACORN is on the edge of insolvency, and despite having been jammed up by a federal judge for illegal activity, Issa is disappointed because he may have been so close to his goal of putting ACORN out of business that now he’s upset that he may not have succeeded. Is that the drift?
So while he waits to see if he and others have succeeded in the original smear and subterfuge, he thought he would go down to the CPAC meeting with the rest of the heavy breathing haters and throw out some more innuendos, allegations, unfounded asserts, mud and general garbage. All in a day’s work for an esteemed member of Congress, eh? And, they wonder why the public has nothing but contempt for Congress in every poll taken these days?