The Deepening Injustice and Illegality of Congressional Anti-ACORN Bans

ACORN Financial Justice Ideas and Issues Organizing

piccongress3New Orleans   The original Congressional budget ban on “ACORN, its affiliates, and allied organizations” continues to be renewed annually in different ways by the eager beaver hater brigade in Congress, and was done so again recently, reportedly for the thirteenth time since 2009.   I decided to take a list at the 2009 original ban list and the most recent one, and at the same time read the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision almost exactly three years ago in August 2010 that upheld ACORN’s standing to sue and remanded that part of the case rejecting the government’s appeal and denying ACORN’s claims that an unconstitutional “bill of attainder” had illegally punished them.

            The Appeals Court made it clear by my reckoning that had ACORN, its affiliates, and allied organizations sued on the grounds that they had been defamed and that the overbroad “banning” had been discriminatory, then the case had merit.   For example, the Appeals Court condemned the fact that agencies were preemptively barring funding in places where none of the “banned” group had ever applied as being punitive virtually by definition.   Yet, the most recent 2013 Congressional shunning was an amendment on a military and Defense Department budget item, where trust me, no one had ever applied.  Clearly illegal! 

            Furthermore the Huffington Post story found that all of this is just standard, across the board procedure regardless of the Court’s instructions:

Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for the GOP majority on the House Appropriations Committee… has repeatedly told HuffPost that the defunding of ACORN is a “standard provision” that goes into most appropriations bills.

            Worst, there’s a virus spreading.   Where the Appeals Court had turned gymnastics trying to argue that the ban was not overly broad in 2009, the newest iterations have gone past “allied” to include “successors.”   Looking at the recent list, I was surprised to see a dozen or more new organizations named, none of which were incorporated or existed in 2009 or at the time of this litigation.   This could be the witch’s curse of the Republican right, where from now on, anyone or anything they don’t like or agree with can simply be tacked on to the “standard” defunding bill.  The list always included bizarre outliers like the Service Employees International Union (oh, yes, they are still on the banned list), John Podesta’s think tank, which gets a boatload of federal money, and now includes many of the rebranded state based organizations formed after the plug was pulled on ACORN in 2010.  There are even some new amendments that include ex post facto bans on funding any of these alleged co-conspirators for money they might have received in the past, and every school child knows such laws trying to punish before the law was even passed are decidedly unconstitutional. 

            Lawyers speak of actions that are “chilling,” meaning that they prevent people from even legal activities, speech, and actions because they fear unjust punishment and retribution, even if unfounded and ungrounded.   This is the McCarthyism still evergreen in such Congressional actions.

            I’m not lying.  I’m looking for a lawyer to set some pants on fire.   You only stop bullies by fighting back, and enough is enough for me.