Pelican Institute for Public Policy, the premier think-tank in Louisiana, uncovered evidence last week that proves that the far-Left activism group, ACORN, and several “closely-related groups” owe more than $1 million in backed state and federal taxes. These findings, validated by Orleans Parish court records, also indicated that the organization “paid off more than $1.1 million in late bills since January of 2008.”
The organization, based in New Orleans, La. and operating in partnership with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has accounts delinquent since 2004, including one tax bill totaling $545,000. ACORN (Associations of Community Organizations for Reform) and its affiliate companies have outstanding federal tax liabilities of $1 million and four Louisiana tax bills of at least $28,000. In March 2008 alone, nearly $1.2 million in federal tax liens were filed against ACORN and its related groups with only some of them being cleared upon payment.
According to Pelican Institute for Public Policy’s report, Citizens Consulting, the accounting division of ACORN, owed the state of Louisiana more than $300,000 in unpaid taxes as recently as January 2009, the debts of which were paid just a few months ago. The think tank also maintains that ACORN has not paid withholding taxes for the state for “many quarters since the fall of 2002.”
Currently, some, but not all, member organizations of Team ACORN are tax-exempt non-profits, but the Louisiana policy institution asserts that “does not excuse them from paying payroll taxes, both the employer’s share and the amounts withheld from an employee’s check.”
During the course of just four years spanning from 2002 to 2006, ACORN was the beneficiary of more than $5.4 million grants from the U.S. federal government, who channeled funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Even ACORN’s own legal representation admits the “confederation of corporations may lack the internal financial controls to ensure that money granted to one group isn’t shared with another.”
Now, disgruntled former board members of the liberal activism non-profit have joined with ACORN adversaries and Congressional leadership to demand an audit of ACORN and its partners, which would accompany a state probe recently started by the office of the Louisiana Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell.
“ACORN is clearly a partisan organization and their work should be funded by supporters, not taxpayers,” said Pelican Institute president Kevin Kane. “Their failure to pay taxes adds insult to injury. It is time for legislators and regulators to take a closer look at this organization.”
Many Americans might find it hard to comprehend how ACORN would be unable to pay their taxes, especially after they received more than $53 million in federal funds since 1989. This fact alone raises concerns as to the questionable priorities and ethics of a federal government that funnels taxpayer money to sponsor such an overtly-partisan operation.
ACORN, criticized as “radical” and employing “mob-like” tactics, brags that they are “the nation’s largest grassroots movement, with more than 400,000 members in 110 cities.” Important to note: Americans for Prosperity, a free-market grassroots advocacy non-profit, has more than 700,000 members throughout all 50 states. ACORN says that their membership is made up of “low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities.”
ACORN has been scrutinized for their behavior on the national stage, with repeated allegations of the group conducting voter-registration fraud in 12 states across the country. Pelican Institute for Public Policy asserts that these incidents, facilitated by ACORN’s Project Vote program, “essentially ran a thinly-veiled effort to push Democratic candidates and recruit new dues-paying ACORN members.” While several employees have been arrested for fraud, the organization itself has never been formally charged with committing a crime.
Elizabeth Kingsley, legal counsel for ACORN, admitted in an October 2008 article in the New York Times that it would be impossible to ignore the “tight relationship between Project Vote and ACORN” in documenting that “Project Vote’s money had been used in a strictly nonpartisan manner.” Before the public became aware of this embezzlement scandal, the Project Vote board was staffed with employees and members of ACORN.
“Ms. Kingsley’s report raised concerns not only about a lack of documentation to demonstrate that no charitable money was used for political activities but also about which organization controlled strategic decisions,” Beatty added.
Today, ACORN is spending its time (and money) promoting President Obama’s health care reform agenda, working in cooperation with groups like the SEIU, Organizing for America and moveon.org to hold rallies across the country to express support for his public option plan. Their staff and members pack town halls in every state, sporting ACORN t-shirts and exhibiting aggressive behavior at the events.
Like the SEIU, who faces more than $500 million in debts, ACORN sees financial woes as no obstacle, and instead, focus their efforts in both money and manpower to rally support for President Obama. Nagging tax pains will not distract these liberal activism groups from vocalizing their support for the public option, and embarrassment from public criticism of their behavior do not seem to faze them. Now, they must wait with baited breath for their efforts to elect President Obama to be met with generous reciprocation.