Thursday, October 8, 2009

Politics as Usual | ACORN Scandal Fall-out

Film-makers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles try set up a sting operation to undermine ACORN and it eventually works:

This recent scam, which was attempted in San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia to name a few places, had failed for months before the results we’ve all recently seen.
-Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer, ACORN
Following the exposure:
H.R.3571 - Defund ACORN Act
Official Summary
Defund ACORN Act - Prohibits any federal contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other form of agreement from being awarded to, any federal funds in any other form from being provided to, or any federal employee or contractor from promoting any organization that:
(1) has been indicted for a violation under any federal or state law governing the financing of a campaign for election for public office or any law governing the administration of such an election, including a voter registration law;
(2) had its state corporate charter terminated due to its failure to comply with federal or state lobbying disclosure requirements;
(3) has filed a fraudulent form with any federal or state regulatory agency; or
(4) employs, has under contract, or retains to act on its behalf any individual who has been indicted for a violation under federal or state law relating to an election for federal or state office. Identifies, specifically, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and any affiliate as such an organization. Requires the Federal Acquisition Regulation to be revised to carry out provisions of this Act relating to contracts.
From Huffington Post
To his credit, Representative Alan Grayson, a rookie Democrat from Florida, out-thought and out-maneuvered all of his colleagues and quickly went to work with the Project of Government Oversight (POGO) to compile a list of contractors that "might be caught in the ACORN net."
Click here for that list
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. Sooo....

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) offered an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts to companies who prevent victims from filing lawsuits against sexual assault and harassment.

Franken proposed the amendment after hearing the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, who alleges that she was brutally raped while working a contractor for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq.

But Jones was unable to press charges in court because her defense contract stipulated that any such allegations can only be heard in private arbitration.

Franken’s amendment, which passed 68-30, received the support of 10 Republican senators. However, most Republicans opposed the amendment because it went against the wishes of the Defense Department, and argued it gave Congress too much influence in altering defense contracts.

Republicans point out that the amendment was opposed by a host of business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and applies to a wide range of companies, including IBM and Boeing.

The End

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