To Democrats Who Voted to "Defund ACORN": Where's the Defund Blackwater Act?
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Republican Congressional leaders are continuing their witch-hunt against ACORN, the grassroots community group dedicated to helping poor and working class people. This campaign now unfortunately has gained bi-partisan legislative support in the form of the Defund ACORN Act of 2009, which has now passed the House and Senate. As Ryan Grim at Huffington Post has pointed out, the legislation "could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex:"
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.
According to the Project on Oversight and Government Reform, this legislation could potentially eliminate a virtual Who's Who of war contractors including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and KBR to other corporations such as AT&T, FedEx and Dell.
Perhaps one of the most jarring comparisons here is the fact that ACORN is now being attacked while the Obama administration continues to contract with Blackwater, the favorite mercenary company of the Bush administration, which is headed by Erik Prince, who was a major donor to Republican causes and campaigns, including those of some of the Defund ACORN bill's sponsors, including Indiana Republican Mike Pence, one of the key figures in hunting down Van Jones. Prince, of course, was recently described by a former employee as a man who "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."
At present Blackwater has a $217 million security contract through the State Department in Iraq which was just extended by the Obama administration indefinitely. It holds a $210 million State Department "security" contract in Afghanistan that runs through 2011 and another multi-million dollar contract with the Defense Department for "training" in Kabul. All of this is on top of Blackwater's clandestine work for the CIA, including continued work on the drone bombing campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This also does not take into account Blackwater's lucrative domestic work training law enforcement and military forces inside the U.S. at the company’s compounds in North Carolina, California and Illinois, nor the private "security" work it does for entities like the International Republican Institute, nor the work it does in training "Faith Based Organizations." It also does not include the contracts doled out to Erik Prince’s private CIA called Total Intelligence Solutions, which works for foreign governments and Fortune 500 corporations.
Then there is this fact: Blackwater was paid over $73 million for its federally-funded, no bid-security contracts with the Department of Homeland Security in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, billing taxpayers $950 per man per day, a spending decision the Bush administration called “the best value to the government.” ACORN, meanwhile, only helped poor people who were suffering as a result of the government’s total and complete failure to respond to Katrina.
Meanwhile, a recent federal audit of Blackwater, compiled by the State Department and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, suggests the company may have to repay some $55 million to the government for allegedly failing to meet the terms of just one federal contract in Iraq, which, it is important to note, is $2 million more than the total money allotted by the federal government to ACORN over the past 15 years. (The company also cannot account for one federally funded "deep fat fryer" in Iraq, according to the audit).