Published September 11, 2009
The Census Director has sent a letter to the National Headquarters of ACORN notifying the group that the Census Bureau is severing all ties with the community organizing group for all work having to do with the 2010 census.
"Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN's affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts," read a letter from Census Director Robert M. Groves to the president of ACORN.
"Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership," the letter said.
The news follows the firing Friday of two more ACORN employees after new hidden-camera footage showed workers for the group advising a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute how to subvert the law.
Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) reacted to the news Friday night, applauding the decision by the Census Bureau.
"ACORN had no business working on the Census. ACORN’s partisan election efforts and its involvement in criminal conduct rightly disqualified it from working on the non-partisan mission of the Census to accurately and honestly count the U.S. population," Rep. Issa said.
ACORN had previously been tapped to help with low level data gathering for the 2010 census. A copy of the director's letter has been sent to Congress and relevant committees, as well as ACORN.
Two more ACORN workers were fired Friday after a second video surfaced, this time showing staff members in the community organizers' Washington office offering to help the undercover man and woman acquire illegal home loans that would help them set up a brothel.
Those firings came less than 24 hours after another pair of ACORN officials, from the group's Baltimore office, were canned for instructing the "pimp" and "prostitute" how to falsify tax forms and seek illegal benefits for 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador that pair said they wanted to import to work as child prostitutes.
Both of the encounters were videotaped on a hidden camera wielded by 25-year-old independent filmmaker James O'Keefe, posing as the pimp — tapes that have ignited calls for investigations of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The group's leaders said Friday they were "appalled and angry" at what their staffers had done, but insisted the videos were part of a political "smear" campaign and not representative of the institution as a whole.
"But that does not excuse the behavior of the employees," wrote ACORN's president Alton Bennet and executive director Mike Shea. "We have fired them and are initiating an internal review of practices and reminding all staff of their obligation to uphold the highest legal and ethical standards."
O'Keefe, the filmmaker who exposed ACORN's employees, was accompanied by 20-year-old Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute. On a videotape of their visit to ACORN's Washington's office, they are seen receiving guidance to establish the woman as the sole proprietor of a bogus company to mask the nature of her business.
"She's not going to put on (the loan application) that she's doing prostitution ... she doesn't have to," a now-fired ACORN staffer says. "You don't have to sit back and tell people what you do."
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