The Wall Street Journal – Community-organizing group Acorn said Thursday it was considering quitting its voter-registration work amid a growing political storm over its activities, a move that could hurt Democrats at the polls.
In the latest rebuke, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday to block the group from receiving federal funds. Republicans attached the measure attacking Acorn to an unrelated bill that advances a top Democratic priority: making the federal government the sole provider of college loans under federal programs, forcing private lenders out of the origination market.
The Acorn measure passed with strong bipartisan support, 345-75, while the student-loan bill passed by 253-171, largely along party lines.
After the vote, Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said "Acorn has violated serious federal laws" and was a "corrupt organization."
Acorn's most recent problems stem from a series of secretly recorded videos showing Acorn employees offering advice on evading taxes, setting up brothels and smuggling illegal immigrants. In the past, Acorn employees have admitted to filling out false voter-registration forms.
Acorn spokesman Kevin Whelan said the group was now deciding whether to focus on such lower-profile election activities as persuading registered voters to head to the polls. Its stated mission has been to register low-income Americans to vote.
"If you do registration on a large scale, you open yourselves up to political attack because it's inevitable that you will make some small mistakes," Mr. Whelan said.