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Justice Department Inspector General Launches Internal ACORN Probe

A Baltimore ACORN worker is shown here in footage shot by filmmaker James O'Keefe. (BigGovernment.com)

The Justice Department's inspector general has agreed to investigate whether ACORN has applied for or received any DOJ grant money, in the wake of bipartisan criticism of the community activist group's operation. 

And seven other inspectors general are being asked by two congressional members to take a look at their funding mechanisms.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Monday praising the Justice Department inspector general's decision to look into whether ACORN sought or received any grant money or whether the department conducted any reviews of ACORN's use of such money. 

The inspector general agreed to probe the matter at Smith's request. 

"As the primary federal law enforcement agency, the Justice Department has a responsibility to ensure that no organization receiving federal funds ignores our nation's laws," he said. "I am pleased that Inspector General (Glenn) Fine has agreed to investigate whether the Justice Department provided federal funds to ACORN through its grant program." 

Smith said ACORN has "fostered a culture of corruption." Smith has also called for the FBI to launch an investigation. 

Calls for closer scrutiny of ACORN have come from many corners of Washington. The pressure builds in the wake of controversy over a series of hidden-camera videotapes showing the organization's employees offering advice to undercover filmmakers posing as a pimp and prostitute. ACORN has pledged to investigate its offices and workers. 

The videotapes, filmed by 25-year-old James O'Keefe and 20-year-old Hannah Giles, led to both the House and Senate voting to defund ACORN last week. Many Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the measures. 

Now, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., both the ranking members of their chambers' government oversight panels, are asking other agencies to do the same. 

The federal agencies and departments asked to "review grants, contracts, entitlements and other forms of assistance to ACORN and its affiliates" included the Housing and Urban Development, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Treasury Department, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Labor Department, Small Business Administration and Corporation for National and Community Service.

"As long as taxpayers are subsidizing ACORN and its affiliates, we need to use every measure possible to ensure that those dollars are being spent and managed appropriately," Issa said in a written statement. "The way in which ACORN and its affiliates have structured their organization raises significant questions regarding their intent and use of federal dollars. Clearly just taking them at their word is not sufficient enough oversight."

Meanwhile on Sunday, ACORN's top officer Bertha Lewis dodged repeated calls to come before Congress and testify about the embattled group's finances and ties to other organizations. 

Issa had pressed Lewis to prove her commitment to reforming the community activist group by showing more transparency. 

But Lewis insisted her organization is taking proper precautions to prevent misconduct. 

"Any organization is not entirely perfect," Lewis said on "FOX News Sunday." "I was outraged by (the videos). Everyone should be, and I can understand how the Congress was also." 

She said any employee "too stupid" not to adhere to professional standards will be terminated.

Click here for more FOXNews.com coverage of ACORN.