Published September 23, 2009
Republicans intent on cutting off community organization ACORN from the federal trough may have inadvertently alienated defense contractors.
The defense industry is a long-time ally of Republicans. Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., crafted a parliamentary maneuver to strip the widely-scorned group from any federal funds.
Democrats went along with the effort, okaying Issa's motion 345-75.
But the anti-ACORN provision was written so broadly that it could potentially not only strip ACORN of federal dollars, but also pummel defense contractors.
The language of the motion that applies to "any organization that has been indicted for a violation of any federal or state law" when it comes to lobbying or campaign finances. It also excludes "any organization that has filed a fraudulent form with any federal or state regulatory agency."
Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are just two among a host of defense contractors under scrutiny in the legal system. In fact, the Project on Government Oversight lists 100 government contractors, defense and otherwise, who have received federal contracts while also involved in court cases.
Still, a spokesman for Issa argued in favor of the House's decision.
"Obviously there are a lot of interpretations out there. And lot of misintereptations," said Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella. "But you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would defend the misuse of taxpayer dollars."
Bardella added that there were "some very high thresholds that must be met to be impacted by the motion to recommit."
Issa attached the motion to a bill that enhanced access to student loans for college.
ACORN is currently under investigation for election fraud. The Census Bureau just cut its ties with ACORN last week. It's believed ACORN has received about $54 million from the federal government over the past 15 years.