Republicans on a House oversight committee have launched a fresh set of accusations of political corruption against the scandal-plagued community organizing group ACORN -- including claims that the group contributed to the risky mortgage lending that led to the collapse in the financial sector.
The Republicans' latest report contains documents that they say confirms previous findings that ACORN is responsible for thousands of fraudulent voter registrations across the country and has used taxpayer money to support a partisan political agenda.
"Committee investigators have identified hundreds of ACORN bank accounts, shell organizations incorporated under different sections of the Internal Revenue code, and even an ACORN controlled accounting firm (Citizens Consulting Inc.) that helps ACORN obscure the true use of charitable donations and taxpayer funds," reads the report, titled "Follow the Money: ACORN, SEIU and their Political Allies."
"Documents and testimony from ACORN whistleblowers reveal that ACORN activities -- despite contentions that they are intended to help the poor -- fulfill a more self-serving and political purpose for ACORN."
Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, released the report, which is a follow-up to one he released in July called, "Is ACORN Intentionally Structured as a Criminal Enterprise?"
"Perceptions that ACORN is a charitable organization are simply wrong, and part of ACORN's efforts to deceive the American people," Issa said in a written statement. "ACORN is a political machine that uses a complex corporate web, connections to the SEIU, and powerful political allies to break laws in pursuit of a partisan agenda."
"This report shines more disinfecting sunlight on ACORN's secretive methods of abusing taxpayer funds and charitable donations," he added.
ACORN, a longtime target of Republicans, dismissed the report as "bogus rumors."
"It is hardly news when Rep. Issa repeats bogus rumors to attack a community group that empowers low income and minority Americans," ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan said in a written statement to FoxNews.com. "ACORN's efforts over the years to promote living wages, responsible homeownership and voter participation are not only legal, they have improved the lives of working families nationwide."
The report alleges that ACORN, which stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, contributed to the risky lending that led to the financial collapse by intimidating banks into lowering mortgage lending standards, becoming one of the few entities to profit from the subsequent misery.
ACORN used the threat of jeopardizing bank mergers and acquisitions to force banks into lending agreements with its housing division, allowing the group to reap profits from more than a billion dollars in loans to low-income neighborhoods, according to the report.
Some of the largest banks and lenders in the country, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, CitiBank, provided ACORN Housing with a total of $39.9 million, along with address and bank account information of at-risk homeowners to provide free counseling services, but ACORN used the information to recruit the homeowners, bringing in $48 million a year for the group, the report says.
The report also alleges that ACORN has an illegal agreement with the union powerhouse SEIU -- a partnership that Republicans say is criminal and has been used to target political candidates, pressure banks and to threaten public officials with litigation to extract political compromises at the expense of taxpayers.
For example, ACORN has issued membership letters showing which banks caved in to the group's pressure, created political plans targeting congressional districts to get sympathetic candidates elected and sent e-mails and legal complaints reflecting ACORN's ability to coerce and compel public officials to meet certain demands.
SEIU has provided ACORN with $5.6 million, the report states.
After the Republicans' first report was released, some ACORN workers were caught on video offering advice to a undercover filmmakers posing as a pimp and prostitute on how to set up a brothel -- a scandal that upended the group which has been the target of Republican attacks for years.
Following the public uproar over the undercover videos, Congress voted to strip ACORN of federal funding, a move that is being challenged in federal court.