Published November 07, 2011
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is calling for an investigation into allegations that ACORN-related group New York Communities for Change "engaged in fraud through its participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests."
In a letter dated Monday, Issa, R-Calif., called for U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York to launch a probe into allegations first reported by FoxNews.com that NYCC may have "solicited donations from union members under false pretenses and misappropriated those funds to support the protesters."
In an Oct. 26. report, FoxNews.com quoted sources within NYCC who said that the group -- run and staffed by nearly all former ACORN employees -- was asking for donations for specific charitable purposes, including for the teachers union and PCB toxin testing in New York City schools.
However, those donations were being rerouted to pay for Occupy Wall Street protests, the sources said.
Issa requests Lynch to "investigate these allegations to determine if they have merit and prosecute any wrongdoing accordingly."
When asked to comment on Issa's letter, Lynch's spokesman Robert Nardoza would only say, "I have no comment as it is a matter of policy that we do not confirm/deny or discuss investigations."
A spokesman for NYCC did not immediately return FoxNews.com's request for comment.
Issa's letter quotes from the initial FoxNews.com report. In that report, sources described how staff members collected door-to-door for the PCB campaign but then pooled the money and sent it elsewhere.
"We go to Freeport, Central Islip, Park Slope, everywhere, and we say we're collecting money for PCBs testing in schools. But the money isn’t going to the campaign," one source told FoxNews.com. "It's going to Occupy Wall Street, and we're not using that money to get schools tested for deadly chemicals or to make their kids safer. It’s just going to the protests, and that's just so terrible."
Issa also referenced a second FoxNews.com report, which quoted sources inside NYCC saying the organization had fired employees and shred reams of paper in response to the original report.
Issa said ACORN's history of corruption is concerning, but what's worse is NYCC's fraud.
"NYCC misused the money of hardworking union members," he wrote. "NYCC allegedly tried to destroy evidence and hide the organization's ties to ACORN. NYCC allegedly has initiated a campaign to shred documents and intimidate employees to prevent them from discussing the organization's involvement in the Occupy Wall Street protests," Issa wrote.
"The alleged misconduct by NYCC, and the subsequent efforts to cover it up, merits scrutiny from the United States Attorney's Office," he wrote.
Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., supported Issa's call for an investigation.
"It is no surprise to hear that an ACORN-affiliated group may be connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Their track record of fraud and links to deceitful activity demand that these allegations be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he said in a statement to FoxNews.com.
"Furthermore, I am disgusted by the group’s alleged fundraising methods. ... As someone who has taken a strong stance urging the city to remove the dangerous PCB from NYC's public schools in order to protect the safety of our children, I find this reprehensible."