Nearly a dozen federal agencies did not take comprehensive action to cut off funding to ACORN and its affiliates until a government research group started asking about it -- a year after Congress voted for the funding restrictions.
According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, all 27 agencies subject to the restrictions eventually moved to implement the funding cutoff. However, "not all agencies had taken action to implement the funding restriction provisions prior to when we began our review in August 2010," the report said.
GAO said 11 agencies -- ranging from NASA to the Defense Department to the Department of Health and Human Services -- indicated they moved to implement the restrictions "at least in part" because of their analysts' inquiries.
The report also revealed that some groups with past ties to ACORN may still be eligible for funding. For instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote a memo determining that Affordable Housing Centers of America, formerly known as ACORN Housing Corporation, was "not an ACORN subsidiary, affiliate, or allied organization." Though ACORN Housing Corporation was formed in the 1980s by ACORN organizers and shared executives and addresses with ACORN itself, GAO reached a similar conclusion in September 2010.
In addition, GAO noted that in 2010, federal awards to three ACORN-affiliated organizations had to be revoked -- however, six awards to Tides Center were apparently allowed to stand. GAO noted that while an ACORN executive used to serve on the center's board, the executive left the Tides Center in 2009. No other awards were granted during fiscal 2010 and the beginning of 2011, according to the report.
But GAO reported that all agencies subject to ACORN funding restrictions have since 2010 alerted staff about the cutoffs.
The move to shut down funding for ACORN and its direct affiliates comes after the groups received millions in federal grants between 2005 and 2009. According to GAO, 17 of the 31 agencies surveyed reported more than $48 million in federal funding went to those groups during that period.
The low-income advocacy group attracted bipartisan ire nearly two years ago following the release of undercover videos that showed its workers appearing to help a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute. The main organization effectively disbanded after its funding stream dried up, though its offshoots have been reorganizing under different names.