Such is the toxic publicity for the organization that it suspended its housing operations until it can sort what, exactly, its employees are doing. The U.S. Congress may well cut off funding.
The trouble for ACORN began last week, when BigGovernment.com posted a video that showed ACORN employees in Baltimore advising two prospective clients on how to lie to the Internal Revenue Service about a prostitution business. The clients were conservative documentarians James O'Keefe, a filmmaker, and his 20-year-old assistant, Hanna Giles. He posed as her pimp; she as his prostitute. They told the workers in Balitmore they planned to set up a prostitution business and import 13 Salvadoran teenagers to serve as call girls. The employees in Baltimore gave them advice on cheating the government on taxes, claiming the girls as deductions and avoiding the law by ensuring the girls go to school.
A second video depicted a similar scene in Washington, D.C., which prompted ACORN to fire four employees, who may face criminal charges. On Monday, a video from the ACORN office in Brooklyn, N.Y., surfaced. Employees there provided even more amusing advice on avoiding trouble with the law, including burying cash in the ground. Finally, on Wednesday, BigGovernment.com posted a fourth video in which O'Keefe and Giles attempted the sting in San Bernardino.
In that video, the employee "admits" killing her husband. "I shot him. ... I just picked up the gun and said, 'F*** you.' And I shot him. And he died right there." She also claimed she would threaten to kill a fellow to whom she sent the pair for advice on running the prostitution business. "I'm gonna over and talk to the both of them and threaten them with their lives because I can kill people and I don't have a problem with that, OK? By the time I finish with him, he will think this never happened. I'm the one that did my husband."
San Bernardino police say the woman's ex-husband is alive and well. And the employee claims she was just playing the pair: "They were not believable," the employee said. "Somewhat entertaining, but they weren't even good actors. I didn't know what to make of them. They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them as much as they were shocking me. Like Stephen Colbert does — saying the most outrageous things with a straightface."
Maybe. But it still doesn't look good for ACORN. Employees at the offices in Balitmore, Brooklyn, and Washington, D.C. earnestly offered to help the pair set up a child prostitution ring. And ACORN suspended "new intakes" for housing pending the organization's full investigation of its practices. It will also retrain its employees.
ACORN has been under scrutiny for the better part of a year for the nationwide registration of fraudulent voters.
ACORN's support is quickly eroding in federal agencies and on Capitol Hill. The Census Bureau said it will not allow the group to help with the 2010 census as the agency had planned. With the support of leftists Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.), the Senate voted 83-7 to cut off funding from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department. U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, has introduced legislation to cut off the group's funds. He also wrote a letter to President Obama about the scandal.
Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs said the behavior of ACORN's employees is "completely unacceptable." Obama's campaign gave the group $832,000 during the last election campaign to "get out the vote."