Congressman Steve King is calling for a congressional investigation of ACORN, a community activist group. An embarrassing video is making the rounds on the Internet and cable television. It appears to show ACORN operatives telling a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute how to lie about their income so they could qualify for housing subsidies.
“I think ACORN and all of their affiliates need to be examined thoroughly by (the Department of) Justice and by the I.R.S.,” King says. “At the same time, I think we need to have congressional hearings and investigations into ACORN in at least four different committees.” King, a Republican from Kiron in western Iowa, has been a critic of ACORN for several years, questioning ACORN voter registration tactics.
King is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, one of the committees wants to investigate ACORN. King met with Congressman John Conyers, the chairman of the panel, Tuesday afternoon. King and Conyers are to meet again Friday. “I’m not convinced that I have an ally at this point, but I will say that we’ve got some open dialogue. Hopefully Chairman Conyers will understand that when the Senate and the House both vote in their own fashion to unfund ACORN, when (the Department of) Justice has to do an investigation to see if they’re actually paying ACORN — they’ll understand how insidious ACORN and its affiliates actually are,” King says.
“We’ll either move forward with hearings or I will be turning up the pressure to the point where we do more forward with hearings and an investigation.” Last week King handed Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, an actual acorn he’d been carrying around in his pocket.
“You can do this a couple of different ways: one is to get the floor in a committee meeting and say something that’s harsh and divisive and demand ACORN hearings, or I could just present an acorn to Chairman Conyers as a conversation starter and that’s what I did and he smiled and we began the dialogue,” King says.
Last week Republican leaders named King one of the point people in congress to push this issue. King argues the congressional investigation of ACORN should go all the way to the White House because King says President Obama has “past associations” with ACORN that go back to his days in Chicago as a community organizers.
“If he would take the posture towards ACORN that he did with Reverend Jeremiah Wright and essentially severe his relationships and repudiate ACORN and their affiliates, then I think that we could get on with the business of cleaning up ACORN,” King says. “If not, then the president is so close that it’s not possible, I don’t think, to examine ACORN and not examine the president’s activities with ACORN.” ACORN’s board of directors has hired the former attorney general of Massachusetts to conduct an internal investigation. ACORN stands for “Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.”