Taxpayer-Owned Citigroup Still Bankrolling ACORN

Citigroup logoNow that taxpayers are Citigroup’s biggest shareholder, owning 36% of common stock, it is time for the company and its foundation to end its relationship with ACORN and its affiliates.

Citigroup has received $45 billion in taxpayer TARP funds. In addition, taxpayers are on the hook for the lion’s share of losses on the company’s $335 billion loan portfolio.

According to the 2008 annual tax return of the Citi Foundation, it provided the ACORN Institute, Inc. with grants of $500,000 for each of the years 2006, 2007 and 2008, for a total of $1.5 million.

According to the ACORN Institute website:

The ACORN Institute operates a countrywide network of ACORN Centers which (sic) provide free tax preparation, benefits enrollment, and foreclosure prevention services. In partnership with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)…

It continues:

Working in conjunction with major national partners such as Citigroup, H&R Block,

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Corruption Probe Hangs Over Mollohan

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is the subject of a story in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register newspapers today about the investigation touched off by NLPC.

The immediate reason for revisiting the issue is the naming of Mollohan as one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress for the fourth year in a row by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Following a nine-month investigation, NLPC filed a 500-page Complaint on February 28, 2006 with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia detailing more than 250 misrepresentations and omissions on Mollohan’s disclosure reports, prompting an extensive probe by the FBI.

In the story, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm offers comment on why the investigation is taking so long:

He noted that the federal case against former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich took more than five years before charges were announced. The case was expedited when Blagojevich, who was to appoint

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Bank of America Defends Support for ACORN

Ken Lewis photoAlthough we have not received a direct reply to our request that Bank of America sever all ties with ACORN and its affiliates, McClatchy newspapers reports:

In a statement, the bank said that it doesn’t condone the actions on the videos and that it is reviewing its work with ACORN.

Bank of America also said it and other banks have allowed ACORN to help tens of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure.

“Overall, we believe our investments have been leveraged to further the company’s commitments and benefit the country,” the bank said in its statement.

You would think with all the problems facing embattled CEO Ken Lewis, Bank of America would run, not walk, away from the ACORN imbroglio. The “statement” cited by McClatchy does not appear on the Bank of America website, or anywhere else on the web. Presumably, it was provided to McClatchy in response to its request for … Read More ➡

Scott Harshbarger ‘Bad Choice’ to Investigate ACORN

Harshbarger photoACORN announced today that former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger has agreed to head ACORN’s investigation of itself. Leaving aside the valid question of whether any ACORN-funded probe can actually be “independent,” Harshbarger is a particularly bad choice.

Harshbarger has impressive-sounding credentials, but he is well-known for his political and ideological intensity. A quick Google check of his affiliations shows him sharing the program as a speaker at a Campaign Institute event in 2004 with Dan Cantor who is described as “founding executive director of the Working Families Party (WFP),” an ACORN front. See New York ACORN Front Group Based in New Orleans Gets Taxpayer Money.

ACORN board member Maude Hurd was eager to point out today that Harshbarger is “the former President and CEO of Common Cause, the good government organization.”

Harshbarger was indeed head of Common Cause for three years, where he demonstrated a deep political bias. … Read More ➡

Bank of America is ACORN ‘Partner’ and Major Funder

ACORN/BoA

Bank of America has received $45 billion in taxpayer TARP funds, and has slashed its dividend to a penny. Yet it is one of ACORN and its affiliates’ biggest funders.

Our review of annual tax returns for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. for the last three years (2006, 2007, 2008) found more than $3.6 million in grants to ACORN and its affiliates. Those grants include a grant of $2 million to ACORN Housing, Inc. last year, and direct grants to ACORN Housing, Inc. offices in Baltimore, Maryland and San Bernardino, California, the locations of undercover video stings.

On its website, ACORN Housing, Inc. describes its relationship with Bank of America as a “partnership.” The Bank of America website lists no less than 26 ACORN offices where:

Bank of America works with Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) Housing to provide special mortgage products to potential homeowners

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White House Plan to Mine Social Networks is Dangerous Because of Scope, Secrecy and Context

Facebook logoWe are happy that our August 31 report on the White House New Media operation to harvest data from social network websites is finally getting some attention. We unearthed the fact that this office is seeking a vendor capable of conducting a massive data harvesting operation, prompting concerns that the White House is seeking to identify friends and enemies.

When we posted our story, we received so many hits that it took down our server and forced us to move to a more powerful machine, but we received scant print and electronic media coverage. Today, the Washington Times covered the story on its front page, above the fold. Drudge and Lucianne linked to the story, giving it high visibility.

As explained by the Times:

The White House is collecting and storing comments and videos placed on its social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube without notifying or asking

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JPMorgan Chase Asked to Stop Funding ACORN

Dimon photoNLPC has asked JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to end financial support for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and its affiliates. According to the 2007 tax return for the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the most recent available, ACORN Housing, Inc. was the recipient of a million dollar grant in 2007.  Another grant of $25,000 was made to the ACORN Institute. In a letter to Dimon, I warned:

Continued identification with ACORN harms the company’s brand name and reputation, and carries special risks for this company, a recipient of taxpayer TARP funds. The New York Times has identified you as President Obama’s “favorite banker.”

Yesterday, the Senate voted 83-7 to bar grants to ACORN from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If it is inappropriate for HUD to fund ACORN, it is also inappropriate for a public company like JPMorgan Chase to do so.

The Senate action … Read More ➡

Rangel Has More Undisclosed Rental Income

Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein report today in the New York Post:

Rep. Charles Rangel reported no rental income for eight years on his rundown Harlem row house, even though public records show tenants were living there.

The powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said he received nothing from 1993 to 2000 on the six-unit building, according to federal financial disclosure forms.

NLPC’s exposure of Rangel’s unreported and undisclosed income from his Dominican Republic “villa,” touched off more intensive scrutiny of Rangel’s finances, leading Rangel to revise his filings last month for 2002 to 2006, showing his net worth to be roughly double what he had claimed in the past.

These amended filings did not show a capital gain of between $500,000 and $1 million when the property was sold in 2004. The amendments did not cover 1993 to 2000 when Rangel claimed no rental income. … Read More ➡

Holder Cites ‘Duty’ to Prosecute CIA But He Let Magaziner Off

Holder/Obama photoAttorney General Eric Holder suggested on August 24 that he had no choice but to appoint an independent counsel to investigate CIA interrogation of terror suspects. He said:

As Attorney General, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law. In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.

Too bad he didn’t do his “duty” when as a U.S. Attorney in 1995 a federal judge referred a case to him for investigation that was far more clear-cut than anything concerning the CIA.

NLPC was a plaintiff in the successful lawsuit to open the meetings and records of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care task force. The task force was directed by Ira Magaziner, who now directs the international development initiatives of the William J. Clinton Foundation.… Read More ➡

Washington Post Calls on Rangel to Resign Ways and Means Chairmanship, But What About Criminality?

Washington Post logoIn an editorial today titled “Sorry Charlie,” the Washington Post called on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) to step down as House Ways and Means Chairman. The editorial comes in the wake of Rangel amending his financial disclosure forms for the years 2002 to 2006, showing that his net worth was roughly double what he previously claimed. The Post called Rangel’s revised filings “a treasure trove of outrage.”

Rangel’s amendments were prompted by increased scrutiny of his finances after NLPC exposed his failure to disclose (or pay taxes on) rental income from his beachfront “villa” at the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic.

The Post concludes:

Much is expected of elected officials. Much more is expected and demanded of those entrusted with chairmanships and the power that comes with them, especially when it involves the nation’s purse strings. From all that we’ve seen thus far, Mr. Rangel has violated

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