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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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 ➡

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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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 ➡

NLPC Challenges Proposed SEC Rule Mandating Corporate ‘Diversity’

Diversity report coverThe Securities & Exchange Commission this past July has proposed amending Item 407(c)(2)(v) of Regulation S-K to require disclosure of racial and ethnic diversity on corporate and related nonprofit fund boards. We have submitted a comment of opposition because we believe this rule change to be a highly misguided intrusion into corporate governance.

Even assuming benign intent – and that is a stretch of an assumption – the outcome would be anything but benign. Anyone with sound instincts knows that any submitted information would be fair game for organizations seeking to tie executive compensation to the creation of a rigorously-monitored affirmative action spoils system.

The SEC was established 75 years ago for the purpose of protecting investors in publicly-traded securities against fraud and incompetence. Now more than ever this mission must be paramount. Whether the proportion of blacks, Hispanic, Asians and other minority groups in a given company adds up to … Read More ➡

Big Pharma Will Be Ultimate Victim of Its Sellout on Obama Health Care Plan

phrma logoIt may be high irony, but capitalists over the decades all too often have been at odds with capitalism. That is, business organizations, for any number of reasons, have been prone to support ideas and policies whose intent is to bring free enterprise under social control. This syndrome is well and alive at a pair of prescription drug/biotechnology industry organizations: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA). Each group is working to promote a radical expansion of government involvement in health care, acting in concert with Capitol Hill Democrats and especially the Obama administration. These measures effectively would nationalize health insurance in the name of providing coverage to most of the estimated 47 million currently uninsured. All are bad bets for Americans, whether as taxpayers, consumers – and, fittingly – as pharmaceutical providers.

These past several weeks have witnessed widespread and … Read More ➡

ACORN Funder JPMorgan Chase Doesn’t Look Good in New Madoff Book

Madoff bookA new book by Barron’s reporter Erin Arvedlund asserts that banking giant JPMorgan Chase became aware of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme months before his arrest, prompting the bank to liquidate its positions in a Madoff-related fund. Yet, the bank continued to accept deposits into Madoff’s main account at the bank from unsuspecting investors who were about to lose everything.

NLPC is a critic of JPMorgan Chase’s support for political and social causes that are contrary to the bank’s interests and hostile to the capitalist system itself, such as ACORN. Although these new revelations are a separate controversy, both reflect an apparent willingness by the firm to work with shady enterprises if it is perceived to be in its own interest.

The book is titled Too Good to be True. Excerpts appeared in Barron’s over the weekend. Arvedlund has a great deal of credibility on anything Madoff-related, having written a story … Read More ➡

Special Interests Help Rangel Pay Lawyers $928K in Last Year

Rangel photoJohn Bresnahan reported in Politico on July 15:

Embattled House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, facing a multi-pronged investigation by the House ethics committee, shelled out nearly $280,000 to four different law firms over the last quarter, according to his newest campaign disclosure report.

Overall, Rangel has paid $928,000 to his attorneys during the last year as his personal finances have come under scrutiny on a variety of fronts.

Much of the money was spent fending off allegations by NLPC.

We exposed Rangel’s 1) evading of taxes on rental income on his Dominican Republic beach house; 2) cheating on his DC property taxes by improperly claiming homestead exemption; and 3) leading a Citigroup-funded junket to the Caribbean in violation of House Rules.

There are two outrages here. First, Rangel gets to pay his legal bills out of his campaign funds while ordinary citizens who get into tax trouble … Read More ➡

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