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Posted by on Mar 22, 2010

Court Says ACORN Funding Ban is Unconstitutional

A federal district court has ruled that Congress’ ban on funding for the controversial ACORN organization is unconstitutional, and OMB has rescinded an October 2009 memo that had directed agencies to stop funding the nonprofit.

Here’s a little background: 

ACORN is a nonprofit social justice organization that conducts voter registration campaigns, offers free tax return preparation for low-income individuals, provides low-income housing counseling and similar community development projects. However, the group and its affiliates came under fire after hidden cameras allegedly captured ACORN employees giving advice on how to operate a prostitution ring, avoid federal taxes, and engage in other illegal activities.

As a result Congress stopped ACORN funding and ACORN sued, claiming Congress unconstitutionally convicted the organization of a crime without a trial, which is a “bill of attainder.”

The court agreed that indeed Congress’ action constituted a bill of attainder and ordered OMB to rescind its October memo and to direct all federal agencies to inform their grantees and contractors of the court’s ruling.

You can read the OMB memo and the court ruling here.

The Justice Department plans to appeal the decision.

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