Parroting GOP, CNN's Dobbs baselessly claimed recovery bill provides $4 billion in funding for "so-called advocacy groups such as ACORN"

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Echoing a Republican talking point, Lou Dobbs claimed that in the economic recovery bill, "There's more than $4 billion for ... neighborhood stabilization activities -- $4 billion, which translates into funding for so-called advocacy groups such as ACORN." In fact, the recovery bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; Dobbs was echoing a common attack by Republicans, who have falsely accused Democrats of trying to appropriate money for the group.

Echoing a frequent Republican talking point during the February 3 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs claimed that in the House-passed economic recovery bill, "There's more than $4 billion for so-called neighbor -- are you ready, neighborhood stabilization activities -- $4 billion, which translates into funding for so-called advocacy groups such as ACORN -- ACORN, the left-wing advocacy group. That organization and its voter-registration drives are under investigation in more than a dozen states." In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, the recovery bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them. Dobbs' claim is based on a misrepresentation of a provision that would appropriate $4.19 billion "for neighborhood stabilization activities related to emergency assistance for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes as authorized under division B, title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008" [emphasis added].

The $4.19 billion would be distributed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program, an existing program authorized under Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. HUD's website states that the purpose of the program is to provide assistance "to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities." From HUD's "Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grants" section:

HUD's new Neighborhood Stabilization Program will provide emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provides grants to every state and certain local communities to purchase foreclosed or abandoned homes and to rehabilitate, resell, or redevelop these homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of house values of neighboring homes.The program is authorized under Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

Moreover, ACORN has denied that it is eligible for the "neighborhood stabilization funds" and has stated that it does not intend to apply for them. After House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) office issued press releases claiming that the recovery bill "makes groups like ACORN eligible for a $4.19 billion pot of money for 'neighborhood stabilization activities,' " in a January 28 press release, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis called the claim an "obfuscation" that "was picked up across the right-wing echo chamber and has been used as a fig leaf by conservatives in their attempts to justify their opposition to progressive economic policies." Lewis further stated: "We have not received neighborhood stabilization funds, have no plans to apply for such funds, and didn't weigh in on the pending rule changes." On January 29, Lewis wrote on the Huffington Post, "[L]et's be clear. ACORN isn't getting any of this money. Since it is set aside for non-profit housing developers to help purchase, rehab, and resell foreclosed properties, we aren't eligible for it in the first place."

From the February 3 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Well, we've also found some more interesting funding in this bill. There's more than $4 billion for so-called neighbor -- are you ready, neighborhood stabilization activities -- $4 billion, which translates into funding for so-called advocacy groups such as ACORN -- ACORN, the left-wing advocacy group.

That organization and its voter-registration drives are under investigation in more than a dozen states. ACORN a major supporter, of course, of President Obama in the last election. Well, we hope you will consider calling and emailing your elected representatives, senators, and congressmen; let them know how you think about this so-called legislation. Go to our website, loudobbs.com, where all of the contract -- contact information for you, email addresses, and phone numbers are located.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Lou Dobbs
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
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