Rove latest to advance false claim that recovery bill "funnel[s]" money to ACORN
Research ››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH
In his Wall Street Journal op-ed, Karl Rove wrote of the House-passed economic recovery bill: "And it should not shock Americans that Democratic appropriators would funnel tax dollars to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." In fact, 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.
In his February 5 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fox News contributor Karl Rove wrote of the House-passed economic recovery bill: "And it should not shock Americans that Democratic appropriators would funnel tax dollars to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now [ACORN]." 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. Rove's false 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."
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."
Media Matters has previously documented CNN's Lou Dobbs, Fox News' Steve Doocy, and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh making the false claim that ACORN would receive billions of dollars from the stimulus bill and also noted that news reports by The Hill and the San Francisco Chronicle repeated the falsehood. Republicans and media figures previously made false claims that Democrats attempted to direct millions of dollars to ACORN in the 2008 bank bailout legislation; in fact, neither the draft proposal nor the final version of the bailout bill contained any language mentioning ACORN.
From Rove's February 5 WSJ op-ed:
There's also $4 billion for health programs like obesity control and smoking cessation, $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations. Health care also added jobs last year.
It is not surprising that the stimulus package is laden with new spending programs. Congressional appropriators, not job creators, wrote H.R. 1. Much of it is spending Democrats couldn't get approved in the normal course of affairs. And it should not shock Americans that Democratic appropriators would funnel tax dollars to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, unions and other liberal special interests. Putting budgets of political allies above the budgets of struggling families is apparently the new Democratic trickle-down economics.
Mr. Obama has only his own lack of engagement and leadership to blame. He outsourced the drafting of the bill to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey through inaction. He refused to get his administration's hands dirty in crafting the legislation by laying out a detailed plan in December. Then saying he looked forward to Congress passing a bill for him to sign on Inauguration Day was an invitation for liberal spenders to roll him. They did.