Beck's claim that “our tax dollars” are funding ACORN in India is more hat than cattle

During one of his near-daily rants about the conspiracy to establish global governance, Glenn Beck told his radio audience: “Did you see that ACORN is now in India, and our tax dollars are going to support ACORN in India, as they are now organizing, I'm not kidding you, what they -- what are called rag men and rag people in India. And your tax dollars are going.”

While Beck didn't cite any evidence, he's apparently referring to a Daily Caller post by Matthew Vadum, a writer for the American Spectator, NewBusters, and the Capital Research Center who touts himself as an “expert” on ACORN.

While Vadum's post states that "[t]he Obama administration is using U.S. government resources to help the embattled radical advocacy organization spread the gospel of left-wing community organizing in India," Beck takes the story a step further to claim that “our tax dollars are going,” as if the State Department authorized funding for ACORN programs abroad. Unfortunately for Beck, Vadum's article doesn't support this claim.

Vadum provides three pieces of evidence about the U.S. government and ACORN India:

  • A photograph posted on the State Department's website with the caption “Ambassador [to India Timothy J.] Roemer discusses ACORN India's local waste management and recycling program with Dharavi area rag pickers, May 11, 2010.”
  • An Indo-Asian News Service report that Roemer visited the ACORN operation and met with ACORN representative Vikram Adige.
  • U.S. Consulate officials' involvement in the launch of a clean water project organized by ACORN

Obviously, one photograph and one report of Roemer visiting an ACORN operation doesn't support Beck's claims that “our tax dollars are going to support ACORN in India.” But what about U.S. Consul General Paul A. Folmsbee's involvement with ACORN's Water to Earth Campaign? As Vadum himself acknowledges, Folmsbee was merely “listed as the expected guest of honor at the event on ACORN India's website." The invitation confirms this, stating, “Inauguration by U.S. Consul General Paul A Flomsbee [sic].”

For whatever reason, it doesn't even look like Folmsbee spoke at the event. Instead he was replaced by Vice Consul Beth Brownson. A March 22 U.S. consulate press release states: “On March 22, International Water Day, Vice Consul Beth Brownson launched the 'Water to Earth Campaign.' ”

And what is this sinister “Water to Earth Campaign” that Vadum characterizes as “Obama administration helps ACORN defend socialism” ? Just an initiative to create infrastructure for clean drinking water for the more than 100,000 ragpickers in Mumbai who pick through the garbage that the city can't control, selling the scrap for less than $2 a day.

So U.S. government officials have visited, discussed, and spoken at ACORN-organized events and facilities that support improving the most basic needs of India's most impoverished residents. Whether this is laudable or even appropriate action for the State Department to take is a matter of opinion, but suggesting that “our tax dollars” are being funneled into ACORN's coffers in India is a distortion of the facts.