Yesterday, we detailed how Fox & Friends promoted a claim that “ACORN” -- which no longer exists -- is still receiving federal money, only to back down after being contacted by a federal spokesman who pointed out that the figure Fox & Friends cited was the amount that was unspent and reclaimed from a 2005 grant. The spokesman's claim is backed up by a Government Accountability Office report issued last month.
Fox & Friends appears to have taken its information from a post by Matthew Vadum at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website. You might remember Vadum as the guy from the right-wing Capital Research Center with a habit of making wild, factually dubious claims. He's currently promoting his new WorldNetDaily-published book, with the less-than-subtle title Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing And Ripping Off American Taxpayers.
If you go to Vadum's personal website, you'll find a copy of his Big Government post. But before you see that, you will see a giant photo of Vadum taken from an appearance from Fox Business. That's taken from his appearance on the June 17 edition of Follow the Money, one of six apperances Vadum has made on that show since early June, according to a Nexis search.
Note that in the picture, Vadum is holding a copy of a GAO report on federal funding of ACORN. During the segment, he attacked the report for not hating ACORN as much as he does, dismissing it as “like teenage interns were researching on Google for a few hours” and accusing it of not detailing as many ACORN-related voter fraud convictions as he found (never mind that doing so was outside of the report's scope). In a dramatic flourish, Vadum declared that “you can just throw it away if you want” as he tossed the report behind him, pages fluttering.
Perhaps Vadum shouldn't have tossed that GAO report away -- it's the very same report that disproves his claim.
The GAO report references the grant Vadum cited at Big Government, a $527,000 grant awarded to ACORN Housing Corp. by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2005. A footnote continues: “The grant was closed with a balance of $461,086 not expended before the expenditure deadline.” That's the same $481,086 Vadum claimed in his Big Government post that HUD “gave ACORN ... in January.”
Vadum's Big Government post contains no update or correction at this writing, though the version at his own website has an update noting that a HUD spokesman -- the same one who contacted Fox & Friends -- pointed out that the money was “de-obligated and recovered,” not awarded and spent.
There's a bit of irony in the fact that Vadum's website features a photo of himself holding a report that, had he actually read it closely instead of theatrically tossing it away, would have saved him some embarrassment.