On Hannity & Colmes, The Wall Street Journal's John Fund falsely claimed that ACORN “almost got a slush fund in the housing bailout bill a few weeks ago.” In fact, neither the September draft proposal nor the final version of the bill contained any language mentioning ACORN.
During the October 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund falsely claimed that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) “almost got a slush fund in the housing bailout bill a few weeks ago.” In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, the accusation is false. Neither the September draft proposal nor the final version of the bill contained any language mentioning ACORN. The false claim is based on a misrepresentation of a provision -- since removed and absent from the bill President Bush signed -- that would have directed 20 percent of any profits realized on troubled assets purchased under the plan into two previously established funds: the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund.
Had the now-removed provision passed, it would have deposited any realized profits into the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund. Under legislation signed by Bush in July, money going to the Housing Trust Fund is to be distributed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the form of block grants to states, which would then award grants to qualified applicants. Money going to the Capital Magnet Fund is to be distributed by the U.S. Treasury Department through a competitive grant application process.
When the provision was still being discussed as part of the financial bailout bill, Salon.com's Gabriel Winant reported that ACORN's legislative director said the organization's housing advocacy affiliate, ACORN Housing, is “considering applying for funds from the Housing Trust Fund, but will probably choose not to do so,” and even if it did, it would have to go through the same application process as any other group.
As Media Matters has documented, numerous media figures have falsely claimed that Congress attempted to direct millions of dollars to ACORN.
From the October 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Explain about this group ACORN as quickly as you can, just to give a little primer to our audience here.
FUND: It's a very radical housing lobby that was at the center of the debate over subprime mortgages. They wanted banks to put out more mortgages to unqualified buyers. They lobbied Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, got their friends in Congress to lower banking standards. They almost got a slush fund in the housing bailout bill a few weeks ago.