Illinois Senate Republicans: State funding for ACORN Housing confirmed
From Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno’s Capitol Connection
Confusion followed controversial reports that ACORN, a low-income, grassroots advocacy organization, advised undercover journalists on how to hide illicit income from federal tax authorities.
Recently, several Illinois lawmakers called for the state to halt taxpayer support to ACORN and its subsidiaries. However, conflicting information regarding the extent, if any, of state taxpayer support of ACORN led to uncertainty, when news reports indicated there was no record Illinois had made payments to the organization.
Despite original denials from the Pat Quinn administration and the comptroller, it has been verified that ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc.—a partner organization of ACORN—clearly received taxpayer dollars from the State of Illinois.
In fact, ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc., received a $100,000 grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). $50,000 of that grant was awarded to ACORN Housing Corp., Inc., Aug. 27, 2009. At this time, ACORN Housing Corp. remains eligible to receive the remaining $50,000.
Both ACORN and ACORN Housing were targeted by the team of investigative journalists working undercover in this national scandal. On its own Web site, ACORN Housing acknowledged four ACORN Housing employees, from two offices, are seen on the tapes advising the undercover reporters about how to hide a prostitution business. And while the umbrella organization, ACORN, has closed its Chicago offices, ACORN Housing Corp. remains in business and active in Illinois.
Legitimate questions have been raised as to how both the governor and the comptroller could say there were no state contracts or state payments to ACORN, given the controversy generated by the ACORN undercover tapes. Apparently, no one in the governor’s office or the comptroller’s office was able or willing to track down these grants, which were listed on the Internet and included in a report from IHDA that was submitted to the governor in April.
The confusion over identifying this grant is a prime example of how the opaque nature of the budget process makes it difficult for the public to learn how their tax dollars are spent. No legislation acted on by the General Assembly listed ACORN or ACORN Housing Corp., as the recipient of state grants. Only the Illinois Housing Development Authority, an agency under the governor, is named in any appropriation measure. This clearly points to the need for the budget reforms the Senate Republican Caucus has been pushing for, which would open up the budget process and make it more transparent.
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