H.R. 3678, "ACORN Act" was introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN). This bill mocks GOP leader John Boehner's "Defund ACORN Act" which passed the house with an overwhelming majority and was inserted into the "Student Aid" bill. In the case of H.R. 3678, "ACORN" stands for "Against Corporations Organizing to Rip off the Nation."
The Takeaways: Another sign that the members of Congress are more interested in playing politics than they are in actually being good stewards of taxpayers funds.
McCollum's "ACORN Act" is as cynical and political as it is timely and fundamental to good governance. While it is certainly laudable and necessary to prohibit taxpayer funds from going to pay off contractors with felony fraud convictions, everything about this bill smacks of snarky one-upmanship. From the precious "ACORN" acronym to the tit-for-tat timing, this bill emits the unmistakable odor of special interests at play.
Just as the "short-arm" of the Boehner law should be exposed for playing politics, McCollum's bill is guilty of the same. It's the same old Dem v. Repub game of protecting their stable of special interests. Meanwhile, fraud enforcement is elevated from an inconvenient afterthought into a cause with which to score political points.
Maybe the best thing is to hold our noses and take what we can get from this bunch. From McCollum's website:
“It’s time Congress get serious about taxpayer funding of corporate cheats, crooks, and criminals. Last month Congress took action to defund a non-profit serving poor Americans, but failed to act against the corporate crooks that are actually guilty of felonies – including defrauding taxpayers. Why are companies that break the law as a business strategy allowed to receive taxpayer funds? A government contract is a privilege, not a right. If a company commits a felony against the people of the United States, then that privilege must end,” Congresswoman McCollum said.
The ACORN Act is modeled after H.R. 3571 but respects the Constitution by requiring a corporation to be guilty of a felony before federal funds are cut off. The bill:
--Prohibits a corporation with a felony conviction from receiving any federal contracts, grants, or funds in any form for five years after the conviction.
--Prohibits federal employees or contractors from promoting corporate felons for five years.
--Prohibits corporate felons or any applicable individual from contributing to a candidate for federal office, to a political party, or to a federal political action committee for five years.
--Limits the corporation or any applicable individual to no more than $1 million annually for lobbying Congress or federal officials for a 5 year period.
--Provides presidential waiver authority if federal contracts, grants, and other agreements with corporate felons are determined to be in the national interest.