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Wednesday, December 8, 2010 

Issa sticks to ACORN

Seeking a signature issue after Obama entered office in 2009, Darrell Issa hit it big with investigations into ACORN. A report produced by Issa (Follow the Money: ACORN, SEIU, and their Political Allies) claimed "systemic fraud" within the organization, linked to SEIU and many Democratic candidates including, of course, Barack Obama. The report cut right to the heart of the matter- suggesting that ACORN may be "intentionally structured as a criminal enterprise." The notion of Issa's report, without any pretense, was to invent a vast network of corruption encompassing the entire political left that would knock off major figures and organizations like dominoes. It never actually existed, but Issa found significant success anyhow. Thanks significantly to his report, Congress de-funded ACORN last year. Which was unconstitutional, and done in spite of a Congressional Research Service study that found no violations of federal funding terms.

Not that any of that slowed Issa down. Instead, he continued to churn out indignant reports about ACORN and embarked on a media campaign attempting to tar President Obama with tangential interactions with ACORN. And he hurled more partisan accusations and complaints when the Constitution didn't agree with him.

In early November, as ACORN was declaring bankruptcy, Issa said that jobs would be his top priority, pushing ACORN to some sort of back-burner. Except, of course, not really. Issa provides findings this week of a Homeland Security investigation finding that FEMA improperly awarded a grant to ACORN in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, clearly setting the stage for his promised continued investigations into the organization.

Make no mistake: ACORN is gone. It's bankrupt, it is no longer operating. But that isn't going to stop Darrell Issa. Because this is much bigger than ACORN (to the degree it was ever about ACORN to begin with). He's after Obama, he's after SEIU, and he's after anyone who's seeking to register voters. We'll hear about the made-up voter intimidation of the New Black Panther Party, and we'll hear plenty of insisting that ACORN has just changed names and continued on. Issa learned that he doesn't need actual content to win on these issues. He doesn't actually need to be correct about anything. As long as he can drum up enough outrage in the conservative echo chamber, everything will move too quickly for "facts" to get in the way. It's a fair lesson to have learned, but it doesn't bode well for his tenure chairing the Oversight Committee.


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