Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) — the chairman-in-waiting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and one of the new thorns in the Obama administration’s side — said on MSNBC this morning that he’s still interested in investigating ACORN, which filed for bankruptcy yesterday.
“I think it’s very important that we look at ACORN as something that occurred, it was criminal activity and it used government money and nonprofit money both to do politics. There’s certainly going to be other examples on the left and on the right where we at least have to deny them nonprofit status and government money if what they’re doing is being overtly political,” Issa said. “I want to continue on that on the nonpartisan basis with my ranking member.”
“But I do think that the people understand that ACORN needed to go away, it went away and we’ll continue to make sure that there is no equivalent,” Issa said. “But we’ve got to move on to the real question of jobs. This economy is sputtering and not doing what the American people need to do to get them back to work,” he added.
Issa also said he would “look at the failures of Freddie and Fannie, the Countrywide scandal,” as well as giving subpoena authority to all 74 inspector generals in the federal government (an issue more likely to pick up bipartisan support).
Instead of being seen as the “annoyer-in-chief,” as the New York Times dubbed him, Issa said he wants to be the “reformer-in-chief” and said he hoped to “make this administration more effective and certainly cut down on the waste in government.”
As a community organizing group, ACORN ran voter registration drives which mostly focused on areas with high minority populations. During the 2008 campaign, it came under fire from conservatives, who have alleged that it was behind a massive campaign of organized voter fraud. Conservative activist James O’Keefe released highly edited videos that he claimed showed that the group was engaged in illegal activity, and Congress voted last September to eliminate its support to the group’s programs, which also included housing assistance.
The issue of voter fraud returned as an issue this election cycle, as TPMMuckraker has documented, with Tea Party and conservative groups organizing poll watching efforts to stop what many claimed was a massive problem. Most voting rights experts, on the other hand, said that such claims were overblown. Despite the poll watching campaigns, no verifiable claims of major voter fraud emerged yesterday, the Washington Post reported.