The ridiculously ham-fisted way in which Congress dealt with a few Acorn employees saying some stupid things on camera—defunding the organization in a surely unconstitutional move—just goes to show how hypocritical certain members of Congress are, and how much influence is wielded by Conservative outlets like FOX news and the Washington Times. Defense contractors have defrauded American taxpayers of BILLIONS of dollars over the years. Remember that ACORN has received something like $53 million federal dollars in fifteen years. AND they were never actually convicted of anything. It boggles the mind.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appeared as a guest on Democracy Now! to discuss his amendment to the defense appropriations bill—which calls for some accountability from these defense contractors—as well as health care and the war in Afghanistan.
Here’s a partial transcript from Democracy Now!
Well, let’s be clear. I mean, ACORN was caught—some employees of ACORN were caught on tape saying incredibly stupid things, outrageous things. They were fired. They should have been fired. But that tape gets up on Fox, and it’s repeated over and over again, and without any kind of hearings, without any kind of process, suddenly this organization, which has done a lot of good work at the grassroots level in voter registration, dealing with affordable banking, housing, and so forth, suddenly, like this, they are defunded. I was one of the members of the Senate who voted against that, because I think you didn’t have any kind of process out there. It was absolutely unfair.
Meanwhile, we did a little bit of research, and my staff discovered that the three largest defense contractors—and we focused on defense because we’re in the middle of the defense appropriations bill—the three largest defense contractors—Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and Boeing—who have received over the years hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars, not the $53 million that ACORN had received, but hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars, these three companies alone, just these three, have been involved in 109 instances of misconduct. They had paid $2.9 billion to the government for fines or settlements. So, this was not a two-minute videotape recording a stupid, absurd conversation. This is where courts of law or settlements have taken place, where these people have pled guilty or acknowledged misdeeds and paid $2.9 billion since 1995.