On Tuesday, House negotiators unveiled a bill to fend off a looming government shutdown that included the following ominous provision:
None of the funds made available under this or any other Act, or any prior Appropriations Act, may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, allied organizations, or successors.
Fear not, America. House Republicans have resumed their war on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an anti-poverty nonprofit staffed by low-income people, a scant 4 1/2 years after the organization officially folded.
By all accounts, the organization that shattered in the spring of 2010 remains in pieces.
By now people of all backgrounds are familiar with the saga of ACORN and the House GOP. But it is a good story, one that bears repeating.
Congress cut off federal funding for ACORN in late 2009, after a selectively edited video from conservative provocateur James O'Keefe appeared to show its employees aiding tax-dodging schemes for prostitution. Subsequent government investigations cleared ACORN of wrongdoing, but the PR blow proved fatal, and the organization closed in the spring of 2010.
The mere demise of ACORN, of course, didn't end the Republican assault. The House GOP over and over blocked federal funding to ACORN in appropriations bills, ultimately voting more than a dozen times to prevent the non-existent entity from receiving taxpayer money.
There are plenty of controversial provisions in the spending bill. Progressive Democrats are fuming over a provision that Wall Street lobbyists secured language in the initial draft that would provide taxpayer backing for risky derivatives trades. Conservative Republicans believe the bill does not sufficiently punish President Barack Obama for his recent executive action shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. There are provisions that would to cut funding for the nation’s largest source of grants for college students to pay student loan contractors.
But, in the midst of all this there is one enduring lesson: Never let a good conservative bumper sticker die.