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Bailed Out Citigroup Won’t Rule Out Giving More Money to ACORN
CNSNews ^ | January 8, 2009 | Fred Lucas

Posted on 01/08/2010 7:43:52 AM PST by jazusamo

( – Citigroup, which received $45 billion in tax dollars from the federal bank bailout, will not rule out giving more money to ACORN, the liberal community organizing group under investigation in several states for alleged voter registration fraud.
Citigroup was one of the three major recipients of money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) to give money to the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) and its affiliates. The other TARP recipients were Bank of America, which also received $45 billion in loans from the federal government and J.P. Morgan Chase, which got $25 billion. 
However, both Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase stopped funding the ACORN Institute last fall, according to the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a government watchdog group that has monitored what TARP recipients are giving to the ACORN Institute. (The ACORN Institute is one of ACORN’s affiliates and, according to its Web site, “operates a countrywide network of ACORN Centers which provide free tax preparation, benefits enrollment, and foreclosure prevention services.”) 
The 2008 tax return of the Citi Foundation, the non-profit arm of Citigroup, shows that it gave $500,000 to the ACORN Institute in 2006, 2007, and 2008, for a total of $1.5 million, according to the NLPC. Citigroup decided in late October 2009 to suspend giving to the organization pending an internal investigation by ACORN.
A torrent of defunding came after hidden-camera videos showed ACORN workers in several different offices around the country apparently giving tax advice to two people, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, who said they planned to open a prostitution business.
The public pressure from the videos prompted ACORN to conduct an internal investigation. The findings of the internal probe were released on Dec. 7, 2009, and concluded that the organization did nothing illegal. But Citigroup still has not determined how to handle the matter.
“Just for the time being, we are still basically continuing to review materials as far as the internal audit or investigation is concerned. I don’t really have any comment beyond that at this stage,” Citigroup spokeswoman Andrea Hurst told
Citigroup repaid $20 million to the federal government in December, out of the total $45 billion it received through TARP. But the Treasury Department reportedly postponed selling off its 34 percent stake in the bank because Citigroup’s stock price was too low. 

In an Oct. 29, 2009 letter to the NLPC, Citigroup’s Vice President of Global Community Relations Natalie Abatemarco wrote, “We too are deeply concerned about the recent media reports regarding ACORN and, because of these reports, have suspended our charitable financial support and program relationships with ACORN, and we are awaiting the results of the independent audit of ACORN activities now underway.”
It was also during last fall that Congress voted to cut direct federal funding to the organization, after the hidden-camera videos became public through the online journalism site,
Peter Flaherty, president of the NLPC, said he hoped that shunning ACORN by the big banks was not simply a temporary measure. He also expressed concern that, despite congressional action to cut off funds, ACORN could continue getting tax dollars indirectly through TARP money.
“It appears the big TARP recipients have backed off their support of ACORN,” Flaherty told “But I’m very concerned it will be reinstated after the negative publicity subsides.”
The internal ACORN report that focused narrowly on the undercover videos was done by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshberger, who called for the organization to take nine steps to strengthen its management and oversight structures.
The Harshbarger report states: “While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers.”

Steve Kest, executive director of ACORN, right, and ACORN member Hugh Alleyne. (AP photo)

Flaherty is concerned that the report will be used as a rationale for funding the organization again.
“The Harshbarger report is a whitewash and limited in scope,” Flaherty said. “So, we are fearful that Citigroup will reinstate support based on this whitewash.”
Bank of America and J.P. Morgan are the only other TARP recipients Flaherty knows that gave money to ACORN. However, as broad as TARP is, he said, there could be smaller financial institutions that contributed to the group. Bank of America repaid the government its $45 billion last month.
The NLPC’s review of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s tax returns for 2006, 2007, and 2008 found that the bank gave $3.6 million in grants to ACORN Housing Corp., another ACORN affiliate, over that period. The charitable foundation is the non-profit arm of Bank of America.
But Bank of America has suspended grants to ACORN Housing Corp., and taken references to ACORN off its Web site, Flaherty said.
A Bank of America spokesman could not be reached for comment this week despite phone calls and e-mails from
However, a Bank of America official told The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 28, 2009) that the bank “suspended current commitments” to ACORN Housing and “will not enter into any further agreements with Acorn or any of its affiliates,” pending assessments by the bank of the organization's operations. Further, the bank’s statement said, “Bank of America takes recent allegations made against Acorn and Acorn Housing Corporation employees very seriously.”
The J.P. Morgan Foundation, the bank’s charitable arm, gave $5 million to ACORN’s housing affiliate over the last five years, The Washington Examiner reported last fall. J.P. Morgan’s relationship with ACORN expired, and the bank decided not to renew it, Flaherty said.
In a Sept. 22, 2009 letter to the NLPC, J.P. Morgan Chase Executive Specialist Diane Castillo said, “In the past, our funding has supported work that ACORN Housing Corp., a subsidiary of ACORN, has done to provide homebuyer education, foreclosure counseling, and financial literacy services in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods across the country.”
The letter continues, “None of our funding has ever been directed to support the voter registration network which is under such heavy scrutiny currently. Please be advised the commitment ended in 2008.”
In the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for 2010, Congress included a provision in October that bars federal funds to ACORN and its “affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations.”
Section 163 of the bill said, “None of the funds made available by this joint resolution or any prior Act may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations.”
President Barack Obama signed the resolution, but a Justice Department opinion in November cleared the way for funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue going to the organization.
In December, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York granted a preliminary injunction to stop Congress from singling out ACORN for punishment without proper investigation or due process. Her opinion said that cutting federal funds would lead to “irreparable harm” to ACORN.
The federal government has awarded at least $53 million to ACORN and its affiliates since 1994, according to an analysis by the House Republican staff.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: acorn; citigroup


Citigroup Refuses to Rule Out More ACORN Funding

Bailed-out Citigroup is not ruling out continuing its support for ACORN. Citigroup spokeswoman Andrea Hurst told Fred Lucas of

Just for the time being, we are still basically continuing to review materials as far as the internal audit or investigation is concerned. I don’t really have any comment beyond that at this stage.

Hurst is referring to the recently concluded “investigation” by ACORN ally Scott Harshbarger, a former Attorney General of Massachusetts. In response to NLPC’s request in September that Citigroup to end its support for ACORN, the bank said that it was “awaiting the results of the independent audit of ACORN activities now underway.”

As I told

The Harshbarger report is a whitewash and limited in scope. So, we are fearful that Citigroup will reinstate support based on this whitewash.

We also asked Citigroup to end the membership of one of its executives, Eric Eves, on the ACORN Advisory Board. On October 29, 2009, Citigroup informed us that Eves had resigned.


Harshbarger Whitewashes ACORN Lawbreaking

Citigroup's Eric Eve Resigns From ACORN Advisory Committee

Harshbarger 'Bad Choice' to Investigate ACORN

Taxpayer-Owned Citigroup Still Bankrolling ACORN

1 posted on 01/08/2010 7:43:55 AM PST by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

Does anyone else think that it was one of the conditions (donating to ACORN) to recieve the bailout?

2 posted on 01/08/2010 7:46:54 AM PST by marstegreg
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To: All
Please bump the Freepathon and donate if you haven’t done so!

3 posted on 01/08/2010 7:48:34 AM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Jet Jaguar


4 posted on 01/08/2010 7:52:06 AM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

5 posted on 01/08/2010 7:54:08 AM PST by dubie (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.)
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To: jazusamo

When you’ve gotten as much support money as Citi has, it’s hard to keep track of everyone you have to bribe and kick-back to.

6 posted on 01/08/2010 7:57:23 AM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: dubie

Even the Rooskies could take lessons from the Chicago bunch...

7 posted on 01/08/2010 7:57:32 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: jazusamo; FlingWingFlyer; altair; stephenjohnbanker; little jeremiah; ~Kim4VRWC's~; voteNRA; ...

FReep mail me if you want on/off the list.

8 posted on 01/08/2010 8:31:05 AM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

It’s more like they sent them here.

9 posted on 01/08/2010 8:52:50 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: jazusamo
Hmmmm...check out this story in today's Washington Post:

The commission appointed by Congress to examine the causes of the financial crisis is to hear testimony Wednesday from the heads of four of the nation's largest banks, as the panel begins a year-long investigation that its chairman described as an effort to figure out "what the heck happened."

Philip Angelides, chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, said he planned to hold a series of public hearings, conduct hundreds of interviews and request or subpoena information from companies and government agencies.

"This is a proxy for the American people, giving them the chance to ask what led this country to the economic precipice," said Angelides, a Democrat who served as California's state treasurer until 2007.

The commission has until Dec. 15 to produce a report. Although legislation to reform financial regulation already is moving through Congress, Angelides said the commission's work remains relevant because more bills are likely to follow and a better understanding of what happened could inform the way laws are enforced.

The commission's vice chairman, William Thomas, a retired Republican congressman from California who once headed the House's tax-writing committee, said the commission would also benefit from its instructions to focus on understanding the crisis rather than providing policy recommendations.

Thomas said commissions that focus on recommendations often bog down in political debates and accomplish little. During a meeting Thursday with Washington Post reporters and editors, both men pointed to the success of the 9/11 Commission as a model for their own work.

"They were looking to say what happened and not what should happen next," Thomas said.

Still, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission faces a number of challenges.

House and Senate leaders, who appointed six Democrats and four Republicans to the commission, allocated $8 million for its work, enough to hire about 50 investigators but "probably less than any of the investment banks will spend dealing with this investigation," Angelides said.

The tight timetable also makes it impossible to produce a comprehensive account of the crisis, both men said. Instead, the commission will focus its work on particular topics, perhaps producing a series of case studies, Angelides said.

Four bank executives are to appear at the first hearing: Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase; Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs; Brian Moynihan, the new chief executive at Bank of America; and John Mack, who retired at the end of December as chief executive of Morgan Stanley but remains the company's chairman. The commission did not invite anyone from Citigroup, the other U.S. company with a large investment banking operation.

The next day, the commission is to hear from local and state regulators about ongoing investigations related to the financial crisis.



10 posted on 01/08/2010 2:18:52 PM PST by Dems_R_Losers (U.S. Out of My Doctor's Office!!)
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To: Dems_R_Losers

That is interesting. I never have been a fan of coincidence and for Citigroup to believe that this investigation by Harshbarger was anything but a whitewash is ludicrous.

I see the commission isn’t balanced (6 D and 4 R) and I wonder if they’ll include anything in their final report re Congress insisting on loosening lending so more lower income people and minorities could become homeowners? It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this.

Good post, thanks.

11 posted on 01/08/2010 2:40:04 PM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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