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Caught between an Acorn and a Hard Place

Congress was falling all over themselves to pass a bill punishing ACORN. In fact, they refer to the bill (in the bill itself) as the “Defund ACORN Act”. The bill passed both the House and Senate.

There is only one problem with that — bills that punish a single person or organization without a trial are unconstitutional. Such a law is called a “bill of attainder” and is specifically barred by the constitution. So even though the law doesn’t hide the fact that it is punishing ACORN, the language of the bill itself had to be written more broadly. So instead of defunding ACORN, it defunds “any organization” that has been indicted on charges of breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws, or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency.

So, are there any other organizations that have been indicted for those things and receive federal funding? Lucky for us, the Project On Government Oversight has a handy list of federal contractors who have been guilty of fraud. The top ten on the list starts with Lockheed Martin, followed by Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General dynamics, Raytheon, BAE, L-3 Communications, United Technologies Corp., SAIC, KBR. In fact, pretty much every major defense contractor is on the list. So if this bill is signed into law by Obama, it would explicitly defund the entire military-industrial complex.

If Congress tightens up the language of the bill so it only applies to ACORN, then the bill is unconstitutional. But if they don’t, then the bill requires federal funding to be cut off to all those corrupt organizations. That would save a lot of money!

Lee Judge
© Lee Judge



  1. starluna wrote:

    I was waiting for someone to point this out.

    But, as you describe it I am much more favorable to the law.

    This would not only impact military contractors, but the pharmaceutical industry, the for-profit health care industry, the waste management industry, building and highway construction firms, and a whole lot of lobbying firms.

    Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 6:39 am | Permalink
  2. Starluna. In other words, it can’t happen. *sigh*

    Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink
  3. starluna wrote:

    Thoughtdancer – in all likelihood, it won’t.

    Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] has one thing in common with ACORN: despite strong accusations, neither has been convicted of any actual criminal charges. But Vitter somehow thinks accusations are enough for Congress to punish ACORN by cutting their […]

  2. Political Irony › An ACORN of Truth on Monday, December 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    […] even more ironic, a judge has ruled that the bill defunding ACORN is unconstitutional. Of course, everyone already knew that, but Congress passed it anyway. So much for honoring the constitution. Please Share / Save  If […]