Monday, September 21, 2009

ACORN Chief Dodges Congressman's Call to Come Before Congress

ACORN's top officer on Sunday dodged repeated calls to come before Congress and testify about the embattled group's finances and ties to other organizations.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had pressed chief organizer Bertha Lewis to prove her commitment to reforming the community activist group by showing more transparency.

"The bottom line is there's no transparency in ACORN," Issa said on "FOX News Sunday."

The pressure comes in the wake of controversy over a series of hidden-camera videotapes showing the organization's employees offering advice to undercover filmmakers posing as a pimp and prostitute. ACORN has pledged to investigate its offices and workers.

"Internally, let's have some reform," Lewis said. "It's indefensible what I saw (in the tapes)."

But she refused to answer Issa's request to come before his committee.

Issa challenged Lewis to provide full disclosure to Congress on the "firewalls" in place to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not going toward political activities.

"There is no God-given right for any organization to receive a grant from the American people. The fact is there are organizations standing in line that wish they won instead of you, and they're giving us the transparency so we can have the confidence the money is spent only for the purpose of the grant," Issa said.

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