Help Him Help Us

by digby

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little post that for reasons a little bit obscure to me at the time, got quite a few links around the blogosphere. It simply said this:

Sent in by reader Steve L:

How quickly the United States government fires ACORN

How slowly the United States Doesn't Fire Blackwater

But then Blackwater only murdered people. ACORN gave legal advice.

It turns out that was a relevant observation:
Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately -- but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and the longer list is a Who's Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.

The language was written by the GOP and filed as a "motion to recommit" in the House, where it passed 345-75.

POGO is reaching out to its members to identify other companies who have engaged in the type of misconduct that would make them ineligible for federal funds.

Grayson then intends to file that list in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

Congressman Grayson is reaching out to the netroots for help with this as well:

The House of Representatives just passed a law to prohibit Federal funds from going to organizations that commit fraud against the government, in the form of Section 2 of the 'Defund ACORN Act' (link). Congress has five days to put down a legislative history around this bill to help judges and lawyers interpret the law. This gives us an opportunity to make an impact with a deadline of this Friday (9/25). You see, regardless of what you think of ACORN, it is laudable to stop taxpayer money from going to organizations that commit fraud against the government. So as per the bill's text, I'm going to put into the Congressional record a list of organizations who have committed fraud against the government or employs anyone who has.

Now, I'm just one person, and I can't possibly find and list all of the organizations that fit this bill. So I need your help. Please nominate organizations and show me that they need to be in the record. To help, send me the name of the organization and proof in the form of a link to evidence that this organization should be in the Congressional record. I will also need your email address so I can follow-up with you if necessary. The proof you send needs to be easily verifiable, as in credible media reports, legal documents, government data, or otherwise.

An example might work as follows. Let's say that you were nominating 'Blackwater,' the controversial mercenary outfit which showed fraud in its contracts for Iraq in 2005. You could include a link like this one

This link is to a credible news organization which sources its information with easily verifiable documents. You could also link directly to source documents.

You can see the current unverified list here

To nominate an organization, please go here to fill out a simple form.

This could be really important. The right has managed to turn ACORN into a pariah, thus hobbling progressive efforts to help low income people deal with this mortgage mess and register to vote. That the Democrats have behaved like frightened schoolchildren has made the whole thing much worse.

But here we have a chance to hoist the timorous Dems and the racist wingnuts with their own shrunken petards. If you have a few minutes to do some googling and send the results to Grayson at this link, it would be very helpful.