The embattled CEO of ACORN defended her organization's work on Thursday, labeling the recent outpouring of outrage toward her and her employees as "modern-day McCarthyism."
The group, which chief Bertha Lewis described as the "largest community organization of low- and moderate-income folks" in the country, has fielded considerable criticism this month after a series of videos showed its employees offering advice to a couple disguised as a pimp and a prostitute.
"This was an anomaly, and of course, we took swift and immediate action. What you saw on these video tapes were indefensible," Lewis told MSNBC on Thursday. "However, let me just make sure people understand: Not one application, tax form, any document, not a shred of paper was ever put through. We have a 10-step process; these folks didn't even get to step one."
"They were thrown out of dozens of offices; in fact, in Philadelphia, we called police, we filed a police report," Lewis added.
Lewis' appeals, however, have hardly assuaged lawmakers' growing concerns. Already, the Senate has stripped the organization of its housing and transportation funding, and House Republicans hope soon to follow suit. A number of lawmakers are even calling for hearings and investigations into ACORN's business and political practices.
"We want to continue to do our core work, and we will, but we're taking this opportunity... to strengthen our organization," Lewis said Thursday, dismissing claims that ACORN actively stumped for Obama during the presidential election or otherwise engaged in any fraud. "We know they are coming after us."