Vitter calls for ACORN racketeering probe

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on Wednesday continued his offensive against ACORN, requesting that the Justice Department investigate the organization for any possible violation of federal racketeering laws.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Vitter argues that ACORN's alleged misdeeds warrant a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) investigation into its business practices. A probe of that magnitude — potentially the most aggressive investigation requested by any ACORN critic to date — would permit investigators exceptional leverage in rooting out any criminal wrongdoing.

"The recent reports and video footage of ACORN workers from various cities and states giving 'how-to' instructions on carrying out crimes, ranging from violating numerous immigration laws to tax fraud, warrants an immediate RICO investigation into ACORN," Vitter said in his letter.

The Louisiana Republican's request arrives about a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dismissed Vitter's request for congressional hearings into ACORN's conduct. In his reply, Reid said additional investigations would distract lawmakers from addressing more important matters, including healthcare and economic recovery. The majority leader also criticized Vitter for "politicizing" the unfolding probe and questioned his larger motives.

"As the U.S. attorney firings and DOJ hiring scandals remind us, we should be very careful about any activities that could be viewed as politicizing investigations and law enforcement decisions," Reid said on Tuesday.

Although the majority leader ultimately acknowledged committee chairmen could do as they pleased, Vitter on Wednesday fired back at what he said was Reid's unwillingness to instruct those party leaders to take action.

“It is almost Orwellian for the majority leader and these Senate Democrats to go on and on about how these investigations may be politically driven,” Vitter said, noting that 27 other Republicans signed his letter to Reid. “Anyone who has been following the committee work of these folks since 2007 would see that politically driven committee hearings and investigations are exactly their cup of tea.

"Interestingly, now, because of ACORN’s well-known close relationship with the Democratic Party, the majority leader believes the status quo for the last two and a half years could be harmful to our country,” Vitter added.

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