Dem floats ACORN bill to counter GOP proposal

A Democratic lawmaker is planning to an alternative to a Republican bill to target the community organizing group ACORN, and is asking colleagues to support her.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter asking fellow House members to support a bill she drafted as an alternative to the bill offered by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and many Republicans to defund ACORN.

The "Against Corporations Organizing to Rip-off the Nation Act of 2009" (ACORN Act) would prohibit corporations with felony convictions from receiving federal contracts, grants, or funds for a five year period.

The bill is meant to contrast with Boehner's H.R. 3571, which has 160 cosponsors, which would strip funding of organizations on the basis of a felony indictment, not a conviction.

McCollum's bill marks one of the first efforts by a Democratic lawmaker to target ACORN, which has come under heavy scrutiny from Republicans in Congress in the past year. According to a quick search of the THOMAS legislative database, only Republican lawmakers have introduced bills to target ACORN.

The Democratic bill, according to McCollum, is meant to mirror an amendment offered to a higher education bill earlier this month defunding ACORN from receiving certain grants.

The Minnesota Democrat framed her legislation as a broader move to support corporate accountability beyond the community organizing group.

"Congress took action to defund one non-profit serving poor Americans – ACORN – but not against the billion dollar corporations that are actually guilty of felonies," she wrote to colleagues. "For the 345 Members of Congress who voted to defund ACORN this is bill is an opportunity to support corporate accountability and responsibility while punishing corporate crime."

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