Frank and Bachmann do battle over key ACORN amendment

Two partisan heavyweights did battle Thursday over an amendment prized by conservatives, as House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) withdrew backing for a bill that would have toughened regulations for community organizing groups.

Frank withdrew his support from an amendment offered by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) that would forbid groups like the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) from receiving federal grants if any of their employees have been indicted for voter fraud.

After approving the amendment by a unanimous voice vote, Frank announced Thursday he was mistaken to back the bill, and said he'd offer a substitute that would apply the amendment only to groups with employees who are actually convicted -- not just indicted. Frank's version would also take into account the employee's position in the organization, and how long ago the conviction had been handed down.

"Focusing on an indictment and letting an indictment be the trigger of penalties would be a violation the basic rules and fairness of American law," Frank told The Hill. "So if one person is indicted, the whole "innocent until proven guilty, etc"