ACORN defends itself; Issa remains critical

Seeing its federal funding under threat from Congress, ACORN’s leader defended the community organizing group from allegations of tax fraud Sunday.

“You have an organization that absolutely pays its taxes, that absolutely has firewalls,” said Bertha Lewis, CEO of ACORN, short for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Lewis was appearing on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace.

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The group has been under fire recently when videos emerged showing ACORN workers helping an individual who was posing as a prostitute avoid taxes. But ACORN, which helps people with their home foreclosures and sponsors voter registration drives, is not unfamiliar with being in Congress’s bull's-eye. During last year’s presidential campaign, they were accused of voter fraud and mixing federal grant money with political activities.

“The bottom line is there is no transparency in ACORN,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Issa and other Republicans have investigated the community organizing group. Issa’s staff issued a report where it alleges ACORN of tax fraud, hiding its books behind a number of overlapping charity and nonprofit groups.

“You are giving an answer that your own counsel says isn’t true according to your own counsel. You don’t have firewalls. That’s from an internal memo,” Issa said.

Lewis said she has brought accountability to ACORN since taking over the organization. She said she immediately fired those workers advising prostitutes on how to avoid taxes and will name an independent auditor Monday this week to sort out the group’s finances.

Lewis also said she is open to more inquiries from Congress and will respond to them accordingly.

“I’m willing to do the work I need to do every single day,” Lewis said.