ACORN says it cut ties with IRS days ago

The CEO of the embattled community organization ACORN on Wednesday said the group cut its ties with the Internal Revenue Service days ago, rejecting the notion that the IRS broke from ACORN over the group’s recent troubles.

On a conference call to announce the launching of an internal review, Bertha Lewis, the CEO of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, said that in the aftermath of a privately conducted sting operation that seemingly caught ACORN employees offering advice on evading federal tax and housing laws, ACORN proactively sought to end their partnership with the IRS.

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“Let me be very clear, the first thing I did was to terminate those employees," Lewis said. “Second I shut down all programs for all new intakes. Third, the board said we will do more tax preparation services.”

Just a short time before Lewis spoke to reporters, the IRS issued a statement saying the agency had decided to sever its official link to ACORN.

"It is absolutely critical that taxpayers have trust in our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program partners," the IRS said in a statement obtained by The Hill. "In light of recent events, the IRS has decided to terminate its relationship with ACORN."

Lewis was asked about the IRS statement, but said the opposite was true.

“We had already made that decision to no longer deliver those services,” she said.

The tax agency teams up with hundreds of community and volunteer organizations, including ACORN, to provide free tax assistance to low- and moderate-income Americans.

The IRS could not immediately be reached for additional comment.

House Republican Leader John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Trump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul The Hill's 12:30 Report: McGahn inflames Dem divisions on impeachment MORE (R-Ohio) quickly released a statement praising the IRS. “The IRS has rightly recognized that this troubled organization has no place advising hard-working Americans on tax-related matters," BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Trump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul The Hill's 12:30 Report: McGahn inflames Dem divisions on impeachment MORE said. "I’d like to applaud Republican Whip Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorGOP faces tough battle to become 'party of health care' 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington House Republicans find silver lining in minority MORE (R-VA), Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) and Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyMarch tariff increase would cost 934K jobs, advocacy group says Bottom Line On The Money: US adds 155k jobs in November | Unemployment holds at 3.7 percent | Wage growth strengthening | Trump signs stopgap spending bill delaying shutdown MORE (R-LA) for their efforts in holding the IRS accountable on this critical issue.

“The decisions by the Census Bureau and the IRS are clear indications President Obama should use his authority to end all federal funding to and break all government ties with ACORN," Boehner added. "In the meantime, every federal agency should carefully re-evaluate its relationship with ACORN to ensure this corrupt outfit does no further harm to the public trust.”