Remember the mini-flap over the settlement terms of a lawsuit the Minnesota Attorney General’s office filed against Capital One Bank? Buried in the June report on the AGO by Legislative Auditor James Nobles was the revelation that the suit (filed by then-AG Mike Hatch) was settled for $749,999. If the case had settled for a dollar more, the money would have gone into the general fund for the Legislature to distribute.
About a third of that amount ($249,999 — there are those nines again) went to Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a nonprofit that calls itself the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families.
If you haven’t heard much of ACORN, you might soon. The group was the focus of a story in the Wall Street Journal that reported that aside from its well-known housing advocacy efforts, ACORN is active in voter mobilization efforts. ACORN is co-managing a $15.9 million campaign with the group Project Vote to register 1.2 million low-income Hispanics and African-Americans, the WSJ article says.
Republicans are crying foul, saying that funds from the $5 billion housing bill will indirectly end up in the coffers of groups like ACORN, which, they feel, have a clear Democratic tilt.
Incidentally, after the Capital One settlement and subsequent distribution of funds, ACORN’s political action committee later endorsed Hatch in his gubernatorial bid. I guess in legal terminology that would qualify as your basic quid pro quo.