WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in voter-registration fraud cases.
The 83-7 vote came as ACORN , which stands for the Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is receiving bad publicity related to surreptitious videos. Two conservative activists posed as a prostitute and her pimp, then released a hidden-camera video in which ACORN employees in Baltimore advised the couple on house-buying and how to account for the woman's income on tax forms. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.
If the House agrees with the Senate, ACORN could not win HUD grants for programs such as counseling low-income people on how to get mortgages.
Last week, the Census Bureau severed ties with ACORN, saying it does not want the group's help with the 2010 count. The group, which advocates for poor people, conducted a voter registration effort last year and became a target of conservatives when some workers were accused of submitting false registration forms with names including Mickey Mouse.