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Justice Department's inspector general reviewing agency's ties with ACORN

The watchdog is checking into whether the activist group recently accused of inappropriate activities sought or received grant money from the federal office.

September 22, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — An internal watchdog at the Justice Department said Monday he was reviewing the agency's involvement with the activist group ACORN.

ACORN has come under fire for a hidden camera sting involving a couple posing as a prostitute and her pimp in several cities, including San Bernardino and San Diego. On the video, ACORN workers apparently advise the couple to lie about her profession and launder her earnings so that they can get federal housing aid.

Congress voted last week to cut off federal funding, and House Republicans are looking into the group's financial activities.

Inspector General Glenn A. Fine wrote Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that his office would examine whether ACORN sought or received any Justice Department grant money or conducted any reviews of ACORN's use of such money.

More than a dozen state and local authorities are also scrutinizing ACORN.

Meanwhile, in National City, Calif., police said an ACORN worker who was filmed giving advice about human smuggling to the couple in the video had reported the incident to authorities.

National City police said that Juan Carlos Vera contacted his cousin, a police detective, to get advice on what to do with information on possible human smuggling.

Vera was secretly filmed on Aug. 18. Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later.

The detective consulted with another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.

The ACORN employee responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and that he had been duped.

Vera was fired Thursday.

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