As I noted yesterday, ACORN caught a break from the Department of Justice when DOJ decided, based on a strained reading of the applicable statute, that the Obama administration can lawfully pay ACORN for services provided under contracts signed before Congress banned the government from providing money to the group. But ACORN arguably caught a bigger break by virtue of the Justice Department’s unwillingness to investigate this corrupt organization.
In California, the state’s liberal Attorney General, Jerry Brown, has launched an investigation of ACORN. Given the evidence of its unlawful activities, and its status as a recipient of substantial federal funds, one might have expected the Department of Justice to do the same. But under Obama-Holder, DOJ apparently has no interest in doing so.
A friend who has experience in these matters puts DOJ’s lack of interest in perspective:
DOJ has initiated grand jury probes of major businesses, and government contractors, with far less in the way of evidence than is available in the public domain on ACORN right now. It’s also ironic that the DOJ has had in place for several years a Procurement Fraud Task Force that goes after contractors who receive federal funds through fraud or collusion, or bribery, or the like. And in the new administration, DOJ announced with fanfare a so-called “Recovery Initiative” that will target fraud and abuse in connection with the expenditure of “stimulus” money. Some of those very dollars are probably going to ACORN, but somehow the Recovery Initiative folks appear not to have noticed.
In response to the California investigation, ACORN’s San Diego Country office discarded documents in large quantities just days before investigators were scheduled to visit. My friend points out that one reason DOJ issues subpoenas when it has reason to believe federal contractors may have engaged in misconduct is precisely to freeze a universe of documents, since it is an obvious federal felony to destroy records under subpoena. But Holder’s DOJ saw no reason to issue any subpoenas.
My friend concludes:
So, the New Black Panthers get a pass on voter intimidation. The ACORN fraudsters get a pass on tax fraud and God knows what all. Members of Congress and administration appointees need not bother with tax compliance, and can dance around any number of improprieties.
But, defend the country by engaging in aggressive interrogation of terrorist murderers using methods specifically approved by the DOJ under the previous administration? Watch out. Eric Holder and his DOJ — now so heavily populated with fancy lawyers who, in private practice, gave those same terrorist murderers free legal services — will investigate you relentlessly.
Respect for the law is not something valued by this administration’s DOJ, much less by its “community organizers.” I predict we’ll see worse on this front before we see better.