Ooopsie, Congress made a booboo.

In their rush to cut off funding to ACORN, America’s Congress critters wrote a bill so broadly based that it would also stop many defence contractors from working with the federal government.

If Congress Attacks the Mighty Oak of Contractor Misconduct, It Shouldn’t Just Settle for an ACORN

Last week, the House and Senate voted to prohibit the federal government from awarding contracts and grants to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN

The House’s bill is called the “Defund ACORN Act”. The bill specifically targets ACORN, but it also applies to “any organization” or its employees who are charged with violating federal or state election, campaign finance or lobbying disclosure laws or filing a fraudulent form with any federal or state regulatory agency.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is particularly interested in the fraud provision. Recognizing that there are probably worse offenders than ACORN in this area, Grayson is looking for help in coming up with a list of organizations that have committed fraud against the government or employed someone who did.

(The) Federal Contractor Misconduct Database is a great place to start. At last count, it includes 87 instances of government contract fraud – federal and state – involving 43 contractors. You might want to focus on [b]Lockheed Martin, which has 11 government contract fraud instances, or Northrop Grumman with 9 contract fraud instances including this $325 million False Claims Act settlement from earlier this year.

Bear in mind that, since 1994, ACORN has reportedly received a total of $53 million in federal funds, or an average of roughly $3.5 million per year. In contrast, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman respectively received over $35 billion and $18 billion in federal contracts last year. (Their totals since 2000 are $266 billion for Lockheed and $125 billion for Northrop.)

Rep. Grayson’s list of federal contractors who have committed fraud will be attached to the bill that defunds ACORN. This list may then be used by a judge overseeing a case brought under the “Defund ACORN Act” to see which corporations in addition to ACORN have committed the same crimes.

You see, there is a teeny weeny bit of a problem with passing a bill that attacks a single corporation or individual – it is an unconstitutional “bill of attainder”. To prevent the “Defund ACORN Act” from being seen as a “bill of attainder”, the ‘crimes’ which it is supposed to have committed must be defined in a broad enough manner so that the provisions don’t apply only to ACORN – as written and passed by the House, there are many corporations that could be defunded.

Ah schadenfreude – so sweet in the morning.

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