House Republican leaders today requested that the Internal Revenue Service sever all ties with ACORN.
ACORN right now assists low and middle class citizens with income tax preparation. The group says that since 2004, it has helped low- and middle-income Americans prepare approximately 150,000 free tax returns totaling $190 million in refunds as well as increased participation in the earned income tax credit.
But House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means committee, today wrote to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman encouraging him to end any referrals by the IRS to ACORN offices for tax preparation consultation.
That’s because recent videotapes posted at Biggovernment.com and aired on Fox News Channel seem to show two young conservative journalists pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute receiving suspect tax advice from ACORN employees.
The House Republican leaders write that “certain ACORN employees on multiple occasions have been advising their clients on methods of defrauding the IRS and the American taxpayers all while concealing and promoting other illegal activities.”
ACORN has suggested that the videotapes are doctored and in a statement, Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s chief organizer, said: “The relentless attacks on ACORN's members, its staff and the policies and positions we promote are unprecedented. An international entertainment conglomerate, disguising itself as a ‘news’ agency (Fox), has expended millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, in their attempt to destroy the largest community organization of Black, Latino, poor and working families in the country. It is not coincidence that the most recent attacks have been launched just when health care reform is gaining traction. It is clear they've had these tapes for months.
“We are their Willy Horton for 2009,” Lewis said. “We are the boogeyman for the right-wing and its echo chambers. If ACORN did not exist, the right-wing would have needed to create us in order to achieve their agenda, their missions, their ideal, retrograde America.” Lewis said that she “cannot and I will not defend the actions of the workers depicted in the video, who have since been terminated. But it is clear that the videos are doctored, edited, and in no way the result of the fabricated story being portrayed…”