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Tuesday
Nov302010

Inspector General Blasts FEMA Under Bush for $450K Grant to ACOR

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a report obtained by ABC News -- one supposed to be embargoed until Dec. 8 -- the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General concluded that an affiliate of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) “should not have received” a $450,484 federal grant in 2007 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for “a pilot program that would develop best practices for community organizations to canvass high-risk neighborhoods and distribute and install safety equipment, such as smoke detectors or fire extinguishers.”

The IG wrote that his staff at the ACORN Institute “did not fully implement and evaluate the program as approved, and could not substantiate all its grant expenditures,” and recommended that FEMA “review all of ACORN Institute’s grant expenditures, take action to recover any unsubstantiated expenses, and determine whether any action is necessary to suspend or debar ACORN Institute from receiving future DHS, FEMA, and other federal government assistance.”

A FEMA spokesperson issued a statement saying that “the grant in question was awarded in 2007 under the previous Administration, and we will continue to work with the Inspector General to make sure this kind of isolated incident does not happen again. FEMA’s current leadership is committed to being responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and ensuring that the grants we award are used as intended, and look forward to working with all lawmakers and stakeholders who share this goal.”

The Inspector General also concluded that FEMA’s oversight processes were insufficient, and that while the Technical Evaluation Panel that reviewed ACORN’s grant request recommended it not be funded, “FEMA overrode the panels’ recommendation and awarded the grant.”

On April 1, 2010, ACORN Inc announced it would close its offices, following controversies prompted by videos filmed by a conservative activist that seemed to show ACORN employees offering advice in how to conduct unlawful activities.

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