Brilliant, actually:

Whoops: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud

Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately — but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops…

Update: (via Digby)

…Congressman [Alan] Grayson [D – Florida] is reaching out to the netroots for help with this as well:

The House of Representatives just passed a law to prohibit Federal funds from going to organizations that commit fraud against the government, in the form of Section 2 of the ‘Defund ACORN Act’ (link). Congress has five days to put down a legislative history around this bill to help judges and lawyers interpret the law. This gives us an opportunity to make an impact with a deadline of this Friday (9/25). You see, regardless of what you think of ACORN, it is laudable to stop taxpayer money from going to organizations that commit fraud against the government. So as per the bill’s text, I’m going to put into the Congressional record a list of organizations who have committed fraud against the government or employs anyone who has.

Now, I’m just one person, and I can’t possibly find and list all of the organizations that fit this bill. So I need your help. Please nominate organizations and show me that they need to be in the record. To help, send me the name of the organization and proof in the form of a link to evidence that this organization should be in the Congressional record. I will also need your email address so I can follow-up with you if necessary. The proof you send needs to be easily verifiable, as in credible media reports, legal documents, government data, or otherwise.

An example might work as follows. Let’s say that you were nominating ‘Blackwater,’ the controversial mercenary outfit which showed fraud in its contracts for Iraq in 2005. You could include a link like this one

This link is to a credible news organization which sources its information with easily verifiable documents. You could also link directly to source documents.

You can see the current unverified list here

To nominate an organization, please go here to fill out a simple form…

Go. Read the list. (And the link to Congressman Grayson’s original request.)

Update II: I called Congressman Grayson’s office in Washington to confirm that he is indeed soliciting this information. He is.

[end update]

The bill:

Defund ACORN Act (Introduced in House)

HR 3571 IH


1st Session

H. R. 3571

To prohibit the Federal Government from awarding contracts, grants, or other agreements to, providing any other Federal funds to, or engaging in activities that promote certain indicted organizations.


September 15, 2009

Mr. BOEHNER (for himself, Mr. CANTOR, Mr. PENCE, Mr. ISSA, Mr. ADERHOLT, Mr. AKIN, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mrs. BACHMANN, Mr. BACHUS, Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina, Mr. BARTLETT, Mr. BILIRAKIS, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mrs. BLACKBURN, Mr. BLUNT, Mr. BONNER, Mrs. BONO MACK, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. BOUSTANY, Mr. BRADY of Texas, Mr. BROUN of Georgia, Mr. BROWN of South Carolina, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. BUYER, Mr. CALVERT, Mr. CAMP, Mrs. CAPITO, Mr. CARTER, Mr. CHAFFETZ, Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado, Mr. COLE, Mr. CONAWAY, Mr. CULBERSON, Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky, Mr. DENT, Mr. DREIER, Mr. DUNCAN, Mr. EHLERS, Ms. FALLIN, Ms. FOXX, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. GALLEGLY, Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey, Mr. GERLACH, Mr. GOODLATTE, Ms. GRANGER, Mr. GRAVES, Mr. HARPER, Mr. HELLER, Mr. HENSARLING, Mr. HERGER, Mr. INGLIS, Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. JONES, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio, Mr. KING of New York, Mr. KINGSTON, Mr. KLINE of Minnesota, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. LANCE, Mr. LATOURETTE, Mr. LATTA, Mr. LEE of New York, Mr. LEWIS of California, Mr. LINDER, Mr. LOBIONDO, Mr. LUETKEMEYER, Mrs. LUMMIS, Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California, Mr. MACK, Mr. MARCHANT, Mr. MCCAUL, Mr. MCCARTHY of California, Mr. MCCOTTER, Mrs. MCMORRIS RODGERS, Mr. MCHENRY, Mr. MCKEON, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mrs. MILLER of Michigan, Mr. MORAN of Kansas, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. NEUGEBAUER, Mr. OLSON, Mr. PAUL, Mr. PETRI, Mr. PLATTS, Mr. POSEY, Mr. PUTNAM, Mr. RADANOVICH, Mr. ROGERS of Alabama, Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky, Mr. ROSKAM, Mr. ROYCE, Mr. SCALISE, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. SHIMKUS, Mr. SHUSTER, Mr. SIMPSON, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. SOUDER, Mr. SULLIVAN, Mr. TERRY, Mr. TIBERI, Mr. TIAHRT, Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania, Mr. TURNER, Mr. UPTON, Mr. WALDEN, Mr. WAMP, Mr. WESTMORELAND, Mr. WHITFIELD, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. WOLF, Mr. YOUNG of Florida, and Mrs. BIGGERT) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


To prohibit the Federal Government from awarding contracts, grants, or other agreements to, providing any other Federal funds to, or engaging in activities that promote certain indicted organizations.

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


     This Act may be cited as the `Defund ACORN Act’.


     (a) Prohibitions- With respect to any covered organization, the following prohibitions apply:

           (1) No Federal contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or any other form of agreement (including a memorandum of understanding) may be awarded to or entered into with the organization.

           (2) No Federal funds in any other form may be provided to the organization.

           (3) No Federal employee or contractor may promote in any way (including recommending to a person or referring to a person for any purpose) the organization.

     (b) Covered Organization- In this section, the term `covered organization’ means any of the following:

           (1) Any organization that has been indicted for a violation under any Federal or State law governing the financing of a campaign for election for public office or any law governing the administration of an election for public office, including a law relating to voter registration.

           (2) Any organization that had its State corporate charter terminated due to its failure to comply with Federal or State lobbying disclosure requirements.

           (3) Any org
anization that has filed a fraudulent form with any Federal or State regulatory agency.

           (4) Any organization that–

                 (A) employs any applicable individual, in a permanent or temporary capacity;

                 (B) has under contract or retains any applicable individual; or

                 (C) has any applicable individual acting on the organization’s behalf or with the express or apparent authority of the organization.

     (c) Additional Definitions- In this section:

           (1) The term `organization’ includes the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (in this subsection referred to as `ACORN’ ) and any ACORN -related affiliate.

           (2) The term `ACORN -related affiliate’ means any of the following:

                 (A) Any State chapter of ACORN registered with the Secretary of State’s office in that State.

                 (B) Any organization that shares directors, employees, or independent contractors with ACORN .

                 (C) Any organization that has a financial stake in ACORN .

                 (D) Any organization whose finances, whether federally funded, donor-funded, or raised through organizational goods and services, are shared or controlled by ACORN .

           (3) The term `applicable individual’ means an individual who has been indicted for a violation under Federal or State law relating to an election for Federal or State office.

     (d) Revision of Federal Acquisition Regulation- The Federal Acquisition Regulation shall be revised to carry out the provisions of this Act relating to contracts.

The bill names ACORN specifically, and punishes the organization via legislation. That would be a bill of attainder.

United States Constitution

Article I, Section 9.

…No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed…

United States v. Lovett, 328 U.S. 303 (1946)

…[L]egislative acts, no matter what their form, that apply either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial are bills of attainder prohibited by the Constitution…

United States v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437 (1965)

…While history thus provides some guidelines, the wide variation in form, purpose and effect of ante-Constitution bills of attainder indicates that the proper scope of the Bill of Attainder Clause, and its relevance to contemporary problems, must ultimately be sought by attempting to discern the reasons for its inclusion in the Constitution, and the evils it was designed to eliminate. The best available evidence, the writings of the architects of our constitutional system, indicates that the Bill of Attainder Clause was intended not as a narrow, technical (and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the separation of powers, a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function, or more simply – trial by legislature…

And the bill includes language that may preclude federal funds from going to “[a]ny organization that has filed a fraudulent form with any Federal or State regulatory agency.” That could include a number of defense contractors.

Perfect. Just freakin’ brilliant. It’s the stateroom scene from A Night at the Opera directed by Glenn Beck. Without the intentional humor.

It could take a while to sort this one out.

Update: And it’s getting really interesting.