Firefighters lose large U.S. grant to ACORN
Sen. Vitter wants $1 million returned to Homeland Security
Nearly $1 million in Homeland Security funding typically earmarked for fire departments has been awarded to ACORN, despite a clear signal from Congress that it intends to cut off federal funding to the embattled group.
The grant to ACORN's Louisiana office became public on Oct. 2, less than three weeks after the House and Senate voted to cut off ACORN funding after employees were caught on video advising a fake prostitute and pimp on scams.
It was one of only three such grants issued to the state and made up almost 80 percent of the firefighting money earmarked for Louisiana, prompting one of the U.S. senators from the state to demand that the funds be taken back.
"I request that you rescind this grant based on a history of abuse of federal dollars by ACORN and their clear lack of expertise in this area," said Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican.
The group has headquarters in Louisiana.
When asked how the money would be spent, ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring issued a statement criticizing the senator, who confessed in the past to having used an escort service.
"Senator Vitter knows a lot more about prostitution rings than anyone here does, so we'll defer to him on any matters pertaining to the videos attacking ACORN," the statement read. It did not explain how the group plans to spend the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.
Mr. Vitter, who was routinely notified of the grant before it became public, sent his letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Sept. 22, saying the money should be given "to a more deserving group of first responders."
One such group might have been the St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 3, which applied for a $120,000 grant to purchase smoke alarms for low-income families after a January fire killed four childrenin a home that had no working detectors.